Reflections on Miss T

Miss Thompson died today. Miss Thompson was a single lady (obviously) who was my 4th and 5th grade teacher.  Mabe I was just an upstart and maybe she wasn’t sharp on tact with us younguns. She was little appreciated at that age. She often quoted us lines from the Bible we wondered where ‘that’ came from! My favorite memories of her class were her teaching us to sew on a treadle sewing machine, how to iron a shirt properly (the same way I still iron a shirt and Marhta Stewart does it the same way), showing us her African violets she kept in her window of her trailer and her description of the Northern Lights concluding with her saying that she’d pray I would see them some day. I have several times and I always remember her saying that. Growing up leaves room for perspective and more common experience such as being in a classroom where you are misunderstood, understanding that Scripture is the Ultimate Word and if you can quote it, you are more well-spoken than sometimes you are given credit for being. Knowing Scripture is also a true comfort and I know that she found it so. I have always thought that one of the blessings I had in my relationship with Miss Thompson was to grow up and come back to Cono to work and be her friend. Whenever I pick chicken bones I remember how I couldn’t be bothered with that when I was cooking a meal for so many people and I would give the bones to her and she would come down with her twinkly grin and show me how much she got off those bones that I ‘couldn’t be bothered with.’ She was in her late 70’s and early 80’s at the time and counted being able to work with her hands a privilege as I would plough things through the food processor. Her father was a ‘greenhouse man’ like my husband and she was tickled when we gave her a clematis named ‘Mrs. Thompson’. One day as she passed my garden she saw my green beans and said, “Melinda! Are those kentucky Wonders?” Now who would know a thing like that?! They were. Her father had grown them. Probably the biggest lesson I learned from Miss T was to ‘Thank the Lord’. Every now and then she would do something I would marvel at and say, “Miss Thompson, you are so clever.” She would reply ,”Thank the Lord, Melinda, thank the Lord.” In my mind I was saying “yeah ,yeah, yeah.” One day I was supposed to take a meal to a sick church member and I completely forgot till late afternoon. But the day before I had roasted  turkey, I had made bread that very day, I had homemade applesauce on my shelf. As I went about collecting things for my meal, I thought, “Thank the Lord, Melinda, thank the Lord.’ I jotted a quick note to my friend who had been His instrument. I was on the path to learning that we are what God makes us, and if there is anything good to be found in us it is because He who began a good work in us will complete it. Miss Thompson was the same age as my grandmother to the month, so I always remembered how old she was. Ninety seven…. and complete.


3 thoughts on “Reflections on Miss T

  1. Melinda, Thank you for taking the time to write these notes of rememberance. What a blessing to read this on a dreary Monday morning in Midcoast Maine when it would be easy to be dull and instead I will Thank the Lord!

  2. Great words. I am thinking of what I would say. My experiences with her were fewer than yours since I really didn’t have her as a one-room classroom teacher, just my sewing teacher and music teacher. Guess I could write some stories….but somehow it seems they may be inappropriate right now!!

  3. My heart is warmed after reading this, Melinda. “Ninety-seven … and complete”. Love that.

    Thank you.

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