My First Grade teacher was named Mrs. Butler.
I loved her very much
and when asked to name
my favorite teacher or
the one who has had the
most impact on my life,
with no hesitation
speak her name.
You see, Mrs. Butler taught me to read.
She introduced me to the power of words.
I distinctly remember two things about First Grade...
how kind my teacher was to me on the day I was stung by a bee
and the moment I read my first words.
Both of these memories have colored the tone of my
classroom and while I have too often failed miserably in
the kindness department I still continue to strive to be the same
soft shoulder for my students that Mrs. Butler was for me.
And just as she must have,
I live for those days when the
eyes of a five year old meet mine
as they gasp a little
and grin a lot because
I just read that all by myself!
Mrs. Butler opened a magic door for me and sent
me through it to worlds that began with
Sally, Dick, Jane, Spot and Puff then continued on
with Meg and Charles Wallace and on and on.
(100 bonus points to those who know Meg and Charles Wallace)
I was never far from a book and was frequently instructed
to get my nose out of said book because I chose to read over
almost any other activity.
I read then (and still do) as if my mind was as hungry for words
as a stray dog is for food and it makes sense that
my word hunger would evolve into the need to create
my own stories.
My own words have never flowed as freely as I imagine
they do for other people who feel compelled to tell their
stories. I search hard for that perfect combination of words
that will recreate a moment. It has never come easy for me.
And re-write again.
My life is different now. I am still re-learning to walk up and down
stairs. My balance is iffy and my gait feels awkward. My hands
are weak and don't want to function some days.
I now find myself searching harder for those just right words.
They have become elusive and as hard to hold on to as the
mist that rises from the lake behind my house on these cold
This post alone has taken days and days and days to write.
I have no idea how many hours I have spent typing and
re-typing these words. Each time I return to these words
I find and correct errors and complete unfinished sentences.
As I slowly emerged from my coma
I do not recall being frightened.
Not until I was aware enough to realize that my
words were hiding from me and that the
words of others had to swim sluggishly upstream
through a brain that just did not translate as it once did.
Just today, I could not recall the words
It is frustrating and scary.
There are good days and bad days.
Sometimes I have to wipe tears away
in order to see the keyboard but I am determined to use
that stubborn, hard headed attitude my husband loves
so much to find and keep my words.
I have more to say now than ever before.
PS. Mrs. Butler-
I wish I could find you and thank you in person.
I still love you.