There's not a lot about school that I liked when I was a kid, but over those years, there were a couple of teachers that made a definite impact on my life. One of them was Mary Higginson. Do you know her?
Mary Higginson was my English teacher at Bermuda High School for Girls when I lived in Bermuda for three glorious years. She was from the UK somewhere. She was kind, pleasant and always encouraging. She recognized my love for writing and encouraged me to "grow" it.
When she found out I was going through some teen/parent conflicts, she said, "Why don't you start writing in a diary, Cheryl? It might help you."
I hadn't thought about that before.
I mentioned this to my best friend.
"You should do what Mrs. Higginson suggested," she said.
"But what if my mom or dad find my diary?"
"Hide it between your mattresses. That's what I do."
It's probably what every teen does. But I did it anyway.
I hid the tiny key in my jewelry box. Does every girl do that too?
I wrote about the arguments with my mom, and how much my dad annoyed me. You know, all the normal teenage angst stuff. Every now and then when I was bored, I'd write a poem in my diary. Sometimes I'd write short stories.
When Mrs. Higginson assigned us story writing, I was in my glory. I wrote my heart out and created characters that made me laugh. Sometimes they made me cry. When I handed in my assignments, I would wait with bated breath for my teacher's reaction.
One day, she said to the class, "Let me read you a story."
I don't recall the story title or even the plot. All I know is that it was mine.
She praised my writing in front of the class and told me that one day I'd be a great writer.
I'm not sure I have the "great" part down yet--I'll leave that up to my idol, Stephen King--but I AM a writer. And Mrs. Higginson was responsible for part of my creation. Without her encouragement, I'd never have known my words could have impact and meaning to others.
So now my search is on. Mary Higginson, where are you???
Do you know a Mary Higginson? If so, please have her contact me through my site or blog.
I have contacted the school, but they have no current info. I dream of the day when I can give her one of my novels and tell her how grateful I will always be. Teachers never get enough credit. She took a depressed teenager and helped turn her into a dreamer, who then went on to achieve her dreams.
Mary Higginson, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!
~Cheryl Kaye Tardif
I invite you to check out my novels