Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Kindergarten Teacher

The other day I attended a luncheon in the small town where I grew up. I was the youngest person there by about 20 years but I still had a great time talking with some of the ladies. One in particular had been a kindergarten teacher at my old school. She's been retired for years and I was in kindergarten in 1983 so it had been awhile.

She asked me about my life and I filled her in on my husband, my kids, and where I am. She then said, "Were you in my class?"

I hadn't been but I told her I remembered going to her class once a week for singing. She laughed and said that was one of the things she missed the most about her teaching days. She would play the piano on Friday's for all three of the classes as we sat cross legged on her special song time carpet. I told her that was my only real memory of kindergarten. I had small memories like my nameplate on my table and the dividers they would put up during testing.

"Oh, the testing..." she rolled her eyes and smiled. And then she surprised me with this-

"The reason I thought you were in my class is because I remember a pink sweatshirt you used to wear...didn't it have a whale on it?..."she trailed off.

I think my mouth must have been hanging open and I felt tears stinging my eyes. When I was little money was very tight. I didn't realize this until I was much older because my parents did a great job of not making it an issue. My mom was creative and one of the things she did to make money as well as to save money was to sew.

My pink sweatshirt was one of the fads of the early 80's. She would buy solid colored sweatshirts and applique a picture on the front. An apple with a worm for a teacher, a sailboat, a duck, or in my case, a green whale with white polka-dots. On song day there was a song with this line:

Did you ever see a whale
with a polka-dot tale?
Down by the bay...

I intentionally wore that sweatshirt just so the teacher would notice me. So she would see how much I loved singing in her room and sitting on her special carpet. And now twenty-five years later I find out that she did notice me.

"You remember that?" I asked with my hand at my mouth as I tried not to let my voice crack. "I wore that just for you."

She smiled again and said, "Funny the things you remember..." and she patted my arm and walked over to speak to another lady nearby.

Lately I've felt small and a little lost. I've been wondering what my place is and if anyone even noticed me anyway. I guess I'll never know the things I do that get noticed. But after this conversation I sure won't feel so small. I left the luncheon with my head a little higher and my smile a little bigger. All because of a kindergarten teacher who noticed me.

3 comments:

RealEstateGirl said...

awww, Tracy, that is such a beautiful, sweet story! She will never know how deeply that touched you.

Thanks for sharing something so personal. You made me all weepy!

thehomespunheart said...

Oh Tracy, what a sweet story. It just shows how when we tell others the things we notice and appreciate about them, it can make their days a little brighter - just like it did for you!

What a sweet encouragement!

carrie said...

Tracy,

Thanks for sharing this--I loved reading your story.