Every night before I go to sleep, I say my prayers. It’s been my habit as long as I can remember, even back to the age of four! Mostly I pray for peace. Oh Lord let it come soon all over your world! But my prayers always end in a series of “thank yous” to the giver of life and all that comes with it. Sometimes my list of things to be grateful for is so long that I fall asleep before I get to amen.

Today I am feeling gratitude for every English teacher I ever had. In my school system which is Westside Community Schools, aka, District 66 here in Omaha, I had some of the finest English teachers who ever practiced the craft. There were Sarol Wiltse in seventh grade, Sid Dunn in the eighth (and we’re friends on Facebook!), Ed Mansur, Don Kolterman, Bob Dornacker and Richard Bock through the final four years. All of them stressed spelling, grammar, punctuation and the nuts and bolts of the language. But they also taught us to write: to compose, to narrate a story, to explain a concept, to argue a point, to express ourselves. I will always be grateful for what they imparted to me, which is a love of the language put down for others to enjoy.

I have a younger sister who had many of those teachers as well. (Most of my sisters had them in fact!) She is the same sister I used to torture with my new found writing skills when I sent her own letters home from summer camp back to her with corrections marked. It still makes me smile to remember how imperious I was about spelling. Okay, I still am. (Sidebar: Please folks! Remember the difference between its and it’s, your and you’re; there, their and they’re. They mean different things!)

That's Sally working the field on her tractor.

That’s Sally working the field on her tractor.

That same sister whose name is Sally is now a published author. (I encourage you to buy her book, “Windows in the Loft.” I may be slightly prejudiced but she is very good. And her grammar and spelling are above reproach.) I am so proud of her! And I’m grateful for the person she is today. She has overcome so much and she is living a life that suits her to a T. She also has a wonderful blog where she chronicles her adventures living on a farm in eastern Colorado. You can follow her at Read it. It’s authentic Sally.

That's Sally on her horse.

That’s Sally on her horse.

And so I have started this blog. I have found the short items I post on Facebook to be good practice, but over the last months I have experienced the strong desire to stretch myself and really work on writing at more length. Compiling stories of people I have known from years ago and people who have been part of my journey in recent days, is my way of loving the world one person at a time. I think they are stories worth sharing because the people are worth knowing. People like Ms. Wiltse, Mr. Dunn, Mr. Mansur, Mr. Kolterman, Mr. Dornacker and Mr. Bock…and Sally. For each of them, I am grateful.

One thought on “Gratitude

  1. I too am grateful for so many good English teachers. Mr. Mansur scared me half to death. I treasure the person Mr. Kolterman was; he took me under his wing and nurtured me beyond the responsibility of the job. I aim to give like he did to my own students.


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