Saturday, March 2, 2024

An Open Letter by Liz Flaherty

It's no surprise to anyone that I have a soft spot for teachers. I've written about it and about them before. I've been angry about teachers' pay ever since I learned how much it was. I am reminded daily of how teachers have affected nearly every aspect of my life. So here is my letter to some of the teachers who've changed my life. 

Dear Mrs. Sullivan:

I was scared to death of you. But you taught me to read and to read well. It is a gift that has gone on giving ever since I was six.

Dear Mrs. Cripe:

You were so kind. I hope I would have already known about kindness from my mom, from Sunday School, from living day-to-day, but I remember yours from ever since I was seven.

Dear Mrs. Kotterman:

You made third and fourth grades a soft place to fall. I remember that from when I was eight and nine.

Dear All My Elementary Teachers:

You read aloud to us Every Single Day. You introduced us to Heidi, Little Britches, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Lazy Liza Lizard, Caddie Woodlawn, and more others than I can begin to remember. In case I didn't thank you then, is it too late? Oh, good. Thank you for every day.

Dear Miss Boswell--or more lately, Mrs. Small:

You taught me to type in my sophomore and junior years. You didn't make me fast or particularly good, although you tried. I've written 20-some books, using what you taught me in each of them. Wow.

Dear Every-English-Teacher-I-Had:

Those 20-some books I mentioned up there? You taught me spelling and grammar and to pay attention to both. Goodness knows, editors make writers' jobs immeasurably easier, but I wouldn't know how to write without the basis you gave me. 

Dear Mr. Wildermuth:

Algebra didn't take, but the cherishing of humanity did. Still does. 

Dear Miss Name-Omitted:

In high school, you taught me the hard way that not all teachers are fair. Not all of them are good. Not all of them care about students. Not all of them should be in a classroom. Ever.

Dear Mrs. Mungle:

When I couldn't find you one day, it was because you were playing Christmas songs on the piano in the cafeteria while the kids were eating lunch. That was so much more important than whatever the reason was I was looking for you. 

Dear Coach Bridge:

You still remember their names.

Dear Mrs. See:

You still call my grandboy "one of mine."

Dear Mrs. Wilson, Mr. Wilson, and Dr. Flaherty: 

I am so proud of you.

Dear Public Education:

Thank you. A thousand times over, thank you.

Have a good week. Thank a teacher if you were able to read this, count up my mistakes, and remind me of everyone I left out. Be nice to somebody.


Saturday, February 24, 2024

A Good Week by Liz Flaherty

The weather is weird, isn't it? Sometimes, especially as I'm walking through the snow to get to the office, I wonder if it's the universe's way of telling us to pay attention. Is God muttering about how to wake us up, so he sends things to slow us down and make us think. Maybe even before we fall and break a hip.

I don't know. Makes sense to me, though. 

I hope you've had a good week. I have, although not a productive one. That's one of the things you have to adapt to when you reach a certain age. Well, that I've had to adapt to. 

A good week involves the people you see and talk to, the things you laugh at, if you get some good sleep instead of lying there worrying about where you put the paper you know you got and saved. 

In a good week, you talk to one of your kids almost every day. They make you laugh. You may get to see one, along with a sleepy grandboy. 

Sometimes you get to talk to a kid about the word cacophony, which you can't even spell, but you love the pictures it draws in your mind. Cacophony refers to noise, but not always sound. It's a big, full word. 

A good week means time with friends, laughing at the selective hearing of husbands (It's a real thing--you know it is. Just like a man cold, only incurable.) 

A good week is laughing hard at a play at Ole Olsen right after you've eaten a really good meal catered by Made by Jade.

And there are others.

Talking to a rural mail carrier who loves her job.

Listening to Peter and Company at Legend's and eating more really good food.

Friday night supper at Farmhouse Cafe. Sharing the table with friends and good conversation. Beef and noodles and a decadent dessert.

A few warm, sunny days. An inch of white landscape out there this morning. A 19-year-old cat insisting he hasn't eaten in days! 

A writer / teacher friend on FB often ends her posts with And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway. Kathie Giorgio's had a time of it lately, and I'm happy to see the hope at the end of what she writes. I'm always glad to see hope.

As you can tell, I didn't have much going on today. But having a good week was enough. I hope you've had one, too, and that the one coming up is even better. Be nice to somebody.

In case you're looking for something to read...

Dinah is a mom, a giver, and a doer, so she’s used to change, but this summer is kind of overdoing that. The diner where she’s worked for half her life is closing, her college-age kids aren’t coming home for the summer, and a property on nearby Cooper Lake is calling her name, bringing long-held dreams of owning a B & B to the fore. Newcomer Zach Applegate is entering into her dreams, too.

Divorced dad, contractor, and recovering alcoholic Zach is in Fallen Soldier, Pennsylvania, to visit his brother and to decide what’s coming next in his life. He doesn’t like change much, yet it seems to be everywhere. But he finds an affinity for remodeling and restoration, is overjoyed when his teenage sons join him for the summer, and he likes Dinah Tyler, too. A lot.

Dinah and Zach each experience sorrow and tumult, but go on to dance in the kitchen. Together, they have something, but is it enough?