Time: Sun Oct 05 16:04:59 1997
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Date: Sun, 05 Oct 1997 16:00:38 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: "THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL" (Kleenex time!) (fwd)

>By Roy Exum
>When Tony Campolo was in Chattanooga last week to speak at the annual
>"Gathering of Men" breakfast, the noted sociologist told a story that begs to
>be repeated, especially on this day.  It seems that there was a lady named
>Jean Thompson and when she stood in front of her fifth-grade class on the
>very first day of school in the fall, she told the children a lie.  Like most
>teachers, she looked at her pupils and said that she loved them all the same,
>that she would treat them all alike.  And that was impossible because there
>in front of her, slumped in his seat on the third row, was a boy named Teddy
>Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed he didn’t play
>well with the other children, that his clothes were unkempt and that he
>constantly needed a bath.  Add to it the fact Teddy was unpleasant.
>It got to the point during the first few months that she would actually take
>delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold ‘X’s and then
>marking the ‘F’ at the top of the paper biggest of all.
>Because Teddy was a sullen little boy, nobody else seemed to enjoy him,
>either.  Now at the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to
>review each child’s records and because of things, put Teddy’s off until the
>last.  But, when she opened his file, she was in for a surprise.
>His first-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright, inquisitive child with a
>ready laugh.  He does work neatly and has good manners...he is a joy to be
>His second-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student and is
>well-liked by his classmates -- but he is troubled because his mother has a
>terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle."
>His third-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy continues to work hard but his mother’s
>death has been hard on him.  He tries to do his best but his father doesn’t
>show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps
>aren’t taken."
>Teddy’s fourth-grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much
>interest in school.  He doesn’t have many friends and sometimes sleeps in
>class.  He is tardy and could become a problem."
>By now Mrs. Thompson realized the problem but Christmas was coming fast.  It
>was all she could do, with the school play and all, until the day before the
>holidays began and she was suddenly forced to focus on Teddy Stoddard on that
>last day before the vacation would begin.  Her children brought her presents,
>all in gay ribbon and bright paper, except for Teddy’s, which was clumsily
>wrapped in the heavy, brown paper of a scissored grocery bag.
>Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents and
>some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet,
>with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of
>cologne.  She stifled the laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet
>was, putting it on, and she dabbed some of the perfume behind the other
>At the end of the day, as the other children joyously raced from the room,
>Teddy Stoddard stayed behind, just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today
>you smelled just like my mom used to."  As soon as Teddy left, Mrs. Thompson
>knelt at her desk and there, after the last day of school before Christmas,
>she cried for at least an hour.  On that very day, she quit teaching reading
>and writing and speaking.  Instead, she began to teach children.  And Jean
>Thompson paid particular attention to one they all called "Teddy".
>As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive.  The more she
>encouraged him, the faster he responded and, on days that there would be an
>important test, Mrs. Thompson would remember that cologne.  By the end of the
>year he had become one of the smartest children in the class and...well, he
>had also become the "pet" of the teacher who had once vowed to love all of
>her children exactly the same.
>A year later she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that of
>all the teachers he’d had in elementary school, she was his favorite.
>Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy.  And then he wrote
>that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still his
>favorite teacher of all time.
>Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had
>been tough at times, that he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would
>graduate from college with the highest of honors.  He assured Mrs. Thompson
>she was still his favorite teacher.
>Then four more years passed and yet another letter came.  This time he
>explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little
>further.  The letter explained that she was still his favorite teacher but
>that now his name was a little longer.  And the letter was signed, "Theodore
>F. Stoddard, M.D."
>The story doesn’t end there.   You see, there was yet another letter that
>Spring.  Teddy said that...well, that he’d met this girl and was to be
>married.  He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he
>was wondering...well, if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the pew usually
>reserved for the mother of the groom.  
>You’ll have to decide yourself whether or not she wore that bracelet, the one
>with several rhinestones missing.  But, I bet on that special day, Jean
>Thompson smelled just like... well, just like she smelled many years before
>on the last day of school before the Christmas Holidays began.

Paul Andrew Mitchell, Sui Juris      : Counselor at Law, federal witness 01
B.A.: Political Science, UCLA;   M.S.: Public Administration, U.C.Irvine 02
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