Today, walking out after the graduation ceremony, a hand reached out and it was one of my professors, my anatomy and physiology teacher. She said, "I knew you'd do it!" I was so surprised that I did not know how to answer. Plus there was a wave of people behind me anxious to leave the hot building, so I didn't dare stop to figure out the words I wanted to say to her.
Sitting here tonight, after the ceremony, after lunch to celebrate with Tim and my sister and brother in law, we came home and got to work. We worked for several hours on an apartment, and then came home to work in the yard and putting flowers in the heavy concrete urns, weedeating, setting out solar lights, killing weeds, sweeping, thinking, I figured out what I wanted to say to that teacher: "I was not sure that I would survive that A and P class, and I worked like crazy, and it was terrifying, because I knew that I could not afford to fail the class. Literally. And when I made it out of the class, with my B, I knew that I would make it too. Your class was my turning point. Thank you for your encouragement." I will send her a card.
There's another teacher I have to thank too. I did not even realize. Today, Tim and I had to go to Walmart. I needed yet another antibiotic for this awful, awful cold. We were walking in the store when we ran into a woman who once told me, at school, that she was there, because of me. That she loved to read my articles, and those articles made her want to be a better writer, and she began to take classes at JCC. It was quite a surprise to hear that, that I had impacted the life of a virtual stranger, and it made my day on that winter day.
So we greeted each other, and I said, "Are you still taking classes?" and she said that she had taken a composition class with Mr. T --------. I smiled. "I like him a lot," I said. "He was funny, and such a nice, nice person." And she said in her heavily accented English, "Oh, he talk about you all the time. He very proud of you." And she smiled broadly. "Really?!!!" I said, too surprised to say anything more. And she said "Oh, he all the time talking about you to class." The idea that a teacher would be proud of me had never once occurred to me, but I need to send him a note too.
Someone asked me if I cried at graduation. I suppose I'm going to sound like a hard hearted hannah when I say that I did not. Not even a little. I am so excited at what comes next that it never occured to me that something was ending here. I felt the anticipation of a new beginning. Like the song goes, 'Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.'