Letters for Ms. Davis

Mentions of Ms. Davis may conjure up Andy’s mom for some of you, but I think of one of my favorite teachers.

I remember a time in fifth grade after the last bell of the school year, I wait for Ms. Davis to thank her for being a good teacher. She is a hard-ass; many would even call her mean, but I know better and think she deserves to know.

She sternly peers back at me through her librarian-like glasses and smiles. Then, I ask if she would like to be my summer pen pal, something I have never had before, and she is taken aback. Her stare softens while she removes her glasses, letting the pink beads catch around her flushed neck. She loves pink. With a glint in her eyes, she says, “Yes, of course! I would love to be your pen pal!”

I tell her I can’t get enough of her handwriting, and that she said something that stuck with me. She looks puzzled.

I recalled a day with my new friends, Tiffany and Sherri; we were hustling back from a break, late. I was never late, but I was with “the cool kids” and went with their (slower) flow. As expected, Mrs. Davis was waiting outside the classroom, immediately scolding us for running. Someone said, “Well, if we didn’t run, we’d be even later.” Mrs. Davis retorted, “If you weren’t late, we wouldn’t have to run.” The other two girls side glanced back at me and rolled their eyes as they half-halfheartedly said, “Yes, Ms. Davis…”

I mimicked the behavior and she stopped me with, “Excuse me?!” The other girls knew not to stick around when that tone reared its head. She said, “Don’t roll your eyes!” With faux defiance but true remorse, I quickly made the uninspired “other-kids-do-it” argument. She said, “Yes, but you are not them, and this is not you. YOU are not the type to roll your eyes. YOU are better than that!”

I was dumbfounded, panged with guilt, wanting to defend my friends who are good kids, but also knowing she was right. It was a prime example of self-imposed peer pressure, and I was sorry for not being true to myself, and especially for disrespecting her.

I look up, my eyes refocusing on the present Ms. Davis, who, with tears in her eyes and nose now the shade of her nails and shirt, comes over to hug me. She says, “This is you. Thank you. Now go enjoy your summer. Your friends are waiting… and no running!”

I still have the letters somewhere, and the stationary I bought specifically for our summer. It didn’t feel right using it for someone else. It was a floral lavender and pink set that I knew she’d love. I wonder where she is these days. Wherever she is, I hope she knows what she still means to me, and that every time my patience, her influence persists. Thank you, Ms. Davis.


Image credit

  1. Pixar Theory: The TRUTH Behind Andy’s Mom!

A Letter to Myself | P.S. Punny

I don’t often converse with myself out loud. No pep talks into the mirror before speeches. No self-motivation during workouts. No, “That was embarrassing,” after inanely awkward moments. Instead, I write and think… a lot.

I welcome playful thoughts because adults are not encouraged enough to be imaginative. I am introspective, lean into my feelings, and try not to let my too oft existential crises consume me after 2 AM. Nothing good happens after 2 AM.

Hence, it was unusual to get a letter addressed in my own handwriting. After marathoning the Back to the Future trilogy (twice in two days), I did ponder if my past or future self was warning me of some imminent danger.

Dated March 4, 2020, written as a work assignment two weeks before quarantine, it felt like reading a horoscope. As much as I believe in magic, fate, and destiny, I’m a huge pragmatist. Of course some blurbs could apply to anyone, but at what point do you concede it’s more than just a coincidence?

Well, I’m letting myself believe it’s perfect timing, and even though Past Vietca had no idea lockdown was coming, she really knows Future Vietca, a constant hopeful. She also has a great sense of humor. Lots of cheese… you have been warned. Enjoy!

Dear Vietca,

You will always feel like there isn’t enough time to complete all your goals, even if there is. You feel like you could be more successful. You feel like you could be a better person.

The feelings will persist and there are others like you, and others who will help you through this. There are resources out there for people like you.

You’ve achieved so much already. Give yourself permission to celebrate even while continuing to build on what you’ve created. You are a rock star and someone or something made you forget that. Get it back and get back to it!

Love you!

Vietca

P.S. Where does a king keep his armies? =)