When I was younger, it was my dream to be an Anthropologist and spend my time digging through the world of ancient civilizations and being the person who discovered the secrets of those who’s mysterious communities shaped the world. Without ever watching Indiana Jones (Or, at least, not watching any of it until I had watched them as an adult) I wanted to be like him. I wanted to have daring adventures, street market fights and eventually find out that aliens are hiding in ancient ruins and not even pull a “what the fuck just happened?” face and take it like a boss.
It was my dream life and I ate up anything that had to do with the subject. I was completely prepared to dive head first into it as my major in university and perhaps maybe one day work towards being a doctor who didn’t have to cut into people (but I could if I really, really wanted too and maybe only in third world countries) but still get to be pompous and demand everyone call me doctor.
It wasn’t until I got into high school that I was hit by a revelation and inspiration to not only change my chosen career path but really, truly, honestly believe that I could do something that would make a difference. I didn’t have to have daring adventures or street market fights or eventually find aliens hiding in ancient ruins and not bother to pull a “what the fuck just happened?” face.
I was inspired to become a teacher. I was inspired that I could make a difference in someone’s life and that would be worth more than discovering anything about a people that are long gone.
Last night, the person who inspired that drive in me passed away. Mrs. Herzog possibly had the best job at my high school because she wasn’t only the drama teacher but she was the creative writing teacher too. After taking one of her drama classes in grade eight my drive shifted and changed because she was such a remarkable woman that I wanted to be able to do what she did for me. I wanted to be able to touch the life of a child without even knowing I did it.
It only took first hour of that first class for me to be hooked. With her help I managed to weasel my way to finishing all the drama classes the school offered by the time I was in grade 10. I loved them and I loved her teaching style. It was the class I always impatient to start and the class I was always saddened to see finished.
I don’t think she ever knew how much she had touched my life unknowingly and in the wake of her passing, it makes me feel as if I missed an opportunity to let her know just how amazing of a person she really was. I wish I could go back and gush my heart out about how when I’m finally in a classroom in front of a gaggle of children, it’s her teaching that I want to bring forward.
I hope she knew what type of legacy she was leaving behind – not only in the lives of her two sons but in the lives of every student that was lucky enough to have her for a teacher. Or any student that was lucky enough to have her personally teach them the Time Warp.
Mrs. Herzog, where ever you are, break a leg.