Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ciao, California!

I found out that one of my favorite teachers from high school, Mr. Near, is dying. He has a few weeks left to live. I visited him on Saturday, and realized how terrible goodbyes are -- for all the goodbyes I have said in the past few weeks, this was the only true goodbye.

Mr. Near once said:
When I first started teaching, I substituted one day at my old junior high. One of my former teachers, upon seeing me and realizing I had become a teacher, actually said to me, "Oh, I always thought you could have done so much more." I guess in her mind I hadn't "done my best." And, maybe by her standard I hadn't. I would suggest that you find a different standard because I wouldn't trade my life or career for anyone's.
So, Mr. Near, thank you. People underestimate the importance of a well-taught class -- how the subject matter can grip you and run in circles through your head. People underestimate the importance of a teacher with a booming voice and a stern stare -- how one glance tells you that something wonderful is being taught. You taught me that a life well-lived is not determined by the number of times your name pops up on Google or the size of your bank account.

As for that booming voice of yours, I was at a loss for words (which I admit, is rarely the case) when I saw that it had become a raspy whisper on Saturday. I miss your voice.

I bid California farewell tonight. After I get off the plane tomorrow morning, I still won't know where I'm going in the next few years.

But as Mr. Near taught me, we might not have the future -- so live now, live hard, love now, and love hard. Mommy, Daddy, and Kathy -- thank you so much for a ridiculous past 18 years.

Miss Couturable
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