When I was in the eighth grade in northern Vermont, the school superintendent’s wife would come into our class every two weeks and teach a session in classical music. A lot of the kids hated it and made it clear they were thoroughly bored. I loved it, but pretended disdain. I was always well prepared for my Junior Keyboard quiz and the music we heard built a lasting foundation that serves me still. One piece I cherished above all was “Die Moldau” by Smetana, with its haunting music, so emotional and romantic. Last year as I stood on a bridge in Prague over the river Moldau, I remembered the first time I heard that beautiful piece. It was in eighth grade.

Thanks, Mrs. Hoxie.

We were living in a ramshackle rental apartment awaiting the arrival of child No. 4 when a neighbor pointed out that a house was for sale right up the street in our very nice neighborhood. We had a total net worth of about 26 cents at the time and I wouldn’t dream that we might buy it. But the woman who owned the house had known my husband’s mother when both were teenagers and she decided we should have that house. She drastically lowered the price, juggled a few funds and we moved into a dream house with a view of Long Island Sound.

Thanks, Mrs. Rittenberg.

There have been people throughout my life that have popped up and added wonderful things to my journey. What brings this to mind is the preparation for a reunion I’m planning to attend in Connecticut shortly.  When I was slowly weaning myself from critical motherhood of four children, the owner/publisher of the local newspaper where my husband had worked suggested that I needed to get busy. “But, what can I do?” I whined, hoping he would say I should stay home and watch soap operas. Instead, he said I could do any number of things and had I ever thought about proofreading. Any nitwit can proofread, he assured me. Well, I thought, I am a pretty good speller, and I know some grammar, and I’m no nitwit, why not give it a whirl. There was an opening.

As I reported for that job, my first in 13 years, I felt as nervous as I had on my first day of school. When I left, 12 years later, I was managing editor.

Thanks, Mr. Stanford.

When my husband and I moved to Vermont to fulfill a dream (OK, mid-life crisis), we had no jobs, just the dream. We figured something would turn up. Two weeks after we arrived I got a call from the Reformer managing editor whom I had met briefly in the past. The sports editor had been injured in an auto accident, he said, and they needed someone who could step in to the newsroom staff that night. “I can do that,” I said. Sixteen years later I left to try and catch up on those soap operas. 

Thanks, Norm.