Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I speak to many people during the day over the phone and through email. Most of these people I only know that way and have never actually physically seen them. I often imagine what they look like by the sound of their voice, which is a fun game if I do happen to have a chance to meet them because there is a good chance they look nothing like I imagine them. There is a woman at one of our buildings who I have never seen but I have imagined that she looks like my 5th grade elementary school teacher, Mrs. Heher. She was a tall, thin woman with fading short, blondish white hair. She walked everywhere she went quickly and even wore a pedometer to measure how far she walked in a day. I just discovered that the woman that I speak to at work looks nothing like that, but the thought of Mrs. Heher brought me down memory lane, and I started to think about my elementary school teachers.

Mrs. Bilotti was my kindergarten teacher, and I think she was wife of the mayor or the governor.

Mrs. Ristau, caretaker of the 1st grade, was a petite woman with a small face and petite features.

Mrs. Zork... my first 2nd grade teacher was every bit as eccentric as her name sounds. She had jet black hair and a matching purse and shoes for every single outfit, and she had some vibrant, crazy outfits. I liked her class because I was always the first one done with my spelling.

Mrs. Dean was my second 2nd grade teacher. We moved to Las Vegas in the middle of the year. I don't remember much about her except that she was a nice lady. I remember watching the Challenger explode on TV in her class.

Third grade favorite... Mrs. Hembree. She brought us popsicles on Fridays and had a little stuffed animal dog that we each took home one weekend and then wrote about our adventures on Monday.

Mr. Gingrich was the first male teacher and he brought on the 4th grade. We had ping pong and 4-square tournaments with the other 4th Grade class taught by Mr. Graff. If we got caught chewing gum in his class, we had to put it on our nose for the rest of the day. I only got caught once. On Fridays we watched a movie and we were allowed to bring whatever treats we wanted. I almost always brought an Oh Henry candy bar and Cool Ranch Doritos. Funny that I probably haven't had an Oh Henry candy bar since 4th grade, and who knows when I ate Cool Ranch Doritos last.

Finally, Mrs. Heher, the master walker.

Once you get past elementary school, the teachers start multiplying because you have one for every subject. They become slightly less memorable. Maybe that is because they spend less time with their students or because they are less invested. The only one I still talk about is my crazy English teacher Mrs. Adams. I was lucky enough to have her my freshman and senior years of high school. She was the typical English teacher... frizzy hair, kind of nutty but full of spirit. I wonder if I got some of my love for freewriting and expression in her class. She was an adventurer and traveler and spent her summers exploring foreign lands taking pictures. The summer before my senior year she went to Africa and had all kinds of photos hung around the classroom. We shared common interests... love of travel, photography, books and writing. It's no wonder I was one of her favorite students. She was crazy (she had a pet rock and swore she had seen the Loch Ness Monster), but I kind of liked her.

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