Thursday, November 26, 2009


In my early elementary days I dreaded walking through the doors of school. I was an introvert and school was difficult for me. I was placed in a low-achieving reading group, and even at that age I felt a little shame about being separated from the brighter kids. I also had a slight speech impediment, which made it difficult to pronounce my th’s, my S’s, and I couldn’t say the word yellow, which is a real detriment in the second grade because we frequently read the Curious George books, and that damn man in the yellow hat gave me fits. Why couldn’t the bastard have name like Ray, Earl, or Jim Bob? I missed a lot of recesses because I had to work with a speech therapist.

I didn't really feel comfortable with school until my 4th-grade year when a teacher named Mrs. Brust changed my life. I had great teachers prior to that year, but none were quite like Mrs. Brust. My memory cheats me since it's been 30 years since I was last in her classroom, but I do remember the following:

  • I remember her being tall and gangly.
  • I remember her being a bit like Julia Childs
  • I remember that she always wore a big smile.
  • I remember that she laughed a lot.
  • I remember her being a bit of a scattered brain.
  • I remember that she loved telling stories.
  • I remember she loved hearing stories.
  • I remember she loved books.
The following are the most important things I remember about her class:

  • I remember feeling like the most important person in the world when I talked to her..
  • I remember searching our classroom library for my next book to read. Mrs. Brust would approach and say, "I know just the book for you." Then she would guide me to the book, pull it off the shelf, and hand it me. I would hold it like a gift as she told me all about the book, the one that was perfect for me.
  • I remember she parked a love of reading in me.
  • I remember she made me feel more confident.
  • I remember she embraced mistakes and imperfections and turned them into things of beauty.

On this Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for all those who knew what was best for me and who steered me in the right direction. What are you thankful for on this holiday?

Happy Thanksgiving!



JoAAAnna said...

I loved Mrs. Brust (4 years later) for being quirky and fun. She loved children and she gave us the most interesting "Creative Writing" assingments (several of which I still have). I remember once telling her in front of the classroom that the back of her skirt was unzipped!

Later, in my sixth grade year, that she lived across from the old Doctors Building in Ottawa and all of my classmates went to visit her.

I'm so happy that she provided so many good memories for you too. She was a great woman!

Jenni said...

Aw, I'm thankful for this post. It brought tears to my eyes and reminded me of all the wonderful teachers I had growing up.