Dear Ms. Krupich,
Well, hello, there. It’s been a very long time. You were my 5th grade teacher. You taught the class in which I met my lifelong friend, Kelly. I remember, back then, thinking you were so mean and that I got such a bad teacher for 5th grade. Kids are really atrocious at that age, I commend you for choosing to deal with them.
In reality, you were an excellent teacher. I learned a great deal in your class, but most importantly, I remember how you pushed me, how you challenged me. I am certain I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but looking back, having someone recognize that I could do more than I was doing; that I could do it on my own, was life changing. You used to send me to the library, on my own, when the class was working on something I had finished or something that was too easy for me and you’d make me get a book to read. It had to be a challenging book, nothing too easy for me.
I think I read more that year than any other year of schooling.
But I also learned to work productively on my own. And I’m sure it didn’t hurt my future choice of career to have someone insist that boredom wasn’t possible when a library is near. I still believe that, by the way.
Fifth grade was also the year I won the spelling bee. It also happened to be the year my brothers won as well, but this is more about me. You encouraged that and rooted for me and I won in our class and then against all the other 5th graders in the school. Because you pushed me.
I’m grateful, all these years later, that you were strict and firm, that you forced me to work up to my potential, rather than up to the standards defined for me. I’m sorry if I was a pain. I hope I wasn’t. If you remember me at all, I hope that you remember a smart, well-read little girl who worked hard for you. I hope you remember the little girl who met her best friend in your class. I hope you remember the little girl who joined, after your encouragement, Odyssey of the Mind, to further improve her intellect.
I remember that you wore a lot of red. Maybe that’s not even true, but in my mind, you always wore red. I remember that you always had painted fingernails. I remember that you seemed so old, but were probably about the age I am now. I remember that my mother always really liked you. And that she wanted to make you a bookmark (cross stitch, maybe?) as a teacher gift but that she never finished it. I am willing to bet that she still has that half finished bookmark tucked away somewhere.
You’ll never get it, but you should know that you were meant to have it. I think it had an apple on it.
I would love to run into you again someday, to reconcile the woman, the teacher, with what I remember. If I ever do, I’ll buy you a cup of coffee. And a bookmark. Seems I owe you…
Thank you for being part of my life,
(to see why I am doing this, read here)