Thursday, July 21, 2005

Close to Nowhere
By Linda Jones

A special teacher

“If you can read this, thank a teacher.”

How often have we seen that on a bumper sticker, coffee mug or t-shirt?

I remember a good many of my teachers from eons ago, some of them not so fondly — my second grade teacher, oddly enough named “Mrs. Jones,” was — in my eyes — truly terrible. We weren’t allowed to talk, raise our hands, wiggle in our seats, or have any thing that even resembled fun. I cried every morning all the way to school and often during the day.

My mother did admit, years later, that Mrs. Jones was really too old to have been teaching children (or anyone for that matter).

My granddaughters are not going to have those kinds of memory of their teachers, thank goodness. And one teacher in particular is going to stand out.

Caroline McCrosky passed away early Tuesday morning. She taught kindergarten for around 30 years and scores of Marshall County kids can read because of her.

I’d casually known Caroline since moving to Marshall County 20ish years ago. However, when my oldest granddaughter began kindergarten, I came to know “Mrs. Crosky” much better. (Both of my granddaughters called Mrs. McCrosky — Mrs. Crosky — and still do.)

Caroline often told me how wonderful my granddaughter was. I’m pretty sure she told every parent and grandparent pretty much the same thing, as “Mrs. Crosky” while a firm teacher, was also a wonderfully loving teacher.

The Binkster loved Mrs. Crosky dearly — so much that she named a Christmas present after her daughter. My friend Jane had given Binky a beautiful porcelain doll at Christmas and Binkster named the doll “Beatrice” after Mrs. Crosky’s daughter and the stories she’d heard. We took a picture of Binky and the doll Beatrice and gave it to Mrs. Crosky and that photo hung in the classroom all year.

Then, along comes Gremlin. Grem is a “special” child. She is almost smarter than we are and marches to a totally different drummer. She is a very shy child, often staying apart from those she doesn’t know well.

Angie Sansome took wonderful care of both Binkster and Gremlin in early kindergarten and is still much loved by both girls. Angie took special care with Gremlin and confidently passed her along to Mrs. Crosky when the time came.

Grem has loved all her teachers, but somehow, Mrs. Crosky became “special.”

Caroline often told me that Gremlin was close to her heart. Grem had a hard first year in kindergarten (strep six or seven times, plus a variety of other illnesses didn’t help) and Caroline recommended that Gremlin stay with her another year.

That extra time gave Grem some space to mature.

When Caroline had to leave school last year because of illness, Grem was heartbroken, but prepared and ready to go on. Grem loved her new teacher, but Mrs. Crosky was still “special” to her.

Caroline was at the kindergarten graduation this year, looking wonderful as usual. All the kids were so happy to see her, as well as the parents! There wasn’t a dry eye in the auditorium after her brief “farewell” speech.

Gremlin talked about Mrs. Crosky all the way home and has talked about her a good bit this summer. She knew Mrs. Crosky was ill and has worried about her.

School will be starting again in a few weeks and Grem won’t be able to visit Mrs. Crosky as planned. However, Grem is ready and excited about going to first grade.

We, along with all the other parents and grandparents, can thank Mrs. Crosky for that!

She will surely be missed...

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