I have trouble letting go of some things; clothes, namely, being one of them. It’s not that I have a fondness for clothing in any way, shape, or form–quite the opposite, really as I abhor clothes shopping. So, I’ve figured a wonderful system that I have dubbed Just-Hang-On-To-Whatever-Is-In-My-Closet-Until-It-Absolutely-Needs-Replacing….Maneuver. (Very official title…very strategic.)
Anyway, I finally decided to clean out my closet and to get rid of things that I haven’t worn in forever and will probably never wear again when I found this little piece of nostalgia stuck on the back shelf, still carefully folded from the day I placed it back there.
You see, it was my senior year in high school and I and my group of friends had all just read The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants together and when it came time for graduation, I knew that I wanted something to take with me. My friends? I knew they would stay with me forever, most of them attending the same university as I did, but what I couldn’t take with me were the teachers who I would leave behind to start a new chapter of my academic career. So, in the spirit of the book, I grabbed my favorite pair of jeans and brought them with me on the last day of school and had each of my teachers sign them.
Finding these pants after so many years and reading through each message on them turned me into a blubbery mess on the floor as I recalled all the lessons they’ve taught me and how they’ve helped shaped my own character journey through the years.
Mr. Redlien, my College Algebra and Statistics teacher, proved to me that I am not a complete and utter failure when it comes to math. I had never received anything more than barely passing marks in my previous mathematics classes, until I took his class. He helped me understand the concepts and formulas and that statistics are sometimes lies, depending on your sample pool, even if he always insisted that “fifty” should be pronounced “fiddy” because that was the cool thing to do. I remember achieving A after A on my tests and crying because I never thought that was something I could achieve.
Mr. Spinale, Economics, Mrs. Ball, American Government, and Mrs. Zak, American History–who all taught me more about the dynamics between Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson LOOOONG before Lin Manuel’s Hamilton ever came out that may or may not have resulted in Mr. Spinale’s framed picture of Alexander Hamilton in a suspended cage in the middle of the hallway–of which I had nothing to do with. Legitimately. Pretty sure it was just being held ransom until someone returned Mrs. Zak’s Thomas Jefferson doll.
Mr. Bancale, Cermaics, who saw art and beauty everywhere he looked and always encouraged my creativity.
Madame Hilton and Mr. Zak, my French teachers, who helped me to see more than my small-town up bringing through food, culture, and language and Mrs. Rodriguez and Mr. Schwindt, my high school drama teacher and high school band, both who seemed to see unending potential in me even though I never could, and being a member of Marching Band gave me a family of friends and buckets of memories I will never forget.
I can’t, of course, forget my favorite teacher, Mrs. Jameson….my creative writing and AP Language and Composition teacher. She taught me how to write genres and gave me the strongest foundation in language and thought that allowed me to learn how to think for myself and to never be afraid to be a little bit eccentric. I have so much to thank her for, I feel she may never know. I can only hope that she would be proud of me at how far I’ve come since high school…although I most certainly still have quite a way to go.
Whew! *takes a break to wipe away all the tears*
It’s taken a long time, with many detours and failures along the way, but I’m finally on the path in my life that I always wanted to be. As I head into tomorrow, opening up to queries as a literary agent, I can’t help look back and realize that my journey has been paved with people who helped reveal bits about myself that I never knew was there; their lessons cemented to my bones, strengthening my center. Should I ever feel lost in my journey, I know that I will always have these memories, immortalized in a pair of faded L.E.I’s and permanent marker, to remind that I can do this.
‘Til Next Time,