After reading about Donnette's teacher from her 8th grade, I could not stop thinking about the one teacher who still impacts my life regularly.
In 10th grade, I decided to take German. This one decision affected my entire life! My teacher was a short, smiling German with a wonderful fro. If you have ever seen Lord of the Rings, and recall Bilbo Baggins, you've basically seen my German teacher, just perkier with permanent smile lines all over his face.
Knowing his history, you would never know how on earth he could smile as much as he did. He was born before WWII. During the three years I spent in his class, he intrigued and horrified us with stories of Russian soldiers raiding his house, and by some good fortune, though his mother and siblings were hidden safely in the basement, the thin curtain hiding him was never parted and his life was spared. One time he was on a boat, and suddenly the captain shouted that they were sailing through a mine field. Again, his life was miraculously spared. The stories go on and on...some horrendous, some hilarious. That wonderfully thick German accent kept us mesmerized daily.
As I sit here thinking about this man and all he went through I am still baffled that of all things he could have done with his life, he chose to become a teacher. Even more amazing, I think he smiled every day of his life. Why? He told us he had made a choice. How much better would this world be if despite all the challenges some face, we all made a choice to just smile every day?
This man was not only a teacher, he was a mentor and after I graduated became a dear friend. Though I haven't heard from him in years, I think about him almost daily and hope that I can one day have an impact on someone the same way he likely impacted thousands of students over the years he taught.
This is week 12 of Mommy's Piggy Tales where we recount tales of our youth to preserve not only who we are but to give our children knowledge of their history and heritage.