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Mrs. Ellis

2013/09/21

Inspiration from MamaKat.  Love her writing prompts.  Here it is:

Write a post about your third grade teacher.

We moved from the coastal area of Hampton Roads, VA, to the rural area of Beaverdam, VA (Hanover County) in the middle of 3rd grade.  That was also the year that I was “bussed” across town in Hampton to a school in another area as part of the city’s effort to de-segregate.  It was 1973, and many social experiments were taking place.  The school I attended was new, and all of the classrooms for each grade were in a quad space which was very open.  The classes were separated by walls that didn’t reach the ceiling.  A lot of the learning was self-directed, not my strong suit.  I don’t feel like I learned much there, because when I went to Beaverdam, someone there was shocked I didn’t know my multiplication tables.  And Beaverdam wasn’t exactly cutting edge.

The absolute blessing of going to Beaverdam in the middle of 3rd grade was Mrs. Ellis, my teacher.  She looked like no one I’d seen before.  She was African American, with very light skin & big freckles.  She styled her hair in kind of a bob and dressed very nice.  She was gentle, kind and a good teacher.  I remember one of the first days this boy named Charles Dabney was trying to get my attention.  I was a little afraid, but he wasn’t menacing at all.  Later I knew him well and he was a wonderful person.  The only specific thing I remember about 3rd grade was that first day & Mrs. Ellis gently chastised Charles for giving me this unwanted attention.  I also remember cutting myself with the metal end of a spiral notebook by accident.  It was painful.

About 10 years later my sister started teaching at Beaverdam School, and became friends with Mrs. Ellis “Loretta”.  She was always Mrs. Ellis to me.  My sister told her she was my favorite teacher ever, and I used to see her when I would visit Lynn at school.  She retired a while back.

It’s nice to remember Mrs. Ellis.  She was one of those people who I remember as a little spot of peace in a changing, confusing world.

Here is picture I took of Penny tonight.

Image

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