By Lynn Moncus
Although I was not privileged to be a parent, I was most fortunate to be a teacher and to have so many wonderful students through the years. As a teacher, I always drew a magic line between the students and me to let them know that we were student and teacher instead of close friends. That line disappeared later, and in many instances we became very close friends.
Margaret Lee Elliott Hoffman, THS Class of 1962, passed away In Phoenix this week and is being mourned by many of her classmates, friends, and former teachers. She and this former teacher became very close friends through the years and corresponded weekly with each other. She kept me apprised of her hopes, dreams, accomplishments, and a few problems and played a major role in my life. She taught me much about the politics and government of Arizona as she explained her job in the Solicitor General’s office When either of us happened to be a little low, the other usually felt the pressure and would call as well as write.
Margaret Lee was the first person to get through on the telephone when I was vacationing in the hospital in Amarillo and called every day for quite a while after I came home. When she was hospitalized the last time, I called her every day until she was no longer able to use the telephone. The last visit we had was most pleasant because she was sounding stronger than she had in several days and was able to laugh that wonderful, warm laughter for which she was so well known. Having that last visit to remember is most comforting because it will remain permanently engraved, and the reports of her suffering will fade as time passes.
Several of her classmates have stopped by the coffee table to talk about our friend and to remember some of the good times we had together so very many years ago. Each one showed the pain caused by the loss of a friend, and each one let me know that we are all now good friends. Not only has that magic line disappeared, but the vast age difference of ten years has disappeared as well. Several mentioned how very old I seemed to them back then, and I reply that they were very young to me then and will always remain that way in my memory despite their dying their hair gray and adding a few lines to their faces.
Being a teacher is just one of the most privileged professions in life. Not only do we have the opportunity to help the young people, but we also have the honor of becoming friends with many as we grow older. Those of us who had the chance to teach in our home county and town are among the most fortunate of teachers because we have been privileged to know the parents and grandparents of our students and can later know the children and grandchildren. We can gather to remember the good times and can help each other through the bad times.
Although I have known Margaret Lee all her life, I had her as a student only 50 years ago. All of us are better for having known and loved her. She will be missed, but we will retain our memories and will keep her alive as we recall those good days. Just remember her laughter and know that she never really left home or the good feelings about our town and school.