When driving past a school this morning, I thought back to my second grade teacher from Myrtle Place Elementary School in Lafayette. She lived to her eighties. In those many years, she touched the lives of many children.
Her life was quiet. She never had any children. In fact, she never married. She spent many years taking care of her ailing mother and doing the hard work of teaching school.
I had the measles when I was seven. I was confined to my bed for many days. Those little red dots on my body were there for weeks. It was a miserable time for a second-grade boy. Boredom dominated the day. The highlight of the day was watching “I Love Lucy” reruns.
Miss Gerac took the time one afternoon to visit me. She brought my homework and told me about everything happening in school. That might not seem like a big deal, but to a second grader it was something very special.
In her class we learned reading, writing and arithmetic. But we learned a lot more than that. She taught us about patience and manners. She taught us about kindness and consideration. She taught us by her example.
Whenever I would see Miss Gerac in the years to follow, she always had a smile and a hug for me. She would take the time to ask how things were going. I always looked forward to seeing her in church at her usual spot, the second-to-the-last pew.
Some people are very special; people who care and smile and take the time to visit a little boy with measles.
Did I say she never had any children? I was wrong. She did have children. Hundreds of them. And this day, one of those children gives thanks to God for her life.