She is Special

I write every single day. I no longer keep my journal. I write in a more public way by writing my blog and sharing with the world my thoughts. I write more than people think and some of the things I write do not find their way into this blog. I am just proud to say that I have the courage to write.

A few months ago I wrote a piece and within the piece I thanked Doris Whalen for opening up the world of writing to me. Yes the credit for my writing goes to Doris as she was the one that took the time and encouraged me to put my thoughts into words. The key concept was to put my thoughts into my words and say it the way that I think it. I was always scared to write with courage and conviction. Quite simply put I was the worst English student in our senior class.

Doris was a tough teacher and she put up with very little bullshit. She called us out every time we tried to get away with a half-assed effort. Her grading was beyond tough and her expectations were awfully high for a guy like me. I struggled every minute I was in her class and I always thought that I was failing the class. Somehow through it all Doris never gave up on me and she finally reached me and inspired me to write.

My journal was my escape. I was able to write and let things out of my head that I had been holding inside all of my life. I became more graphic and more animated in my writing and the process made me feel better about myself. The writing had become my therapy. At just that moment Mrs. Whalen must have sensed the change in my writing and she suddenly started to write short little questions next to my writing. She let me know that I was provoking thoughts within her mind and she was interested to know more about my stories.

I had many people in my life that reached out and helped me along the way and I am thankful to them all. I was asked the question about who my favorite teacher was in high school and I replied that I did not have a favorite but I knew who the best teacher was. Doris Whalen was the best teacher I ever had at any level.

I left Del Norte High School in 1983 and I took one English class in college, English 1A, which I took at Santa Rosa Junior College in the fall of 1983. The class was a joke and quite a bit easier than the English class I had taken from Doris the year before. I did a particularly bad job of studying and failed to turn in my big semester long research paper at the end of the semester and I squeaked out a C. I went on to get my degree in civil engineering and never really put any effort into school.

I write a regular column in a small poker newsletter and I am currently writing a book. I am a frequent contributor to the newsletter at my work and I am proud that I write as much as I do. I am an engineer after all. I do not know where my writing will take me but I am sure that I will continue to write as it has become my therapy.

Mrs. Whalen was the best teacher I ever had and changed my life forever. Doris opened up the world of writing to me and convinced me people were interested in what I had to write about. After 27 short years I have come to the conclusion that she was my favorite teacher.



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