It was a continuing theme at parent-teacher conferences from the time I started school – she’s bright enough, but she spends far too much time daydreaming.
Mrs. Hole, my first grade teacher, wondered if perhaps I wasn’t quite ready for a full day of school.
My second grade teacher, a very large, very stern nameless woman who used a paddle ball paddle on children who misbehaved and who scared the bejeebers out of me, could be counted on to say to me, “Eyes forward, young lady!” at least half a dozen times a day.
By third grade my teachers had learned to seat me as far away from the windows as humanly possible.
And so it went. I wasn’t a bad student; I just found the inside of my head much more fascinating than anything going on outside. I constantly made up stories about the things around me. Bruce, the mean boy who sat next to me in fifth grade, became the sniveling coward antihero to my Wonderwomanesque heroine. The tiny ant that was crawling on my desk and trying to climb up my book but kept falling off became the handsome prince trying to climb the tower to rescue the beautiful princess (this was before feminism made princesses self-rescuing, so don’t all you feminists out there start throwing rotten fruit at me, okay?).
By the time I reached high school I had a huge manila folder labeled “Stories” full of these fantasies set to paper, but I had also learned to control – or at least hide – my daydreaming.
Until Mrs. Dupertius.
Mrs. Dupertius was my tenth grade English teacher. During the first semester, she introduced us to some great classic literature, and my daydreaming shot completely out of control again as I began to dream of being a writer. She noticed. She asked me to stay after class one day.
I was busted.
She said to me, “You’ve been doing a lot of daydreaming lately.”
I said, “I know. I’m sorry. I’ll stop.”
And then she said, “Florence Nightingale. Isaac Newton. Albert Einstein. Mark Twain. They were all incessant daydreamers. I didn’t call you here to tell you to stop daydreaming. I called you to tell you to never stop.”
Mrs. Dupertius taught us creative writing the second semester and was the first person who really encouraged me to pursue writing. That was over 40 years ago, and I’m finally just now doing it. But in all those intervening years, I’ve never stopped daydreaming, and I’ve never forgotten the woman who knew the value of a young girl’s imagination.
Thanks, Mrs. D.
Today I’m writing for Five Minute Friday, where we write flat out for five minutes, unedited, on a one-word prompt. Join the fun with your own post or just read what others have done with their 300 seconds. Check it out at http://lisajobaker.com/category/five-minute-friday/ Today’s word is Imagine.