Yesterday, I drove to Mentone, Alabama, to spend the day with a group of McGehee girls, now women, some with children older than they were when I taught them more than 30 years ago. They came from New Orleans, having left work and families behind, to make a reunion celebration of their birthdays, and they invited me.
It was grand to see them again and to remember the girls they were and still are at heart. All have children; some have full-time careers as well as families; some have been married for 25 years or more; all were eager to talk and laugh and re-create the comradeship they developed among themselves and their teachers during their youth. We ate good food and saw an awesome man-made waterfall and giggled at stuffed raccoons wearing coonskin caps. Despite the rainy weather and the threats of oncoming major storms, they created a special kind of sunshine reminding me why I became a teacher so many years ago and why I still feel loved and love, even from afar.
To them and for them, I am grateful.