The only light entering the room came through a narrow strip of window where the black construction paper taped to it did not quite reach the bottom. Even though 35 eighth graders were in the room there was silence save the scratchy male voice coming from the old record player…”If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence.”
Still gives me goosebumps to think of the last day of our literature study about Edgar Allen Poe. My teacher, Mrs. Humble, was somehow able to get each student interested in what we were reading and studying. At the beginning of the school year we reviewed the basic literary elements we would encounter. Several of the students had a difficult time keeping similes, metaphors, alliteration, etc. straight. She took the extra effort to write a poem that we all had to memorize that explained each one. I still know it and repeat it often now to my children, particularly when they are studying these.
“A simile is like a song
It’s as easy to remember
A metaphor makes soft white snow
Sifted sugar in December
A little alliteration
Lets the lesson linger longer
A rake that’s been personified
Slips and hurts its finger
Her crying caused a flood
Ka-boom! Kerplunk! Ka-thud!”
Mrs. Humble was definitely a southern lady. When I was asked to speak at my eighth grade graduation she made me practice in front of the class. “Honey, you need to speak slower and louder. Remember to enunciate your words clearly. There will be many people in the audience who won’t be able to understand your Yankee accent unless you practice more.”
After eighth grade I lost touch with Mrs. Humble for several years. I went to college, got married, and had a couple of kids. One day as I cleaned out an old box I came upon that simple poem she wrote. I started thinking about Mrs. Humble and decided to send her a Christmas card. Was she ever delighted! She had retired after teaching for 30 some-odd years and not once (NOT ONCE!) had she ever received a thank-you card from one of her students. I’m sure there were many, like me, who just hadn’t thought about it. We’ve kept in touch ever since, mostly exchanging Christmas cards. One year while we visited my folks back in Georgia during Christmastime she came to visit bearing gifts for each girl. They still treasure them.
This past Christmas she sent a card telling me I had not put enough information into our Christmas card and the pictures were to little. She wanted to see closeups of all the kids. I’ve been meaning to write her back. A couple of weeks ago I remembered that her birthday is May 31st. I think I’ll send her a surprise package with updates, pictures, and flowers. She deserves it!
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