Cute-n-yummy Pie drove to Williamsburg today to visit friends and it reminded me of someone who totally changed my life. My favorite Professor. Pat.

In 4th grade at Maret I had a particularily grumpy teacher named Mr. McEwan who pointed with his middle finger. I was a bubbly little girl trying to figure myself out and had just lost my father to the great state of Texas. Needless to say I was craving positive attention and it would have been nice for my first male teacher be caring and kind. But each time this crotchity old bastard furrowed his bushy grey unibrow I seemed to suffer. In fact he seemed to have it out for me. His middle finger migrated daily to my forehead and he would berate me in his loud sanctimonious growl for the reason of the day. This was all unpleasant. But I still have a hard time forgiving him for telling me, ” You are just really bad at History.”

How does someone actually say those words to a 9 year old little girl having a bad year? He said it several times. He wasn’t kind. He wasn’t teaching. He was being a fuck-head to one of his students (the only one with divorced parents and a Mother who was clinically insane… but who is counting).

And so I always thought I was just bad at history. Until Pat. The 23 year old mother of a toddler, I was living in my Mom’s basement and working hard to finish my Bachelors at Marymount University. I had finished every possible credit I had to finish without taking a single history course. The jig was up. A history class HAD to be taken. The only one that seemed remotely interesting was “American Revolutionary History”. So I put on my big girl panties and took a history class.

I loved it from the start. Everything about it. I loved Pat. She was a smiley welcoming older woman who had been raised in Williamsburg Virginia. I think her father had been the librarian at William and Mary. So she grew up with living history. She had a different view on everything because of that. EVERY INCH of history fascinated her. She had tidbits and morsels to go with every boring fact known to man. She brought the period alive for us and involved everyone in the class. I looked forward to each and every class and I don’t think I missed a single one.

When the class was over I had earned a perfect A+ and knew for a fact that I had never been bad at history. I had never even met history.

Since this defining moment I have devoured history. I read historical fiction, history books and am an avid history channel devotee. My Father and I have lively weekly conversations about whatever historical period we are both fixated on, from Krakatoa to Ancient Greece. Our George Bush rants count don’t they?

Pat wrote an amazing book before I met her. I have read it many times over the years – and give it as a gift often. You should read it.

Riding Astride, By Patricia Dunlap

I guess the moral of the story is dont let anyone tell you that you can not do something or are bad at something. But I am just glad to have found Pat and that she introduced me to this world’s past.

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