They say we die twice -- once when our bodies give out, and again the last time our name is spoken aloud.
My high school English teacher was the first woman I had ever heard go by the title "Ms." I was a high school freshman in 1979, in a small mill town in southern Maine. Ms. Sullivan was tall, angular, smart, independent, kind of cranky, and gave no f$&ks -- I loved her.
We all giggled about the term "Ms." when we were arrived from Junior High. And here I am, all these years later, remembering and writing about her. And yes, I said her name aloud as I wrote.
Several months ago I went searching for her contact information so I could thank her for being a thought leader to me. I've been a marching activist for 30 years, with her to thank. I learned that she was active in the state teachers' union, and that she did some community service related to her love of literature. I also learned another thing.
I was too late.
I would love to have asked her the back story about her early adoption of "Ms."
Who do you hold in high esteem?
A mentor? Grandparent? Chill and steady Uncle Bill, who taught you to parallel park? A moms night out "colleague" who has been listening, laughing, and struggling along beside you for the last 8 years?
Want a gift of honor to commemorate a loved one and their impact on you? I have just the thing! Gather some folks to discuss your memories and feelings. It may be a person, a school, that old Plymouth that Uncle Bill taught you to park. So many details can only be captured with oral histories. All the details are HERE.