The Best Class Ever

PK-free-0-boy-1262989_1920                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.                                              C.S. Lewis

We read to know we’re not alone.                          C.S.Lewis

Back in time, 8th grade, English Lit., Mrs. Hargis
A little lady with a big stick to lay down the law
You will keep your hands on your desk, no talking, sit upright
You will not look out the window, look at me at all times
And by the end of the year, this will be your best class  ever
Eyes squinted, furrowed brow, she was like a tiger ready to attack.

We hit the ground running, not knowing she had an army at her disposal, we were doomed
Poe was first, Mask of the Red Death, the House of Usher falls, as the Raven cried, ‘Nevermore’
Hawthorn in chambers, the Scarlet Letter, wandering through The House of Seven Gables
A sprinkling of Emerson and the transcendentalist, as our minds are hiking to Walden.
Whitman’s Song of the Open Road, Oh Captain! My Captain! Song of Myself
Dickinson, Will there really be a ‘‘Morning’’? Fame is the one that does not stay.

We were losing this war but we didn’t seem to care, as she brought in the reinforcements
Books stacked to the brim on shelves and stacks on the floor, by now we had all defected
Still wanting more; To KiIl a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, Dracula, Frankenstein, Portrait of Dorian Gray, The Old Man and the Sea, The Great Gatsby, 
Lewis and his wardrobe box, Tolkien and his Rings, Hobbits everywhere, Dickens and Pip
Then disaster struck! The end of the year, what to do, as she is Wendy and we are the lost boys
We’ll be forever thirsty, always wanting and it’s her fault, yes this was the best class ever.

On the Road, Kerouac and I go it alone further enlightened from the trenches of 8th grade
Joyce- Dubliners, Portrait of the Artist; Thomas Mann-The Magic Mountain; Eliot-The Wasteland 
Maugham-The Razor’s Edge, Of Human Bondage; Tolstoy- Anna Karenina, War and Peace           And the more books I gave away, the more would find their way back to me hiding throughout my life.

Now even heavier fare; Blake, Kant, Nietzsche, Jung, Black Elk, Galileo, Newton, Einstein   
The Power of Myth, Seven Years in Tibet, The Life of the Buddha, The Gita, Parzival
The Metamorphose with Kafka embracing all that I’ve ever read and how it changed me               And it all began, the first day of school when magic hit the 8th grade and life was discovered
That silent explosion is still a part of me, the best class teacher ever, Mrs. Hargis.                                                  



29 thoughts on “The Best Class Ever

    1. Thanks for the comment. I’ve had a few people tell me that it was also the eighth grade when this teacher appeared. I wonder what it is about that grade?

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What a wonderful praise you written to Mrs Hargis, Literature and your class. Did you ever tell her what it meant to your life? I had a teacher like that (without a stick) from 3rd year, she stayed my mentor and then friend.
    I love your picture and quotes. Mozart in the morning, heavenly.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Mirja, right after that school year, I was transferred to another school, so I never was able to tell her. But I’m sure she knew.


  2. This is a truly inspirational post, both a wonderful tribute to your best teacher ever as well as to literature and the power of books. I like the long poem style you’ve adopted for this piece – it works really well!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you, you’ve made me remember Mrs McCully. I was about twelve and was already an enthusiastic and all-embracing reader of prose and poetry, but my friends weren’t so keen. We were going to study Hakluyt’s Elizabethan Voyages and Milton’s Samson Agonistes and Paradise Lost. I don’t know how she did it, but within weeks Mr McCully had us quoting great chunks of these texts (in her Irish accent), they became part of our day-long language and still roll around my head – a very good alternative to swearing on some occasions.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I read this with some trepidation as I do not have particularly happy memories of my years (some time ago now) at Grammar School, but after a few lines memories of my English teacher returned. I was always interested in reading and as a young boy would always be reading anything to hand, some good, some not so. But thanks to my English teacher I was introduced to the delights of Chaucer and Shakespeare as well as the other classics like Sons and Lovers, Potrait of the Artist etc. More importantly he taught me to look beyond the books in question to consider the wider context in which they were written, both politically and socially, making me realise and understand that the written word, and the ability to read and understand, is a fundamental part of the fabric of life.

    In fact there were two teachers who enthused me with their subjects – the other was my History teacher. Amongst the knowledge he imparted was that history always repats itself – and boy has he been right.



    1. Thanks for the comment. Yes, I’m with you on history repeating itself and in literature, its the same themes but with a modern twist.


  5. Inspirational! In 2017 I’ll offer free or donation-only Tango lessons to people who can’t participate in regular dance classes for some reason. Doing good for others is fulfilling too. 😉


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