Saturday, April 23, 2005

Lessons

So Sister MR was my favorite teacher in high school. She taught me in Freshman AP English. When I told my "sophomore buddy" that I had her for my teacher, she visibly shuddered and wished me luck.

Sister had a very formidable and intimidating presence in the classroom. She did not smile often, and if you made a mistake of any kind, she would embarass the heck out of you in front of the class. She expected, no demanded, perfection from us and did not hesitate to let us know when we failed her. I loathed her for probably the first quarter of school, along with the rest of the class.

But then something happened between us, I don't remember what it was exactly. I think it was the journals that she had us write in for the first ten minutes of class every day. She would go down the alphabet, and write a quote on the chalkboard that started with that particular letter. Then we were to just free-form and write a page on whatever we thought about what she had selected. We turned them in every quarter, and she would often write comments about our ramblings. At least, she wrote a lot on mine.

So, I began to feel a bit more friendly to her, and somehow through all the differences became friends. I came to find out that she had been caring for a very ill mother, and her brother who happens to be quite a famous actor, had left her in charge of everything. I mean, even a nun can get overwhelmed with all her duties, and that is what had happened to her. When her mother passed away, a great weight seemed to be lifted from her shoulders, and she became a little bit happier.

She became a mentor to me, and I looked to her for guidance for a lot of things. I look back and cringe upon remembering some of the dumb things I deemed important as a high schooler. She was always patient and kind to me, and when she left California for retirement, we corresponded for the next 3 years or so.

I am sure that it was me who did not keep up. I got caught up in things and while I did not necessarily forget about her, somehow we lost touch. It had been at least 10 years since our last missives. The other day on a complete whim I decided to Google her, and there she was! I submitted a form that particular convent uses for contacts, and I was provided with her email. What could I say? "Sorry I was a selfish jerk and stopped writing you" seemed fairly appropriate and that is basically what I said, besides giving her some information about me.

Dear Gina,
What a wonderful surprise! I understand completely that you are involved in that all consuming project known as LIFE. At your time of life there are many many important things to take up your time and energy. I appreciate your remembering me and wanting to be in touch.

I am doing very well--all things considered. I finished the book I came home to write and it was published in 1991... Retirement is a relative term. One of these days I may try it...

Thank you so much for writing and do stay in touch. Could I ever see a picture of that baby? Just like all grandmothers----------

Love,
SMR


Can I tell you that I just about wanted to cry? How could I ever have forgotten this lovely woman? Why do we sometimes think we are so busy that we just cannot keep in touch with everyone we care about? Priorities, my friends, priorities. And I feel that after such a long while I am finally figuring out what they really should be. Do yourself a favor and contact someone with whom you have fallen out of touch. You just might be surprised and delighted at the outcome.

And does she realize what she has now gotten herself into? Pictures of Mr. Personality galore!

2 comments:

Cuppa said...

I too have recently reconnected with people I have been out of touch with for a long time and I wonder what took me so long to take the step and make contact.

They are a rich treasure that I have neglected for far too long.

I second Gina's motions and urge you to pick up the phone and call, or grab your pen and write a note. You will be happy you did.

Mel said...

What a wonderful thing you had her in your life once and how great you found her again!