Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Legacy...

At election time, she lit up. This was her element. She was an intensely political person who lived out her beliefs. Almost 50 years ago, in her 40's and alone, she had to go into the workforce to support her three kids. She worked nights and got her teaching credential during the day. She became a teacher, but not just any teacher. She taught in some of the toughest parts of Southern California with kids from every imaginable race and ethnic group, refusing to believe poor and disadvantaged kids had no chance.

She was an old time English teacher. She knew her stuff and kids flocked to her like a horseshoe magnet. On her own time, before and after school, she taught kids how to spell. They would get there at 6:30 in the morning on their own initiative, an hour and a half before school started. She formed school spelling teams that won local and state tournaments. And for decades afterwards, she would receive thank-you letters from her former students.

She loved FDR and JFK and thought Reagan was a 'nice man, but not too smart.' She would tell you that we need a very smart person in the office of the presidency. The job is too tough and demanding - and too much was on the line (the Cold War at the time) - to put it into the hands of an 'ignoramus' - one of her favorite words to describe political lightweights, a word most of us would have trouble spelling.

From Webster's dictionary, an ignoramus is 'a stupid, ignorant person; a vain pretender to knowledge; a dunce.'

Mom is gone now, four years ago next month. Her legacy includes a son, a grandson and a granddaughter as teachers.

And I know the word she would have reserved for George Bush.

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link