"There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out." -Lou Reed

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Head in the Clouds


I had the most amazing Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Starr. Some of the moments of my time in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade fade in my memory, but not those of Kindergarten. At the time, we were living in Richmond Virginia, and I was attending Chickahominy Academy.

Aside from the funny name, Chickahominy will always be a perfect school in my memory because my one and only year there was spent in Mrs. Starr's classroom. Mrs. Starr was more than a teacher, she sought to find out who each of us as individuals were and cultivate the talents and dreams she found there. I can remember vividly the names of the other children in my class, because she talked about each of the other children in the room to all of us all the time. George is great at this, Melissa is wonderful at that. She made me believe I could do or be anything, and to have this as a beginning of school, my first year, was amazing. It was the best foundation a child could hope for.

One of my favorite memories of my year with her were random sunny days when she would gather up blankets and take us out on the lawn behind our classroom. I can remember it seemed that we took up all of the lawn, behind the whole school--in my five year old eyes, there were so many of us. Our instructions were simple: lay down and look up, and see what appeared in the clouds. She told us if we started out quietly, and just laid there, watching, we would soon see formations, pictures and shapes. We did as we were told. And sure enough, we started to see things. Someone would call out-A bunny! And then we would all look for it before the clouds shifted and we would see something else.

I learned through those days to see beauty in unexpected places and in the joy of small things. What better lesson is there than that?

I kept in touch with Mrs. Starr for many years, all the way into college, but lost touch with her at some point after that. I have done research on the internet, but have not been able to find her. I hope somewhere she knows how much she touched so many lives, and how fondly I remember those days, watching the clouds float above us on blankets on the lawn behind Chickahominy Academy.

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