My Most Memorable School Teacher
Best Friends in Second Grade
At the age of 4, I lost a brother in a car crash. But being familiar with the sting of death at 4, did not prepare me any more for the loss that would soon come again.
Carol was my best friend. She had the shortest blonde, curly hair I'd ever seen on anyone except maybe a doll. She was skinny,but well dressed.
When we giggled, her eyes danced. When she smiled, her eyes twinkled. We helped each other with school work. We played together at recess. We were second grade school mates and told each other our secrets. At the end of the day we waited on the bleachers together for our bus to be called. We were becoming best friends at the speed only second graders can do.
Excited to see Carol the next day at school, we waved a reluctant goodbye and she went to get on her bus.
Losing My Best Friend
The next day at school, I got to my classroom, looked around but Carol wasn't there.
I asked the teacher if she might be sick. But then she called the class to order as though she didn't want to answer my question.
She broke it to the class. When Carol had gone out of the gym to get on her bus, she went in between two of them to go to the second set and one of the buses rolled and Carol was crushed between them.
Devastated, I thought I might like to go home but I didn't see that as option. I sat at my desk in disbelief and tried to focus on my school work but really I wanted to talk to my mom.
I didn't quite know how to ask my mother for money. They were collecting for flowers from the class. We weren't poor exactly, but money was just not an open-door subject at our house. My mother made all of our clothes and we didn't spend money on groceries really because we raised our own food. It seemed money just didn't change hands in front of me. I wasn't even sure what money was. I wondered if money for flowers might be considered "waste". I didn't know.
So when Mrs. Ponder, my second grade teacher at Doniphan Elementary, announced that she would be taking up a collection for flowers, I didn't quite know what to do.
I told Mom that night when she got home from work. I didn't ask her about the money. I figured if she had it, she would volunteer it, not realizing then that she didn't know they were taking a collection.
Meeting The Parents
The day of the funeral came and Carol's parents would be stopping by to speak with the class. The teacher would present them with the flowers and a card we had all signed.
Sensing my restlessness about the whole situation, Mrs. Ponder knew I was embarrassed that I had not contributed to such a worthy cause for my best friend, Carol. So when she heard the footsteps of Carol's parents drawing closer to our classroom door, she quickly called me to the front. She handed me the flowers and asked me to present them to Carol's brokenhearted parents.
I was never so proud. Gently, the parents reached down and took the flowers from me and thanked me for being Carol's good friend.
Mrs. Ponder, I'll never forget that kind act for my little curly blonde-headed friend with the giant brown eyes that danced in the sunlight at recess and held my hand during prayer at lunch. I'll never forget you let me present the flowers. I'll never forget the genuine gratitude the parents showed me because I presented them the bouquet for Carol.
A variety of color, but mostly golden blooms, the flowers reminded me of her golden blonde hair and the brown centers, her big brown eyes. Carol would have loved the flowers. Though hard to say goodbye, it made the farewell easier and I've never forgotten how my teacher, Mrs. Ponder, handled the situation and how her thoughtfulness influenced me to be kind to others. I'm forever in her debt.
The classroom was never the same without Carol, but saying goodbye to my bubbly friend was soothed by the thoughtful act of another that I've carried in my treasure chest of memories I hold dear.