Thursday, September 18, 2014

Things are not always exactly as we think we remember them

A moment occurred the other night when I realized that a picture which I treasure from my childhood - one of the few things I still have - might not be such a treasure, after all. Suddenly, it made me sad.

I lay on the bed in the guest room, resting for a few minutes, and in that quiet time, I looked at this silhouette, and I really appreciated, so much, what my kindergarten teacher did with that project. You see, she used some kind of projector (whatever they had, circa 1958), and she put each of our silhouettes on the wall; and then, somehow, she cut each one out of black paper, & she pasted it onto a white background. How much dedication she must have had!

Now, to warn you, this story becomes very sad. If you don't want to go there, you can stop now.

When I was in...oh, I'm not sure...maybe fourth grade, the "estranged husband" of the kindergarten teacher at my school went into her classroom, before any children had arrived, and he shot her, and then himself. He ran through our woods; so the FBI came to my house to question my mom, but she hadn't seen or heard anything. (Okay, that was it; the sad part is over.)

I remember being freaked out, not liking to go to the kindergarten room for group activities, as we sometimes did. I don't remember grieving. So the other night, I guess I finally grieved (by thinking about her, and by appreciating her dedication and love for her students, and allowing myself to feel sad). But what I didn't realize until I did some research today was that this woman was not my kindergarten teacher!

I had looked on the internet before, but this time I found something...only, what I found wasn't what I thought. I didn't find anything about a shooting; but what I found was an obituary for a woman whose maiden name was the name of my kindergarten teacher, and who taught first grade at my school "until her retirement in 1979"...and lived to 2002.

The teacher who was shot was not my teacher. (I know. I said that already.) The story of the shooting is still a very sad story, and I'm still sad for that woman's family, and for all those in the school who may have known about it, as I did. (And I still say that the violence in the world isn't new, only the knowledge is more widespread.)

But when I look at my silhouette now, I can think of my kindergarten teacher the way I learned about her in the obituary...married, from some time after she taught me, until her death; teaching first grade until her retirement; and raising eight children. Dedicated? I should say! But she seems to have lived a long and peaceful life.

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