Influential Teachers, Classmates

Readers share stories of who influenced them … and how.

| September/October 2009

For the Heart of the Home section for the September/October issue, we asked readers to share their memories of inspirational teachers and/or classmates. 

Siblings Inspired Each Other

Though we were not twins, my brother, Charles, was my classmate for 15 years. He began school in 1928 in kindergarten, although back then it was called primer. In those days, primer students were expected to learn to read, write and do most of what isn’t taught until first grade now. 

Charles brought his reader home every day, and Mother struggled with helping him. He didn’t talk until he was 2, and reading was difficult for him. I, however, learned quickly while hovering over the two of them. 

The next year, when I was 4, my mother took me to the school and told the teacher, Miss Erma, that I could read. Miss Erma tested me, and I exceeded her expectations, so she told my mother she was going to put me in first grade with Charles. 

I was small and a little scared, so I was happy that Charles would be with me. By the time we got to high school, I had lost my shyness. While Charles excelled in math, I did much better in reading. 

When graduation day neared, Charles was named valedictorian, and I was named salutatorian. Charles teased me a lot, and I’ll admit I was a little jealous, but more than anything, I was very proud of him. He had taken to math like a duck to water, and those A+ grades pulled him ahead of me. 

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