Today I got tagged on Facebook. When I checked it out, it was an essay thanking an old teacher, and the poster took the opportunity to thank all of her childrens’ teachers, me being one.
Very heartening, very nice. So, I am going to riff on that and write down a little memory of a teacher of mine, whose one simple action changed me.
Mrs. Gascoyne was my Girl Scout leader. We had a real troop- we really learned skills and had adventures- horseback-riding, camping, backpacking on the Appalachian Trail. We cooked three course breakfasts in the rain (eggs, sausage, cocoa.) We learned not to lose tent pegs. We learned not to complain. I credit Mrs. Gascoyne for all that. She was fascinating to me as well. She was tall, olive skinned and dark haired, big boned, and frank. So different from my family. She had a daughter my age who I wasn’t close to, and a good looking, black haired wild son I would have like to have been. He had hemophilia, which was also fascinating and seemed romantic, though now of course I realize how hard and sad that must have been. It also may have been what made him so wild. Once coming back from a trip I was a passenger in his car, I remember him pressing the accelerator passing a car on a hill, and even I knew he was really pressing his luck.
Anyway, here’s my story. We were doing something much calmer; some arts and crafts project, maybe making something for children in a hospital. Us girls were sitting on both sides of a long table. Mrs. Gascoyne started laying the supplies along the center of the table and immediately hands reached out to grab scissors. For some reason I didn’t feel like grabbing so I sat there, resigned to wait until a pair was free.
Mrs. Gascoyne noticed and stopped the show. She took all the scissors back and gave me the first pair. I don’t remember if she preached or scolded, but her action was sufficient; it was so surprising.
Why do I remember it so? Well, I have copied it, for one thing- making sure that the grabbers don’t get to run over the rest. But mostly it made me see myself outside of myself. I was not making any stand or statement, but my quiet self was recognized as something of value.
So for this and lots more, Thank you Mrs. Gascoyne.