Back at my childhood home last week, I found something else. As I wrote in before, my mother saved EVERYTHING! She served as Clerk of our community church for 33 years and saved all the church records and bulletins from special programs and services. She kept the programs for every funeral held at the church and all the funerals she attended elsewhere. Well guess what I found? The memorial service program for my favorite childhood teacher, Mrs. Johnson, my second grade teacher at Parkersville Elementary School! I LOVED Mrs. Johnson!
Second Grade was quite a transitional year for me. I attended three different schools in three different states. I started out at the school on Stewart Air Force Base in Tennessee where my dad was stationed…just a week or two, though, because we were reassigned to Florida, where I attended most of second grade. We (Mom, siblings and I) left Florida after eight months because of our troubles due to my father’s struggle with alcoholism. It was an abrupt departure with many mixed emotions . . . forbidden to be spoken of.
It was the last couple of weeks of school year when I arrived in South Carolina. Mrs. Johnson was my teacher and she was very kind. The entire school was in a flurry of final preparations for the school-wide end-of-year program where each grade had a song or dance presentation. And how lucky for me that my teacher played the piano! I’d never seen anyone play one up close and my eyes were always glued to Mrs. Johnson’s fingers as they magically frolicked across the keys.
I remember the melody and dance steps to one of the songs where girls wore brightly colored skirts of paper flowers…
Step front, back 1-2-3
Step front, back, and-a 1-2-3!
And although I wasn’t able to participate in the program, I didn’t feel left out or isolated. Mrs. Johnson and the warmth of Parkersville welcomed me. It was like the Balm in Gilead for my hungered soul.