Ode to Mrs. Pollack

When I was in 5th grade my teacher, Mrs. Pollack, gave the class a creative writing assignment.  As a reward, the best would be displayed in a cabinet in the hall.  I do not really remember much about what I wrote.  Although, I do recall that I compared monarch butterfly orange to that of a pumpkin.  That comparison pleased Mrs. Pollack very much, and I was awarded first place.  As promised, my writing was placed in the glass cabinet for all who passed by to see.  However, she rewrote it in calligraphy on an orange butterfly-shaped piece of construction paper. The re-write was necessary because my handwriting was and still is atrocious.  Though Mrs. Pollack tried harder than anyone to improve my penmanship, her efforts in that area were for naught.

I was proud to have what I had written in view of all the students and teachers at my school!  Mrs. Pollack even invited my mom for a private viewing of the display.  But even more than this special honor, what I remember most, is when Mrs. Pollack removed the butterfly scrawled paper from the cabinet.  She gave the class some busy work, and then, asked me to help her take down the display.  I followed her down the empty hallway.  The echo of her heels clicking on the too shiny floor was the only thing that broke the eerie silence.  She opened the cabinet, removed the butterfly, and gently placed it into my ten-year-old hands. She then leaned in close, and whispered in my ear, and said, “Someday, you are going to be a writer”.    What I felt in that moment I cannot really say, but it felt true.

As the years passed I have heard Mrs. Pollack’s whisper again and again.  “Someday, you are going to be a writer.”  In my twenties, I dreamed of having my own column in the newspaper called “Chronicles From the Robinsnest”.  In my thirties, I attempted to write a book.  After 40 pages, life became too busy and I gave up on the project thinking someday I would get back to it.  In my forties, I wrote technical documents for seminars I was conducting for work.  And now in my fifties, I decided to begin a blog.

The mystery for me is this:  Am I a writer because I have a natural ability to link words together in a way that others might enjoy or learn from, or is it because a teacher placed a notion in my head when I was ten years old?  My belief is that I most likely would have found my words at some point, but would I have had the courage or confidence to put them out there for all to see?  The answer is impossible to know.  What I know is that Mrs. Pollack’s whispered words planted a seed.  The seed rooted deeply within me and has been germinating ever since.  As I write these words I feel the small sprouts of leaves bursting from within.  I feel the unstoppable momentum of something being born and I can hardly wait to see what grows!

Mrs. Pollack, I am a writer.  I am the author of technical documents and blog entries, and maybe someday, I will even finish the book I started so long ago.  Thank you for planting that seed, for believing in me, and inspiring me.  I am blessed.

Song of the Blog: Elusive Butterfly By Bob Lind  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKWpdEdAKGw

 

Me / 10 years old

Me / 10 years old

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© Gail Howarth and Living At The Lakehouse, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Gail Howarth and Living At The Lakehouse with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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