The earliest point in my life that I can remember enjoying writing was my Junior year in high school. I went to John Jay High School in San Antonio, Texas (Class of 1992.) My Junior year obviously was 1990-1991. For English class that year, I had a teacher named Mrs. Ladson. I don’t know why some teacher’s names stick with you and some don’t. I don’t remember much exceptional about Mrs. Ladson’s teaching ability, but I do remember a lot of students didn’t like her and accused her of being mean, but for some reason I had no problems with her and she even seemed to like me. My friend Wes once commented to me that Mrs. Ladson, while chastising him for some behavior infraction, said “Why can’t you be more like my student in (whatever period I had her class) Eric?” Go figure.
One hallmark of Mrs. Ladson’s class was the journal. For the first 20-35 minutes of class, we were to write in our journals. We had to have a separate notebook (yep, one more public school teacher demanding parents spend more money on school supplies for one class) to keep a journal in. Some days, she would write a theme on the board for us to write about. Other days, she would allow us to “freewrite.” Most students used that time to misbehave. For some reason, I didn’t. Maybe I didn’t have any friend in that class.
At one point, Mrs. Ladson had a student teacher. I wish I could remember his name, because he’s truly the nexus of this post. He really took the journal time to a new level. Each day, he would put a word or phrase or concept on the board. The phrases were the best. He would put part of a sentence up and ask us to finish a story. I don’t know why, but he really inspired me, and I wrote a lot of my best work under his themes. I know I’ve kept my journal notebook from that class, although most of our stuff is somewhere in limbo between here and my in-laws’ house with the expectation that someday this house will sell.
So, to Mr. Student Teacher in 1990-1991, at John Jay in San Antonio, in Mrs. Ladson’s class, if you come across this post for one reason or another, please leave a comment. You have no idea how much you inspired me to write for the rest of my life. I’ve never made a dime off of my writing, but somehow you really did inspire me to keep it up and to even enjoy it.