Daily Archives: October 11, 2016

Tuesday: Exercises in Writing #19



I wasted too much time yesterday reading reviews and watching clips of the presidential debate. I wrote two articles and edited another, but have the bulk of my work yet to do. So, today I turn to Page After Page by Heather Sellers for a quick and easy (if not tremendously interesting) writing prompt:

Start by listing all the teachers you remember, from the first to the most recent.If a teacher grabs you and wants to be written about more, let her in.

Well, first was Mrs. Cary, for Kindergarten at Clover School. Kindergarten through second grade was held in that one room, but I moved on to Catholic School for first grade. Mrs. Daley was my first grade teacher. Second was – I’m not sure, but I think – Sister Mary Aquinas. Third grade was Mrs. Snoddy. Fourth was Sister Marietta. Fifth grade, I can’t remember; sixth was Sister Aloysius; seventh, I don’t know. Mr. Myrr taught music. Maybe Sister Mary Ann was my eighth grade teacher…or was it Sister Josephine? Where did all those memories go?

For high school, I moved on to Lapeer Senior High School which later – when the town added a second high school – became known as Lapeer West. Suddenly, I went classroom to classroom, and had a half dozen teachers in a day. The names and faces run together: Mrs. Betz, Mrs. Compton, Mr.Perkins, Mr. Peterson, Mr. Thwing, Mr. Sedgewick…I’m not even sure what classes they taught, or if I was in them.

A few stand out.

Mr. Miller was the teacher that everyone loved; I never took his class.

Mrs. Thwing taught art, and always had a project of her own going on, which was inspiring. Once, she worked, off and on through the school year, on textured ceramic tiles that would eventually be an outdoor tabletop. Another time she had a sculpture in progress that included the lifelike faces of three of her students. One face was Bill Murray, who was in my class; I don’t remember the other two.

Miss Timpone taught English in my senior year. We studied popular song lyrics for their literary merit: “In the year twenty-five twenty-five,” was one; others were from the musical, Tommy. She was reading The Godfather by Mario Puzo. It was a brand new book, back in 1969, and she talked glowingly about it. Her enthusiasm and generous teaching methods fueled my love of reading at a time when I otherwise seemed to be working hard at not taking an interest.

Mrs. Warner taught the student nursing class I participated in, senior year. The work-study program suited me at that period in my life, and Mrs. Warner was a wonderful instructor.

I started higher education several years after high school graduation, at Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan. I had fantastic teachers for Physical Education, Spanish, English, Geology and Biology. I can’t remember a single name. For art classes, Mr. Warner, Sam Morello, Tom Nuzum, Mr. Caskey and Pat Mishina each made a huge impression. There were others. Thom something, Doug something…Mrs. Bates, for Art History, was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had.

At Michigan State University, I majored in Art, but worked on a minor in English and a certificate in Women’s Studies, too. Marsha Watkins, a graduate student herself, taught the first ceramics class I took. Noah Alonso became my main teacher and mentor in that area of exploration.  Jim Feagan taught Printmaking; his lessons changed my life. Charles Youngquest taught Lithography and Serigraphy. There were wonderful teachers of Poetry and Literature, Painting and Drawing that deserve a mention, but I no longer know their names.

Since graduation, I have taken on-line courses and taped courses of instruction. I have filled whole shelves with books to teach me on thing or another. I’ve also been privileged to watch other teachers at work, at our community school here on Beaver Island. Those names, I can remember…but I’m out of time!