Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Letter in the Tribune

Back in the old days, I had a few letters to editors published in comic books (dig out your 1978 The Rampaging Hulk #13 and your 1981 The Spirit #31, for example) and also in The Chicago Sun-Times (just set your microfiche reader to 21 October 1985). Now I have had one published in The Chicago Tribune.

Early last month, the Tribune put out a call for letters that paid tribute to a favorite teacher or neighbor or coach. I leapt at the opportunity to honor my favorite teacher, Mrs. Dolan, and I was elated when the editor notified me that they would be printing my letter. It was published in the newspaper on 29 December 2010. Here is what I wrote:

History was always my least favorite subject but yet the best teacher I ever had was Mrs. Dolan, my eighth-grade history teacher at Dever School back in the 1970s. She challenged me to live up to my potential, and the daily rigors of that endeavor were often tempestuous.

I kept in contact with Mrs. Dolan by mail after I graduated. I liked it when she sent me a wedding card comprising the text of Kipling's If.

Years later when I read of Mrs. Dolan's passing, I wrote a letter to her family explaining just how important that fine lady had been to me. I received an appreciative reply from Mrs. Dolan's daughter; what I wrote had been a revelation to the young ones who had known Mrs. Dolan as an excellent grandmother but had no inkling of her as a teacher.

I am now entering my thirty-first year as a math teacher. Thank you, Mrs. Dolan.