Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mrs. Quinn

I grew up in a small town. 

Like, small.

Like, small in that the junior high and senior high in our town were in one school building, and the elementary school was also attached to that building.  When I was in 7th grade, the first day of junior high, I was assigned a seat in the back of the bus with a senior girl who was probably the most beautiful girl in the whole small school.

Maybe even in the whole town.

But let’s back up.

There were two 6th grade teachers in our small town school.  I had Mrs. Quinn.  So did most of my friends, but it didn’t matter; we were all friends back then.  There were not that many of us.

Mrs. Quinn and her husband, Mr. Quinn, went to our church.  My parents and aunts and uncles went to school with their children.  In fact, one of their daughters was my aunt’s best friend.  Mr. and Mrs. Quinn’s grandchildren were only a year or two younger than me.  Mr. Quinn taught gym class in high school; my mom and dad and aunts and uncles all had him when they were in high school.

Mrs. Quinn was nice and smiled a lot.  We all liked her.  She was old to us then, but she wasn’t, not really.  She was a sweet woman who made me feel like she loved our class, like she loved me. 

She probably really did.  After all, she practically knew my whole history, had seen me grow up.

Mrs. Quinn assigned the same science project every year, early in the fall: a leaf collection.  We were to collect leaves from the trees around our small town and identify them, press them onto pages along with a description of each, creating a mini-encyclopedia of leaves.  We didn’t have the internet back then.  Back then, we looked each leaf up in the set of encyclopedias or other reference books that Mrs. Quinn kept in her classroom or in the school library.  I used the same autumn-themed binder that my older brother had used for his own leaf collection two years before.  I didn’t have enough room on the page of my book for the giant tulip tree leaf and its seed pod; it took up two pages.

Mrs. Quinn gave me an A on that leaf project, as she did most other projects that year.  I was a good student back then, and I loved my teacher.

Mrs. Quinn still lives in that small town where I grew up.  She retired from teaching years ago, and buried Mr. Quinn just this year.  The last several years of her life were spent taking care of him.  I haven’t seen Mrs. Quinn in many years; I don’t go home very often.  Likely she wouldn’t remember me if we met today.

But then again, she just might.  After all, she practically knew my whole history, had seen me grow up.

*******

This post inspired by:

Mama’s Losin’ It

Prompt 1: Your sixth grade teacher.

24 comments:

  1. This post reminds me of a grade 10 teacher I had. She knows my parents a bit and I have seen her a few times over the years. Just recently she saw my mom and was so happy to hear what was going on in my life. She said she really liked having me as a student. I bet your Mrs Quinn would remember you. :)

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    1. That is such a sweet story. Teachers have such a huge influence on our lives, don't they? I'd love to know which ones remember me.

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    2. I'm 100 percent positive that both my Mom and my Dad would remember who you are. Dad never forgot any of his students. Even after his stroke he knew who we were talking about when a former student was mentioned. Thanks you so much for writing such a wonderful tribute to Mom. I will certainly share it with her. Take care (On a side note as chance would have it she and your Grandma are going out for dinner together this evening)

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    3. Blythe - thank you so much for letting me know this, and for sharing this with her. I really loved having your mom as a teacher. I never had your dad but everyone who did still talk about having him, my parents included.

      That's so funny about dinner tonight, I'm glad that they are going - proof that everything is perfectly timed. :)

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    4. I agree. You do a great job with you writing. Hope I get the chance to read more of your work.

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  2. My 6th grade teacher was Mr. Harter. He got fired mid-year for taking his pants off in front of all of us. All the girls gasped then giggled. He had running shorts on underneath. But our parents didn't care...

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    1. OMG.

      Classic.

      But poor Mr. Harter. It probably sounded like a better idea in his head.

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  3. You would be amazed that teachers remember you! I found my 1st grade teacher on FB and she remembered me like it was yesterday. It's been a good 20+ years since! Teachers are just awesome like that!

    Following you via Mama Kat! Hope you too can stop by and follow as well! coloradoblessedmom.blogspot.com

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    1. I saw my first grade teacher once several years ago. She was a beauty back then and was when I saw her, years later. She said she remembered me, too.

      I am always amazed when teachers remember students. Their memories must be so full.

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  4. Mrs. Quinn sounds like a wonderful teacher. You could always send her a letter thanking her for what she taught you.

    Kids these days will never know of the joy of looking things up in books. How far the world has progressed since we were in school. I'm so glad we got to experience a world without the internet. I think I appreciate it all the more.

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    1. The letter sounds like a great idea, Tammy. I'm not thoughtful like that. Thanks for the suggestion!

      "Kids these days" - yeah. I do appreciate the internet. I'm amazed when someone asks a question they can look up on Google. I think, "Isn't this what we have the internet for?" Sometimes that's not such a good thing. I can definitely get sucked in!

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  5. What a sweet memory you have of her. This is why sometimes I wish we lived in a small town. I love that everyone can look out for one another. Mrs. Quinn sounds lovely!

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    1. She is. And she just had dinner with my grandmother. Knowing that makes me miss my small town. :)

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  6. I bet she would. My elementary gym teacher lives around the corner from my grandparents, or did. I'm not sure now. But I know she still asked about me well into my adulthood.

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    1. I don't know how teachers remember all their students. But they do, and it is an awesome gift to have.

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  7. Such a great memory. I remember many of my teachers. I always wondered how they remembered everyone. My Mom's been a teacher for 66 years and still remembers names and faces like crazy. Has to be weird though that now she not only has ranks of students, but also their kids...and now some of their grandkids!

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    1. Wow! 66 years - how wonderful! The grandkids too? She is amazing.

      It is a special gift that teachers have. I worked in our church's nursery for five years and while I remember the babies I had in there, remembering their names is a struggle sometimes.

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  8. That's such a sweet story! It sounds like you grew up in a very similar town to the one I taught in when I first graduated from college. The town had about a thousand people in it and graduated maybe 50 kids every year.

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    1. It was very small. I ended up not graduating from that school, but I remember everyone from there. There's just something about the bonds that form in a small town.

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  9. Well I want to know more about the pretty girl you had to sit with on the bus. LOL

    And this is one of the good things that small towns can be good for. The knowing of everybody and their stories. It can also be not so good too.

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    1. I love the idea of being in a small town, too, but I haven't lived in one for so long that the reality of having everyone know your business has faded.

      I do love going home and seeing people I know. It's like no time has passed.

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  10. You might find this amusing, because I think my 6th grade teacher now goes to your church...Judy Kline? It's always different when you know them as an adult, but never as a kid, I think. She was a great teacher, and I remember always sitting thinking how pretty she was, and loving her opal earrings. I kind of doubt if she'd remember me, but she impacted me profoundly by really encouraging my writing. I wrote a paper that year about a horse, after having recently gone horseback riding, and I used all my best descriptive words, and she wrote really positive and encourage feedback, and even told my mom about it. I loved writing from then on. Obviously I still do. :) I think my love for it definitely began that year, from that paper.

    Then there was 2 years later, when I had her husband for Health. All the girls thought he was...shall we say, not bad looking...but then we had to endure "THE" chapter (the dreaded, 8th grade health chapter *gasp*). I thought I was going to die, and wished my chair would swallow me up. :D I survived.

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    1. Yes, I know Judy! She would love to know what an impact she had on you, I think. She just might read my blog, too. :)

      The health class story is awesome.

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