The charms on her bracelet shook while she wrote the assignments on the blackboard. Mrs. McNeal taught eleventh grade English. The punks in the class used to tease her relentlessly. The more they teased the more her hand shook. She was a timid woman, which made her an easy target. They thought it was funny. I thought it was cruel. Mrs. McNeal was a small, soft spoken woman who cared deeply for her students. I remember I once wrote a gritty essay pouring out my teenage angst on the page . The next day in class she asked me to stay after; she was deeply concerned about my well being. I suspect she’d been worried about me all night. Prior to that day I'd never met a middle or high school teacher that seemed to care. She quickly became my favorite teacher.
I was an average student. Nothing spectacular because I never really applied myself. I know that due to fact the teachers never failed to mention it when the grade reports rolled out. But I always did well in English. Thanks to Mom dragging me to the library for all those summer reading programs, I actually liked to read. The rest came easy. Mrs. McNeal wasn't the first teacher to encourage me to write. Problem was, I didn't want to write. If I wrote stuff down then people would know what was going on inside my head. And let me tell ya, it's a scary place that brain of mine. I was always afraid a few men in white coats would show up and tell me we were going for a ride in the country.
Flash forward nearly a quarter of a century and here I am, sitting in another English class surrounded by students who appear to be twelve years old. Now that my two children are nearly raised it is time for me to figure out what I want to do now that I'm grown up. Until I do, I am taking general education courses at the community college with plans to transfer at some point to a larger university. Who knows, maybe I’ll major in English? I wouldn't mind seeing the countryside. I hear it's nice there.