Jo: My Favorite English Teacher

Friday, after I slept in, I decided I was going to make it a good day. The first element to making this so was to visit my high school senior English teacher, Mrs. Bailey. She goes by Jo now because “Eva Jo” was what people called her during her rumbustious years. Though I’ve never stated the argument to her, I would defend she still in rumbustious years at 60.

Now that I’m in the home stretch to my college graduation (eek!), I’m taking a reflective look at the past four years, and how I got here. Of course the support of my family is in the back of my gracious mind, but Mrs. Bailey is the leader of the brigade.  She resonates fear, if not respect, from every Elizabethtown High School student who has passed through the halls in the last twenty-some years. Every time I drop in to visit her, she pours upon me excitement and praise. We are of like minds–obsessed with books with a “squirrelly” side.

I was excited to drop in and see her Friday, and I couldn’t wait to tell her of all I was accomplishing in my undergraduate career–mostly I wanted to tell her I finished my thesis. She was excited, of course, but a change was present. We sat in her back office, littered with collections of papers and books and movies (my kind of office!), and she pushed poems towards me that she has written. The earth shifted. four years ago I was the one sitting on the edge of my chair, trying to detect approval in the reader’s eyes. Suddenly I was the reader and she–the one’s whose praise I most required–searched my eyes. Not only I have gained her universal approval, but I have somehow pulled myself to become her equal.

She is proud of me, proud of what I’ve done with my life thus far, but I feel like I’m a bunch of pomp, more of a shadow that dissipates when you try to catch.

Good feelings from Friday, feelings that are still resonating in my sensibilities today. It was one of the few moments that I realized I would remember in detail while still in the moment.

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