Mrs. Tank

June 8, 2011
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go”. -Dr. Seuss
At my 5th grade award ceremony I won all sorts of awards. I couldn’t have done it without the tools that you gave me, Mrs. Tank. When my class stood in front of the gym listening to the Principal reading Oh the Place’s You’ll Go, I wanted so badly for you to be sitting with the faculty and listening with me. I wanted to see you and feel that warm gentle smile of yours once more.
It was my second year of second grade when I met you. You had white curly hair, soft wrinkly skin, and the warmest smile I had ever seen. When you helped me learn new words you grinned the whole time, and your voice was always calm and quiet. Even though I stumbled on small words like; “bus” and “cat,” you never gave up on me. You didn’t get annoyed when I spelt the word “who” as “h-o-o,” or when I didn’t believe you when you told me sentences needed periods. When we talked you always cocked your head to one side so you could see my face and eyes. I remember your eyes, they always sparkled.
Everyday you walked with me to the square table in the small reading room. Sometimes we sat on the blue rug, surrounded by short bookshelves. One day, you told me I didn’t have to go to the reading room anymore. You said I could read and write like a third grader. We walked down the hall to step inside the quiet reading room one last time. We had our picture taken together holding the book Old Mother Hubbard, because you said I should hold my favorite book. We both got a picture. Yours was a magnet and you put it on your gray filing cabinet, which made me feel really important and proud of myself. Then you said I could pick out a brand new book to take home with me. I chose Wemberly Worried. I still read it sometimes.
After I left the reading room I was afraid I wouldn’t talk to you again, but you said “hi” to me when you saw me in line or in the hall. After you found out my state test scores, you came to tell me how proud you were, and that I was very smart. You smiled and your eyes lit up. I believed you. You always made me feel like I was smart and important.
You passed away in January when I was in fifth grade. I didn’t get to tell you I won first place in the Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest. I won a Barnes and Noble gift card and I used it to buy new reading room books. I put a little floral sticker in them with your name on it.
After you passed away, someone from your family gave me a picture of you and a necklace that I keep in my room. What you gave me is more valuable. You gave me the ability to read, use, spell, and understand words. You gave me a future. I promise to do something extraordinary with it, and keep your memory alive.
I don’t know if I ever said thank you. Thank you for everything Mrs. Tank.

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