There have been a lot of my teachers in my long educational career that have struck a chord with me. Whether it was one in sixth grade who helped me write my first book, an a-z about friendship, to my college advisor who was the head set designer on Britney Spears’ movie, “Crossroads,” and Tom Cruise’s “Interview With A Vampire.”
Out of them all, it was Mrs. Thomas.
I knew of Mrs. Thomas before I had her as a teacher . Her daughter was my mom’s lawyer and her niece was one of my teachers in elementary school. She was an English/Literature teacher and when I got to high school, I didn’t have her my very first semester.
And I failed. Yes, I failed ninth-grade English.
English had always been one of my best subjects, so I got moved to her class for the second semester of ninth-grade and I ended up having an A in the second semester. Teachers always matter.
That next year, in my sophomore year of high school, I had her again for both semesters. I forgot what English it was. It might have been American Literature, but she brought out my love of writing. It was that year, towards the end of the school year, that my Granny died. She helped raise me and I found her dead that morning as I got up to get ready for school. Mrs. Thomas sent home my journal that we wrote in during class by my best friend in high school, telling me to write my feelings and let everything out.
That has pretty much stuck with me ever since.
While I didn’t have Mrs. Thomas for my junior or senior year of high school because she retired. And when I retook my first semester of freshman English my last semester of high school, I passed with a 99 – the highest grade in the class.
I went by a few times after high school to visit Mrs. Thomas and her husband, who was of my government and history teachers at the high school. Even though they retired, they still filled in as a sub when someone couldn’t be there.
After I graduated high school and graduated college, I interviewed Mr. and Mrs. Thomas as a part of a weekly feature at my first job (You can click here to read it). They were getting ready to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. I went to their house and sat down, talking with them for hours and Mrs. Thomas couldn’t have been prouder that I was a journalist and writing for a living. She was proud that I went back to college and studied English and Creative Writing for my minor.
Before I left, she hugged me, telling me that she was proud of me one last time. Not many people, especially people I admire, have told me that they were proud of me, so that meant a lot.
I saw her one more time after that, before I left my hometown and moved to metro-Atlanta.
So what’s the purpose of this blog post?
I found out this morning by looking at my Facebook feed that Mrs. Thomas passed away a few days ago and her funeral was held. I felt my heart break. She was an amazing woman. She was definitely one of my heroes.
R.I.P. Mrs. Thomas. <3