Monday, September 10, 2007

Student Teacher Crush - Dana Wilson

Probably no one other than Nels J'Anthony and I still remember Dana Wilson of Oxford, PA. Actually, Nels probably doesn't remember either. Dana Wilson was a student English teacher. I can't seem to remember if she taught us in 11th or 12th grade. However, the event that I am going to relate must have taken place in the summer after our senior year. I can't remember who Dana was student teaching under but maybe it was Miss Carrow.

What I can remember vividly is that I really liked her and that feeling led me and Nels set out in search of her home and family just to see her again. I remember that she had said that her family had a business, The Wilson Dairy Bar in Oxford, PA. Well, one Saturday morning with Nels on the back of my Honda SL-350 we found the Wilson Dairy Bar and the counter person there were sympathetic enough to give me directions to Dana's family farm.

We arrived at their large farm house unannounced. I am sure I never had suggested to Dana that I would visit and I am sure she never expected or had invited such a such a call,. However, she and her family managed to turn the escapade into one of the nicest days I can remember. Nels and I were welcomed with open arms.

I can't remember if she offered us lunch, but what she did offer was to make fresh peach ice cream in one of those electric paddle mixers that you pack around with ice and rock salt and fill with sugar, cream and sliced peaches. It was fantastic ice cream even before we had it in our bowls. Of course they were in the dairy business. Dana had already shown us around a bit and maybe had showed us the barn. But then she took us to the pond and after a bit introduced us to her horse and gave us a chance to ride.

When she was demonstrating, her horse took her close under a tree with low branches. Dana jumped down, snatched up a small branch from the ground and whipped her horse's rump while yelling at it. I was shocked but she assured me that it had been no accident and that her horse was intentionally misbehaving. I think the horse was polite to me though, having been properly reprimanded.

Dana also got out her brother's mini bike and let us ride around the property some on that as well. I would guess that we stayed there at least three hours. She made us feel completely welcome. It must have been several years before I realized what bad manners it was to visit someone like that who we really didn't know.

On that day, no such feeling burdened my soaring spirit. It wonderful lazy visit, she and her mom were completely charming hosts and I went away assured that the world was a magical, beautiful place.

Not only did I get to see this teacher once again, and feed my crush, but she reinforced those existing feelings with memories of her kindness that would fix her in my mind to the end of my days. It seems to me that Dana was the kindest, most indulgent and gracious host that a boy of 17 or 18 could possibly hope to encounter.

I won't hold out any hope that Dana will read this post (that's a lie), but maybe someone else will be moved to share a story of their own about a teacher who managed to avoided embarrassing them while making the student feel great about their self.

michael munroe

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