Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mail for Mr. V

I am not quite on the ball with Halloween card-mailing this year, but I have a few things ready to send out.  I'll be getting just a few cards mailed today, I have a tiny box of cards and candy ready for my older niece and my nephew, and I had the book Where Is Baby's Pumpkin?  shipped to little niece Bianca a couple days ago to mark her first Halloween.  (The online book preview showed the baby peeking around an orange gingham curtain--
--and how could I have resisted?!)  Today's outgoing mail also includes a combination Halloween-thank you card for Mr. V, one of my fifth and sixth grade teachers.  He was one of my favorites and one of the best.  I've found what I'm hoping is really his address and have now offered my long-overdue thanks, which makes me happy.  

Mr. V was a sharp dresser and loved dogs and baseball--this was the era of the mid-late 1980s New York Mets and Darryl Strawberry, of whom there was a poster on one of Mr. V's classroom walls--and if I'm remembering correctly, the snazzy red car in the teachers' parking lot was his--but we students loved him because he cared about us, enjoyed us, and was simply one of the good ones.  He was the first teacher who really encouraged my art skills.  I painted or drew a picture of my Beagle in his class one day, and he not only praised it, but also took it over to a teacher who was visiting his room at the time--the equally wonderful Mr. M--and showed it off to him too.  Tradition at our elementary school was that each year, a couple of the sixth grade students were selected to illustrate the cover of the yearbook.  Instead of simply telling me in class the next day that I had been one of the two chosen student-artists, he knocked on the door of the other teacher's classroom I was in at the time--this time, dear Mr. G's--and asked if he could speak to me for a moment--He wants to talk to me?!  In the hall?!?  What did I do?!  I didn't do anything!  When I stepped into the hall, I found my best friend standing beside him, adding to the pure thrill seconds later when Mr. V announced that she and I would be the ones designing the yearbook cover.  He could have just waited to tell us in class, of course, just as he could have notified us separately, but no:  Instead he created a moment, and it was, clearly, a memorable one.  It is that kind of "small" kindness that stays with a person.  
Fifth grade was the year of our using microscopes for the first time too, and he shared our excitement as we saw insects and who-knows-what-else up-close for the very first time.  When I asked him after class one day where he bought the tiny lights for the microscopes we used in class, he answered at-length, but all I remember now is that he said that even the little Christmas tree string lights' bulbs would work.  That was the first year science ever interested me:  I asked my parents for both a cookbook and a microscope that Christmas.  There remains the feeling, almost thirty years later, that we all went through the fifth grade together:  He experienced it right along with us, as it should be.  And my gratitude is much bigger than I could ever express in a greeting card, but he'll be getting one in the mail this week anyway, and I hope it brightens his day as he brightened so many of mine.  

10 comments:

La Table De Nana said...

LOVE this..Like a Hallmark commercial.:)
Remember the teacher getting the letter? Or were you too young?
And Bianca's book..what an auntie you are..
That artwork for the cover is fantastic Val!

Val said...

I don't remember that one, Monique--And I'm a sucker for a sweet Hallmark commercial, so I'll have to look it up online. :)

Thank you. He deserves it! ♥

Blondie's Journal said...

I think that it's great that you have found a way to thank Mr. V. for all of his early encouragement and inspiration, I believe he will be thrilled to hear from one of his former students. Touching kid's lives is what teaching is all about. I have several teachers that I knew and loved..I calculate many of the "younger" ones to now be in their seventies and eighties. I would love to be able to thank some of them, and in my case it would be my art and English instructors.

You have some very thoughtful Halloween gifts there! :)

Jane xx

Lisa said...

Val, you are so thoughtful.

Anonymous said...

You know, Val, I have been thinking of a special teacher for the last couple of years and Wanting to thank him.I think I will try to find an address for him now. One of my sisters was a teacher in the same state and might be able to locate him through her contacts - I am hopeful. Thanks for the reminder today to say "Thanks" to some one very special to me. He was a great influence in my life at a time it was so needed.
Have a great day!

Love,

Lily

Val said...

Thank you, Jane, Lisa, and Lily. Teachers are so important. I have a list of about five more here from elementary school I plan to write to soon. 'Long-overdue.

Thistle Cove Farm said...

thank God for such teachers. my "art" teacher told me I had absolutely no talent and to stop trying. I wonder whatever happened to her...

Val said...

Sandra, "Ay!" 'Will email you. :)

Courtney Carney said...

Mr. V was a wonderful teacher and very compassionate. I remember him and Mr G fondly. I think back on the time in elementary school and wonder why I couldn't be more like you , Val and less the troublemaker. I remember too, the yearbook cover and how wonderful your illustrations were. Wow what a step back in time I am taking reading these...

Val said...

Wait til you read the post about our New Kids concert, Troublemaker. ;) Ha! :) Mr. G loved you, even if you refused color his maps in correctly. :)

How FUN to have someone read these stories who was THERE!! :) ♥