Gardeners of mind

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 15, 2002

Some of my favorite people are teachers.

I really appreciate those generous and caring souls that work through busy class days, day after day for nine months of the year in our schools. They keep planting seeds of knowledge, creativity and wisdom, hoping those seeds will eventually take root and blossom.

My high school biology teacher, June Odom Stinson, is one of our local retirees this year. (June, you can't possibly be old enough to retire…)

Once upon a time Miss Odom helped one basically unscientific klutz grasp the mysteries of science much better than she ever would have otherwise. She made it interesting…even fun. (She also had this marvelous trick of spinning her lower arm 360 degrees at her elbowamazing!

Speaking of amazing, Mrs. Bobbie Jean Cumbie put in an impressive 39 years in classrooms all over Butler County before her retirement this year. What a positive influence she was, and is, on her many, many children' and her fellow teachers. Miss' Bobbie Jean has plenty of knowledge and know-how, but more importantly, she's never lost her enthusiasm or compassion for those in her classroom.

Then there was my dear piano teacher, the late, great Mrs. Chambliss. How I must have tried that kind lady's patience. Oh, I was talented enough, just dreadfully lazy about practicing.

After three and a half years, we mutually agreed I should give up the lessons. Mrs. Chambliss' efforts were not all in vain. I learned how to read and better appreciate music from my visits to that little house on College Street. That's a lesson to cherish.

Sometimes teachers wonder if they are making a difference. The answer is YES.

FDA grad Jami Barlow, currently a student at Huntingdon, just completed a tough French III course. She's thinking about minoring in the subject. "My French teacher at college told me, I don't know who your high school French teacher was, but he/she did a great job,'" Jami says.

One of her high school classmates, Susanna Coleman, is studying this summer in France.

"I'm still working on my novel about the French RevolutionI've had three college instructors in French…but the two years I spent with you got me where I am today," Jami remarks.

That high school French teacher, who so often despaired through her days with these gals, was indeed moi.'

Many thanks go to MY foreign language instructors, Dr. Sherry of TSU, and Madame Skelton and Senora Hartley of GHS, who all taught me to love the beauty and romance of language.

So keep fighting the good fight, all of you gardeners of the mind and spirit. If you plant, some seeds will grow.