Teacher leaves legacy

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 29, 2007

To the Editor:

Writing letters to the editor is such a privilege, and you never know what may come from it! After returning to Selma in 2001, I wrote a letter that was published and, because of it, was reunited with my 9th grade English teacher from A.G. Parrish Junior High School! She saw the letter signed with my maiden name in the middle and tracked me down. I was so thrilled that she wanted to talk with me, see me, was still living, had a sharp mind, and cared enough to persist until she found me!

During the last five years, life has been surely busy for me, and I did not get time to have as many visits with Mrs. Collins as she and I would have liked. When I did get up the hill to her home, I was always rewarded with her smiling face, pleasantries, words of wisdom, and a loving and caring heart. I thank God for having such a good teacher and friend and that I was able to renew the ties after so many years. Someone said that the art of teaching is not imparting truth but imparting a thirst for truth. Mrs. Collins was one of a cadre of teachers during those years who instilled in me and others a lifelong yearning for learning!

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When “Miss Gussie” left this world on 12-16-07, she was 95! She had told me she did not like being old, she did not like being so much trouble, she couldn’t see very well nor breathe very well, etc. These were not voiced as complaints, just wonderings out loud about why she was still here! I was glad she was still here. She had never given up, enjoying much in life.

In his poem titled “Too Late,” Longfellow said that nothing is too late … he lists many poets and musicians who wrote their masterpieces when they were up in years and concludes with these thoughts:

“… What then, shall we sit idly down and say, The night hath come; it is no longer day? For age is opportunity no less Than youth itself, though in another dress. And as the evening twilight fades away, The sky is filled with stars invisible by day.”

Mrs. Collins, your masterpiece was the way in which you cared for others, the joy you found in learning and sharing life with those who knew you. I miss you and am thankful for all the time I was blessed to know you!

Gail Box Ingram

Valley Grande, Ala.