I got an email a couple of days ago from my first wife, Linda. She told me that our teacher, Mrs. Irlene Brown had passed away. Visitation is tonight in Georgetown at 6 p.m. I'm going, since I won't be able to make the funeral tomorrow in Liberty Hill.
The picture above is of Mrs. Brown and myself at my Junior High graduation. She was one of my two favorite teachers in all twelve years of school. She taught me English from grade 5 thru 12. (Liberty Hill had all 12 grades in one building back then.) It was Mrs. Brown who encouraged me to take part in theater and to write.
I admit that I was a mediocre student. I was a bit lazy. I did read a lot, and was able to slide along making C's or so most of the time. I like to tell people I graduated in the top 13. (My graduating class was exactly 13, so perhaps I was even in the top 10 out of that.) Mrs. Brown saw something in me and encouraged me to use the talents I had. She graded my papers with encouragement. She may not have approved of my subject choice at times, it tended toward science fiction, but she always found something positive to say to me.
We had no drama department or drama classes in our high school. We did, however, do a Junior and a Senior play as well as participating in UIL One Act Play competition. It fell to the English teacher, Mrs. Brown, to ramrod those endeavors. Since our classes were so small, the Junior and Senior plays usually used almost the whole Junior or Senior class, sometimes some of both. She always made me feel that my efforts were appreciated, whatever I did on or back stage.
In later years I had my own plays produced, and I let Mrs. Brown know about it. She seemed proud of the fact that I was writing and acting. I don't think she ever had a chance to see one of my plays, but I enjoyed the knowledge that she knew about them.
Whatever faults you find with my writing now, they are my own faults and are in spite of the excellent teaching of Mrs. Brown. Rest in Peace, lovely lady!