My friend Ginny in Connecticut called me a while back. We’ve known each other since we played fifth stand cello in the orchestra in our freshman year of high school (yes, there were eight cellists more proficient than we were). Ginny went on with the cello and wound up at first stand, but I stopped when I got tired of walking a mile to school with the big brown bag. Plus, it’s really hard to play the cello in a tight skirt.

We talked about a great many things for too long a time on Ginny’s dime, like how we once got drunk on Manischewitz wine at a sleepover. We discovered we had both been independently and recently thinking about our Senior English teacher, Ida Beth Newlon. Miss Newlon was quiet yet firm, and encouraged her students to read, write and think. She picked me to work on the literary magazine. She was the first teacher I had in four years of high school who I felt really, truly cared about me. She told me I had “spark” and I believed her.

It’s taken a while for the spark to ignite a fire, but I credit Miss Newlon for having confidence in me as a writer so many years ago. I expect by now Miss Newlon is somewhere in English Teacher Heaven, where all the red pencils are sharp, yet there are no mistakes to correct. So, thank you again, Miss Newlon. I’m glad I thanked you way back then, and Ginny and I have not forgotten you now that we are older than you were when you taught us.

And, Ginny? I told you you’d be in my blog. Thank you for being my friend and a great teacher. You, too, Claudia.

Do you have a mentor who’s meant a lot to you? A pal you’ve played with for ages? Feel free to acknowledge them here.

May 6-12 is Teacher Appreciation Week, so go appreciate somebody!

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops. ~Henry Brooks Adams