Recently, having visited the wonderful teachers in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, I spoke of the wonderful teachers who reminded me so much of my favorite teacher, Clara B. Walker. [Posted: August 16, 2009] Mrs. Walker taught me in the third grade at Wooten Elementary School in Austin, Texas. At the end of the post, I mentioned that I might look her up so that I could tell her thank you. Well, I did!
The search for Mrs. Walker began with Google. Soon I found myself looking at ancestry records and the like. I would never find her this way. So I did what I would have done in the third grade. I found a telephone book and I searched for Walker, Clara. Bingo! It was definitely the Clara Walker I was looking for. I recall her telling us about her husband and recognized his name. I wrote down her address and telephone number.
The following week, I sent Mrs. Walker a copy of The Angry Thunderstorm, along with a letter. Not sure if she would remember me, I explained that she had taught me in the third grade and that I remembered her fondly. I shared my memories of her class and then, I thanked her for dedication to her profession. I explained that, through her, I had developed a love of poetry and writing that had lasted throughout the years. The book that she was receiving was a direct result of how she touched my life and how that one year as her student had shaped my being.
A few days later, I received a letter in the mail. I knew right away who it was from. The perfect cursive handwriting said it all. The first words I read were, CONGRATULATIONS! CONGRATULATIONS! CONGRATULATIONS! The same enthusiasm she had shown in the classroom resounded in her handwritten note. She told me that she had shared the book with her friends and that they were interested in having a book of their own for the children in their lives. And...she asked if I would stop by for a visit.
Last week, after work, my son and I visited Mrs. Walker. She had invited approximately thirteen of her friends to her home and we had a private reading and an enjoyable evening full of conversation. It was such a privilege for my son, Ryan, who is in the sixth grade, to get to visit with my teacher. Believe me, he had plenty of questions for her.
Later that evening, on our way home, Ryan said, "Mom, you were lucky to have such a great teacher. Mrs. Walker is the nicest person I have ever met." Then it dawned on me...just as I had been in 1973, Ryan, too, had been touched by this wonderful woman. And...although she is retired from her profession, she will never cease to be a wonderful teacher!
P.S. - We hope to post pictures of our visit very soon!