Fri, Aug 31st - 12:34PM
A friend from the past
In 1983, while I was in my Junior year in high school, I was struggling with problems both in the school and at home. While I became stronger and was fitting in by being involved on the track team, there were many times when I just wanted to give up on life. I was taking a Chemistry class and each of the first three marking periods, even though I tried hard, I was always a couple of points from passing. Robert M., my teacher, was always there for me, helping me to get my grades up and being there to talk to me. Even though I never told him of problems I was facing, he knew things were going on and he encouraged me. Through his persistance, I was able to get a passing grade on the last marking period and I passed the final with an 80. His belief in me helped me resolve the issues I was facing and I became a stronger person. In the middle of my senior year, my parents moved from Long Island and I went on with my life. I realized that I had never thanked my teacher, who I considered to be a friend. For a while I was never sure if I would ever get a chance to thank him since I hardly get back to Long Island and I did not know what his address was. However, this winter I got the chance. I spent several weeks searching the Internet and I found his address on whitepages.com. There was the small chance that this was not the same person or that he had moved. I took the chance and wrote a letter to him.
This is the letter I wrote:
Dear Mr. M.:
I found your address on the Internet site http://whitepages.com. I am hoping that you are the Mr. M. who taught high school chemistry at CHS.
Mr. M., you may not remember me, since you interacted with many students during your teaching career. My name is Lois Elliott and I was a student in your Chemistry Regents Class in my junior year 1981-1982.
I am writing this letter to give you a thank you that is long over-due.
You were one of the best teachers in both High School and College that I ever had. I was having a very difficult time in Chemistry and you took the extra time to help me pass the class. I really appreciate that. I was having some personal struggles during my junior year and you encouraged me not to give up.
In high school I was a shy and quiet person, with a very low self-esteem. Well your confidence in me changed as a person. It did not happen overnight, it was progressive. Here are some examples:
Just before I turned 21 I joined the United States Army. I went through the ROTC program at college and was an officer in the New York Army National Guard through 1996.
I graduated from SUNY Brockport in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.
In 1993, I married my husband who I met while I was in the military. We have two girls Mary and Marissa.
If you remember me as a shy person, I am now the Union Representative for my shift.
I am currently taking online college classes through the University of Phoenix. I should have me Masters of Business in July or Augist. I am looking to get into a management position at work. I also plan to teach online.
These are just some of the changes in my life, Mr. M. I would not be here if it was not for your encouragement. I never got a chance to thank you at CHS, since my family moved in the middle of my senior year.
I had written this in the middle of April and mailed it out the same day. Even though I was not expecting a response back since there was the chance that he never received the letter, I did hope that he would get it and be touched by what I wrote. Several months passed and I was once again busy with my life with college, work and family that I gave the letter a passing thought, just wondering if he ever received it.
This past week was a stressful week because of union/employee issues. I had finished work on Wendsday night feeling frustrated and debating whether to resign from the union rep position. Thursday morning August 30, 2007, I went to pay bills in the morning. When I got home, the mail had already been delivered. There was a letter with no return address, but it had a post-mark from Long Island.
Thankfully I opened it because I get a lot of junk mail, such a chain letters-which have no return address. When I saw it was a letter, I glanced at the bottom of it, thinking it was from one of my sisters, who still live in Long Island. It was from Mr. M!
Here is what he wrote:
It was a great feeling to receive your letter and the compliments you gave me were well appreciated. Only special people take the time to say thanks. Obviously you have matured and if I had any part in that I'm grateful. Congrats on all your accomplishments. Often shy high schoolers become the best leaders, wives and mothers. I was the same as you in high school.
I've retired from CHS since 2003 and I immediately became a new career as an adjunct professor at SCC and DU. It's still enjoyable to teach youngsters like you were but also older students are added to the mix and make a more interesting class. I have plenty of free time for my hobbies and my family. I've got the best of lives and I hope the same for you.
God has his own timing! This letter could not have come at a better time. I was ready to give up and Mr. M came through for me once again. I have the confidence to face the issues at work. Even though it has been several months since I wrote him, it was God's intention that I get the letter yesterday.