Last week, Sonny Conklin of Muleshoe called to invite his old teacher to have lunch with him and his sister, Kay Conklin Hagler, of Clovis. Of course, this teacher accepted the invitation and had a wonderful time visiting with those two former students who had helped me to begin my teaching career 57 years ago at Forrest.
As we ate and visited, we did much laughing and talking about that year and what experiences we remembered. The years slipped away as I began to see those two people as the teenagers in various classes I taught in 1955-56. They were both good students and were just a little mischievous, depending upon the occasion. I could see them entering the front door, climbing the stairs to the classrooms, and being seated in those rooms.
Although they didn’t really complain to me at that time, they surely were aware that I was a beginning teacher, and I can but imagine what they thought as I tried so hard to pretend that I knew something. I was semi-successful in the English classes and did an adequate job of bluffing my way through general science, but I was less than prepared to teach Algebra I and 11. We laughed as we recalled my limitations in the math area and my numerous trips to town to get help from my mentor here, Miss Bertha Parker.
Most of you are well aware that I enjoyed my long teaching career and certainly enjoyed the many students who suffered through my classes. Those kids from Forrest were just the right ones to get me off to a good start. They taught me far more than I taught them that year and certainly instilled the love of the teaching profession. Their antics prepared me for future events and gave me hints as to what to expect in the years ahead.
As we sat at the table, I felt more honored than I could have told those two former students–honored that they still remembered me after all these years and honored that we are now friends. When I asked their ages, Kay let me know that she is a little more than two years younger than 1, and Sonny is about five years younger. In 1955, the age difference was vast between teacher and student!
At that time, we had no idea what the future held for any of us and certainly did not take the time to think what we might be doing 57 years later. Those two “kids” reminded me of how very fortunate I was to begin my career at Forrest without saying a word about that subject, but by just taking the time to visit for a little while as we ate. What a treat!