It took me 35 years to get back for a high school reunion at my alma mater, St. Agnes School, class of ’77. In the intervening years the school merged with our brother school, St. Stephen’s and has become known more by its initials, SSSAS. A rose by any other name is still a rose and I owe a lot to my high school, like my profession.
Miss Meyers, a history teacher, took me out into the hall and gently taught me how to take copious notes. When I got there in 9th grade I had no idea how to do that and that talent would serve me well, years later as a journalist. Mrs. Fuller was the first person to tell me I was a good writer and submitted an essay I wrote to the school magazine and then told me about it. She correctly gathered that left to my own devices I’d have stuck to the middle of the pack and not sent in a single word. Her faith in me would come in handy years later when I sent my first novel, Wired around and would get all of those letters of rejection. Miss Levins taught me about Fitzgerald and Hemingway and her favorite, Faulkner and set me on the road to being a published novelist.
All of the teachers at St. Agnes never gave out multiple choice questions and instead we had to work out math problems by hand and write essays, a lot of essays. The answers had to restate the question and then build a concise argument that led to a logical conclusion, every time. Not only did that make me a strong writer, I became good at looking at a problem or an opportunity from every angle looking for solutions.
My favorite moments this past weekend, though are the ones where I realized 35 years can go by but in the end it doesn’t matter. Time compresses and suddenly I realize these women are a part of my family and I really need to do a better job of staying in touch with many more of them. More adventures to follow.