Sunday, December 21, 2008

Anticipation is the Word for it!

I am really excited. Filled with anticipation, to tell the truth! It isn't anything to do with Christmas being five days away. It isn't anything to do with anything that has been in my life for, say, about 37 years. It is to do with my life about 38 years ago, when I was 10. I was in fifth grade at Raleigh Park Grade School, and my teacher was Mrs. Wedeking.
Well, tonight, I can't be sure what thinking got me on the topic, but I started thinking about my years, from third grade through sixth, at that school. My third-grade teacher totally missed it in regard to relationship with me. Every time she talked to me about anything other than school work, she would ask me what my father did for a living, and I was embarrassed to say that I didn't know. And that was the full extent of her discussion with me about anything. My fourth-grade teacher had a habit of losing homework that her students handed in, and rather than own up to it, she would list their names on the board and claim that they hadn't handed in the work. She was fired that year.
In fifth grade I had a teacher who took an interest in her students like I didn't remember having before. She was funny and friendly. She was single at the beginning of the year, and when she got engaged, she asked the whole class to her wedding--there was an invitation on each of our desks! I remember being so excited to go to her wedding, but I wasn't allowed to go to the reception, because my father was sick with heart problems at the time, and I had to go home instead. I am ashamed of how selfishly I pouted that day; it's one of the few memories I have in regard to how I interacted with my father specifically, and one of my big regrets. Not much later, he died. I remember taking the Monday off after he died, and going back into class after that. Mrs. Wedeking had rearranged the desks in a huge circle, and when I walked into the room, the class fell silent. Everyone looked at me, and it was the longest short walk I ever took. One girl didn't know what had happened and whispered a question to me, and I whispered the answer to her. It was a very awkward day all around, and that whole event marked the beginning of a huge awareness of emptiness in my life.

But I was also aware that Mrs. Wedeking was doing all she could for me. She started a 4-H cooking group after school, and only a few girls joined it. I enjoyed the diversion. I don't remember a great deal about that year, but I do remember her kindness and that she interacted with me as if I were a friend, in addition to being a student. I have often thought back and pondered just what made her so special, and I think a lot of it was just her general kindness and the feeling that she was a friend. She's one of three teachers who made such an impression of kindness in my whole education.
The next year, in sixth grade, I had a teacher who I can best describe as a battle-axe. I can't think of a more accurate way to describe her, no other word comes to mind. I don't mean to be unkind. It's the one impression she made upon me. She was mean and hard and she picked on various kids.
Then through junior high and high school I had mean teachers, indifferent teachers, and nice teachers. Only two of them stand out as remarkable in my mind, and because of their ages, I think it would be surprising if they were still alive.
So today, I was pondering my various teachers in grade school, and since Mrs. Wedeking was such a favorite, I suddenly realized I could google her name, and I think I found her. Her picture would reinforce that thought. So I have e-mailed, and I am so looking forward to her response! I hope that she will respond and is indeed the teacher from that year. The other neat thing that I discovered is that she is now (if this is the same person) an instructor at a Christian college, so I would assume, naturally, that she is a Christian. That would further explain the impact she made upon me that year; perhaps she prayed for that little lost girl who'd felt like she'd been shot in the stomach when her dad died. Perhaps her impact that was so intangible was prayer. I'm so looking forward to her response! And that is why I am filled with anticipation at this moment.

1 comment:

Shani said...

Merry Christmas, Mrs. Abbott! I hope your email is received by just the lady you intend.:) It sounds like it will be a sweet reacquaintance! And hey, if not, you'll know a sister in Christ awfully like your favorite teacher. Enjoy your holiday and family.
I am home until January 10 - maybe there is an afternoon or Saturday in there for us!:)