Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Well, That Was Morose

Which is what happens when your wife is out of town, and you eat all your meals standing up. One of my ex-students -- yes; one who went on to *graduate school* -- said that research exists that says a majority of people can remember the names of all their teachers, from the earliest on through college. That does not mean you are fondly remembered. But you are remembered.

I attempted the exercise. She was correct. The favorite of those I remember taught me Creative Writing my senior year at Andrew Lewis High School in Salem, Virgina. Her name was Bertha K. Fisher, an old maid built like one of Mel Gibson's wingmen from Braveheart.

Bertha K. Fischer. She advised me that trying to make a career as a writer was not a good idea, but that I should certainly keep writing, if only for the fun of it. Her approval meant something because of her legendary fierceness, her impatience with .....

My God, what was she not impatient with? She had a nickname: Grendel.

Years later when I was working at Atlanta magazine I came back to Salem and brought her offerings, i.e, allowing her to hear me brag a little about how well I was doing. (And I thought I was doing well. Start out working class, and everything is new and wonderful and prideful. No irony here.)

She was pretty damn old. She was convinced I was working at the Atlantic Monthly. I did not disabuse her. I was kind to both of us.

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