One of my favorite teachers died yesterday. Mrs. Nancy Russell taught social studies in sixth grade, ninth grade and 10th grade. To my knowledge, no other teacher had that much access to students in the VVS school district. I could be wrong, but it hardly matters. She taught me to love social studies, so much that when it was suggested I major in history in college, I jumped at it.
I remember several things about Mrs. Russell, especially once I hit high school. She was a teeny-tiny woman, a size 0 at most. Though small, she could command a room, but not in an overbearing way. She was good at getting, and keeping, your attention.
Her engagement ring was the most unusual I have ever seen--a huge black pearl, which looked ginormous on her tiny finger. I remember her telling us about how she preferred black pearls to diamonds--the things you remember, eh?
And I remember when I came back from the eye doctor, having gotten glasses, and she coaxed me into putting them on for the first time. Age 14 is a tough time for everyone--add eyeglasses into the mix, and it's really embarrassing. But she was wonderfully supportive, and generous in her praise for how "good" they looked on me.
Thank you, Mrs. Russell, for being a super teacher, a good friend and one of the consistent adults in my adolescence.
I hope my school-days friends will comment on this blog, if only as a way to pay tribute to a super lady.