I learned two days ago that one of my high school teachers had died suddenly. She had retired from the high school several years ago but was teaching at the liberal arts college in town so she still had a classroom of students. When she didn’t show up for class on Tuesday morning, someone went to check on her and found her at her home. Natural causes.
I have been thinking about her since I learned of this. Three years ago, she spearheaded a reunion for a group of us who worked together back in 1980 (my senior year) on a high school production of Godspell. It was controversial for that small town and the cast and crew worked very hard and produced (IMHO) a very fine version of the play. I have only stayed in touch with one of that cast since then..and that was even a very rare communication. But, Pat (the teacher), found us all and told us that she was mounting another production of Godspell, 23 years later, at the college. She wanted a reunion of the cast and crew to come to the show.
And, we did.
From all over.
From Tennessee to Florida to Texas to Alaska…everybody but 2 came.
We laughed. We teared up. We hugged. We struggled with calling our teacher by her first name. We went through scrapbooks and down memory lane. We sat through the show singing along and joined our current counterparts on the stage for the curtain call. We even presented her with a bouquet of roses at the end.
She stood by and watched us all through that entire reunion. She was always pretty aloof and more of an observer than participator…except when she was directing a show. But, she was proud of us…and touched that we showed up. She should be..it was a great testimony to what we thought of her as a teacher and as a mentor and friend.
Now, 3 years later, I find out she is dead. I was talking about going to the funeral with someone and I’m not sure I can make it. I really don’t know of any family and there is no one I need to comfort other than myself and those of us from those high school days who have the memories of her and what she demanded from us. And also how we tried to make her laugh or even just smile. I probably won’t go to the funeral. What we did three years ago was way more meaningful to her and to us. We have the memories from 1980 and now we have those from 2003.
I will miss you, PS, but I will never forget you.