Saturday, April 25, 2009

In memorium

You don't realize the impact people and events from the past have on your life until you have a chance to think back and reflect. A full-page article in our latest Catholic paper caused me to do that.

The article was an obituary chronicaling the life of a School Sister of Notre Dame, who died last Saturday at age 78. We knew her as Sister Eugene, or "Eugene" as we disrespectfully called her behind her back. Then in the 70's many of the sisters took back their given baptismal names, so she was known as Sr. Mary Ann Eckoff.

Now, Eugene was my English teacher. She taught upper classmen English, and she was really good at giving us a chance to write, as well as to read English Literature. I think I still have my textbook downstairs that we used in her class.

The other thing Eugene did for me was to give me a chance as a SOPHOMORE to be the art director for the stage production the school did each year. This was somewhat unprecidented, as these jobs usually went to upperclassmen. So, I got to do my job as art director for the plays for 3 years, and the experiences taught me much about stage production, which I used many times as an adult.

Upon reflection I find it coincidental that I am an English teacher, and my other love is theatre.....Eugene, if you are looking down on this lowly person now, down from Cloud 9 right up there next to our God, see me as one of many people who your life's work has touched and made more meaningful as a result of us knowing you and learning from you.

God Bless you Sister Mary Ann Eckoff, may you rest in peace, God's good and faithful servant. I cried the day I found out you died, you no longer can physically touch the students who you taught here on earth, but your spirit lives on in each of us.

Article in St. Louis Review, April 24, 2009 edition.

1 comment:

NV said...

Teachers are underappreciated, underrated and underpaid. My fifth grade teacher was a marvelous influence. She read my poetry, encouraged my prose and gave me a book of Longfellow (that remains on my bookshelves to this day.) I like to think she would have been happy to see that I did get a journalism degree.