(Note- featured photo, my sixth grade class, Haddon Elementary 1972 Bremerton Washington. Me to the right of the teacher)
I’ve been delighted at the response I’ve received from people I know when I have told them we were going to swing through Arkansas on this road trip to visit my 6th grade teacher.
My sixth grade teacher from 1971-1972.
A long time ago, but not so long ago in my memory. Just yesterday.
Everyone who hears this is first of all pleased but secondly fascinated that I am in touch with my sixth grade teacher.
The miracle of Facebook.
When you look back on your life there are periods that stand out more than others. Luckily for me I have very few bad memories, mostly good ones – and 1971-72 is one of my fondest. My sixth grade year. My favorite grade school teacher. All my friends together in the class.
I often watch little girls today at that tender age of eleven going on seventeen going on thirty. It’s sentimental to me. Still children but on the edge of adulthood. Still innocent, but pushing the boundaries. I remember sixth grade like this. So in the moment. No worries or cares. Full of joy, friendship, laughter, fun. Full of hope and excitement.
I moved the summer after my sixth grade year to a new school district. It took about a year but I eventually found my niche and enjoyed my junior high and high school years.
But sixth grade is forever emblazoned on my brain.
I remember the movie “Love Story”, The Osmonds and the Jackson Five. I remember Mark Spitz and the terrorist at the Munich Olympics. I remember Don McLean’s “American Pie”, Girl Scouts and The Brady Bunch. I remember Herbal Essence Shampoo and bell bottoms.
And through all of these memories is the central figure of my sixth grade teacher’s kind and caring face. His smile and patience and support not just for me at this launching point in my life but for each student in the class.
And that is why we took a detour off of Route 66 the past few days to come to Arkansas and see him and his wife in this beautiful area they have retired to.
Because it mattered. And the memories remain. That year. The year I grew up.