Once again, this teacher had a great week in which she was greeted and treated by former students. Of course, I am privileged to see some former students almost every day, but those from last week do not live in the area.
One afternoon while sipping coffee, I looked up to see a family enter Del’s and realized that the woman was one of my first students at Forrest in 1955, Joyce Mullins Cone. She greeted me very warmly and reminded me of that long ago year as well as the privilege she gave me of allowing her son to enter one of my classes at NMSU. She then asked if I would be at the table for a few minutes because LaVeta Vansickle Hergenseter, another Forrest student, would be arriving.
Yes, I had plenty of time because I hadn’t seen LaVeta since the last day of school in 1956 and was eager to see her again after all these years. We also exchanged warm greetings amid laughter and chatter. She reminded me of the time I was called to the girls’ locker room after a girls’ basketball game to settle a fight between her and a girl from the opposing team. How well I remember walking into that room, looking up to that tall, heavy girl and down at little LaVeta and wondering how things were going to turn out. Fortunately, the Forrest girls were easy to herd out of the room, but the large ball player explained several things to me and promised to sweep the streets with me after the boys’game. That didn’t happen, but I certainly never forgot the incident.
Later in the week, Pam Montgomery Batson called to ask if I would join her and her husband, Wesley, for dinner. An affirmative answer was immediate. Although Pam and I have seen each other several times during the years, she was among the first students I was privileged to teach when I started teaching English at Tucumcari Junior High in 1956. I was also privileged to teach her and a number of others again during some of the high school years here. She, Wesley, and I had a most pleasant visit over dinner and recalled many of the happy times we had during those years here. She still has the wonderful laughter she had then and kept reminding me of that young girl who could be stricken with a fit of giggles in mid class.
As I continue to say, a teacher’s life is a charmed life. I can’t think of another profession that would have been so fulfilling or so rewarding. Those rewards continue throughout life and certainly give each of us something to look forward to. I can never thank those students enough for all they did for me and all they taught me during those early years in the teaching profession.