If you happened to read yesterday's blog entry, I mentioned I had a happy surprise. Here she is -- MISS SIMPSON!
As usual, I need to TELL A STORY to explain the surprise.
In November, I paid a visit to St. Lawrence Senior School to do some writing workshops. I was working with Grade Six classes. I like to finish my workshops with a writing exercise and because I'm super-interested in the link between writing and memory, I asked the students to remember being five years old.
While they were writing up their memories, I circulated in the library (shout out to Miss Wendy, the St.Lawrence Senior librarian!) and read what the students were writing. When one wrote about memories of being in a kindergarten class with a teacher named Miss Simpson, I didn't think much about it. But when I continued circulating and discovered that about the half the class was writing about Miss Simpson, I GOT GOOSEBUMPS (goosebumps happen to me when I am in the proximity of A GOOD STORY).
So... here's what happened next. I told the class I was going to write about Miss Simpson in that day's blog entry. Then, one of the teachers said she knew Miss Simpson and that she'd tell her to read the blog. And then... (warning, there's a lot of AND THEN's in this story!!), a day or two later, I got a lovely email from a young woman named Jodi. Jodi told me she had volunteered long ago in Miss Simpson's classroom and that Miss Simpson had read the blog and was really touched that her former students still remembered her so warmly. Jodi finished her email by adding one more detail: she was Miss Simpson's daughter!
But the story's not over yet!
I phoned Miss Simpson and we had a lovely chat -- and agreed that one day we must get together with Miss Wendy, the librarian I mentioned before. Miss Simpson also told me her son teaches at Sunshine Academy and that she heard I'd be visiting there this January. But to be honest, I kind of forgot that part of the story.
And then... yesterday, when I arrived at Sunshine, Miss Susan, the lovely librarian there, told me there was going to be a surprise for me. (I wondered if it would be FOOD!) But it was better than food!!
I was just starting my workshop with Mr. P's class when a lovely woman walked in and said hello in a way that indicated she knew me. I said hello back -- I tried not to let on I had no idea who she was. And then she told me, "I'M MISS SIMPSON!"
So, I hope the students from St. Lawrence Senior are reading today's blog entry. That's because I asked Miss Simpson if she had a message for you -- and she did. She said, "You touched me immensely. Teaching kids is my life. That's why [even though I am retired], I still go into schools whenever I can. And I'm coming to your grad!"
For Mr. P's students, who may also be reading today's blog entry, I asked Miss Simpson if she had a memory of Mr. P she might share with you, and she did. Here it comes: "He used to have an imaginary friend named Saintsouvel. One day, we had to stop to let him out of the car!"
There are many reasons why this surprise made me so happy. I got to meet Miss Simpson and her son (and get a message from her daughter). And it's all because of STORIES. And I get to pass on Miss Simpson's message to her former students who still love her, and also her message to her son's students, who seem to love their teacher too! So, today, I celebrate stories and teachers and memories ... and happy surprises! Sometimes, we get to be part of stories!! Thanks to all of you who helped make this one happen!!
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wow, that's Miss Simpson? she isn't just lovely, she. is. Beautiful.
Monique sometimes i come here to read your blog just to breath the pure air. As miss Simpson says, your energy and your enthusiasm are a true gift. Along with these go your talent and your extraordinary dedication to the creativity of young persons. There's always so much "good" packed into your blog; it sparkles with vitality, without ever becoming saccharine or pollyannish.
may we all retire to become as drop-dead gorgeous as miss Simpson.
My name is Hannah Meehan. I go to William Latter, I'm in miss Cindy's class 5\6 immersion. In our English class we are reading your book junk yard dog. it is so amazing it leaves a cliff hanger and you just want to keep reading!! one question do u travel to different places to "spy" like schools, stores, depaneurs etc. like go for fun to get ideas???
Hi Hannah, Thanks for your message. I am glad you are enjoying studying Junkyard Dog with Miss Cindy. Also, I hope you are enjoying your March break. The answer to your question is YES YES YES! Everywhere I go, I spy -- and I bring my little notebook so I can write down interesting DETAILS. I also try to listen for GREAT STORIES about QUIRKY PEOPLE. All the best and thanks for staying in touch!