A boy named Ray wrote, ”Best of luck to a really sweet and serious kid. Don’t tell anyone but I love you.”
(Bet he wrote that in all the girls’ yearbooks.)
Then there was this one from a boy named John:
“To a really nice kid. Don’t forget Chorus and A Cappella and our other fun experiences.”
Like the way we secretly held hands sometimes between our two sections, Tenor and Alto? He was a skinny kid with glasses but he did have a certain…. something. We made out once behind the two-ton velvet curtain on the stage in the auditorium.
Girls wrote more heartfelt things:
“I wish you all the happiness in the world,” said one: “Never forget Gym Class ha ha!” said another, and who could forget Gym in that era when there literally were no sports for girls, when some of us spent the whole hour pretending we had our periods so we could sit in the stands and do homework.
But was the inscription written by the teacher I had for senior English is what really made a difference in my life, though not at the time:
“Please keep writing! “I expect to be reading your articles one of these days!” wrote Miss Shea whose picture I here append.
This stunned inscription when I came upon it 15 years after graduation, because I had totally forgotten I ever dreamed of writing. When I was in college I wanted to be a college professor; in my twenties I wanted nothing more than to teach forever; and as I was turning 30 I had my eye on Divinity School.
By that time I had left the classroom and was tending two babies.
This one day the two babies were napping and having scoured both the high chair, the booster seat, and every available surface in the kitchen, I had gone to sit by the sunny widow in the upstairs study.
From that vantage point it was easy for my gaze to fall on the tall bookshelf across the room, on whose top shelf rested my old high school yearbook.
I fetched it down and read all these scrawled benedictions, as they now seem to me.
Ray liked me enough to lie and say he loved me, Linda and Elaine wished me the best and maybe John maybe knew as well I did that that was one delicious ten-second adventure we had behind those musty curtains.
And Miss Shea? Miss Shea had done what all good teachers do: She had seen something in me and named it.
So let’s send up a prayer for all the teachers who noticed us and our little talents, whether got the chance to write in our yearbooks or not.
the Dance Band