July 18, 2007

Be a Taurus today!

From my absolute favorite horoscope site, Free Will Astrology:

"I'm drinking a toast to my grade-school teachers, five of whom were stern spinsters in their 50s and 60s. I may not have esteemed them when we were together those seven hours a day, 180 days a year; I may have been alternately bored and alienated by their nagging me to learn. But from my current vantage point, I'm ripe with gratitude: pleased with my ability to wield the English language and do the arithmetic my business requires and hold in my imagination a clear vision of the planet's geography. Those maestros taught me well, and I'm in awe of their tireless efforts. Now I suggest you do something similar to what I just did, Taurus. Feel a flood of thanks for the helpers and teachers from your past (even the inadvertent ones) whom you have never appreciated sufficiently."

So here goes...
***My first thanks goes to my Aunt Cheryl. She is (obviously) who I am named after and easily the aunt I am closest with. She's always been someone I love seeing, spending time with and talking to. She is a school teacher and used to let me come to work with her and sit in on her classes when I was really too young to do so. So she actually "taught" me when I was younger, but the real lessons came when I started college. After a series of insane events (screw you, SDSU) I ended up at TLU in Texas. She and her family were in New Braunfels about 5 miles away. THANK GOD they were there the whole time I was in school! My first semester, dealing with homesickness and general disdain for the city of Seguin, her home was my sanctuary. There was always a bed for me if I needed to get away from the dorm, always a meal if I was tired of the dining hall, and best of all--always ALWAYS a shoulder to lean on and someone who loved me to listen. I talked to her about everything that year and she and Uncle Chip and Elizabeth and Matthew never made me feel like a burden. That year, I learned that not all issues need a verbal answer, and that sometimes people just need someone to cry to. I know this has helped me be a better friend, sister and generally just a better person and for that I will always be thankful. Even after I adjusted to life in that (very small) city, I still hung out with Aunt Cheryl and the family. I introduced them to all of my friends, who were always welcome at their house as well. I developed more of a brother-sister relationship with my cousins and most definitely looked at my Uncle Chip as a second father--someone I always wanted to make proud. I love my aunt and her family more than I will ever be able to express and whether they believe it or not, they are really the answer to how I survived college.

***Kristie Borowski is next on the list. She and I go waaaaaaaay back--before I was born, back. Her sister and my uncle were high school sweeties and while that didn't work out, our families have stayed close. In 1999 when my grandfather passed away Kathy was there, of course, and Kristie came to the house with her. I remember thinking she was so glamorous and just so cool. There was an age gap of about 10 years, but she spoke to me like I was one of her peers. I hadn't yet met anyone I would consider a mentor--no one I looked up to as an older, wiser sister--and then here was Kristie. We exchanged e-mail addresses/Instant messenger names and have remained close ever since. We have sustained an 8-year friendship via the internet and the occasional phone call. I think we've only seen each other once since '99, but Kristie has been a Godsend. While we don't know all the intimate details of each other's lives, we have talked about everything from career plans to breakups to arguments involving flying chairs (hehe). She has become someone I turn to in times of extreme personal crisis, and she's always had the time to talk me through whatever it is I am dealing with.
She has advised me on many things, some big some small, and she does it with such class and style. She's not shy about telling me the lows she's hit and how she dealt with them. She has such an open mind and has shown me that with a little direction, creativity and determination the path I choose to walk will be not only full of success, but full of satisfaction. She tells me she feels as thought she is giving me a "cheat-sheet" to my twenties, and I couldn't be more appreciative.

***Lisa Antillon was my absolute FAVORITE elementary school teacher. She came to Thompson when I was in third grade and worked in my classroom as a student teacher. About a quarter of the way through the school year our teacher left (moved to Houston, weirdly enough) and Mrs. Antillon (Miss Hysong, at the time) took over. She was beautiful and fun--everything a third grade teacher should be. Her favorite children's author was Judy Blume and she read out loud to us every day from one of her books. She taught us about math and grammar with the "School House Rocks!" videos. She was creative and interesting and someone we all respected, which is a pretty big deal in third grade. We all just wanted to please her and frequently fought about who was her favorite. When third grade ended, it felt sad...like we hadn't had enough time with her. Fortunately for us, she decided to move to the 4th grade class, so we would all have her another year. I was so excited! That year was much like the year before--fun and challenging and exciting. She had gotten married over the summer and was expecting their first baby girl sometime in the Spring. She and my mom became close so Mrs. Antillon and I got to see each other outside of the classroom pretty frequently. We were sad when she took her maternity leave, and probably gave our sub a pretty hard time. We found out a few weeks later that Mrs. Antillon had delivered Taylor Marie and the baby was fine, but that Lisa had suffered a stroke during labor. She stayed out through the end of that year and we were all devastated. I remember going to see her at her house, with all the get-well/we miss you cards our class had made for her, and setting them up around her room as she pointed to where they should go. She wanted to see all of them from her bed. She looked tired, but still beautiful and happy. I got to hold Taylor and I felt so important and special. I cried when I left her house that day, afraid I would never see my favorite teacher again. Thankfully, she recovered and spent time with Taylor and her husband David before coming back to school. I started the fifth grade, not with her, but happy knowing that she was healthy and just down the hall. As luck would have it, our fifth grade teacher, Mr. Tierney, got promoted to a Vice Principal position mid-year and needed someone to take over our class. Mrs. Antillon left her 4th grade class in the capable hands of her co-teacher and once again came to us. I could not have been happier. I went through middle school and high school, frequently visiting my favorite teacher and her family, which had now grown--she had a baby boy, Ryan, when I was in 7th grade without incident. We moved to Texas and kept in touch, sending pictures and letters and graduation announcements. I called her when I got accepted to college, and she called us when she when found out she was pregnant (again) with Trevor. I worried about her, as the doctors had advised against any more children. She loved kids, though...not having a bunch of her own was just too tragic for her. On September 20, 2005 Mrs. Antillon passed away due to complications from a brain tumor. I got a phone call and multiple e-mails from old classmates--some that I hadn't seen since 5th grade. I cried--not just because I was sad, but because she truly was an amazing woman and it killed me to know that her children might not ever completely understand that. I can't see a Judy Blume book without thinking of her, and sometimes I find myself humming "Conjunction Junction" or "3 is a Magic Number" and I smile...

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow that some heavy stuff. Hi there! Harold Nicks

Lisa's younger sister said...

You were her all time favorite student as well.

Kevin's Mrs. Antillon said...

Cheryl Ann,
Lisa thought so much of you. You were her favorite student.
Thank you for remembering her.
This wonderful tribute meant so much to me.

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