Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Dedicated Status Update Day Two: Melanie Johnston Files


I'm going to follow the lead of one of my former students. The other day she posted this:

"So Ive been thinking a lot and I have decided that every day for the rest of the month, I am going to devote my daily status to someone who has made a difference and impacted my life, big and small." Ashley Shade

I'm going to do the same.

When I was in my early to mid twenties I took a leap and moved to what at the time I thought to be the smallest town in not only the state of WV, but perhaps any where because I needed to 1. get out of Morgantown, 2. I wanted to teach school, and 3. I needed a fresh perspective. I left everyone that I knew, everything that I knew, and moved to a town that I knew very little about. During the time, I was clawing away at trying to be fiercely independent, learn more about who I wanted to become, and hone my craft of teaching. I made the leap and moved. Little did I know that I was soon to meet my Morgan County Mom and that her love and guidance would save me during some very lonely, but growing times. Today's gratitude status update is dedicated to Melanie Johnston Files.

My first impression of Files was actually pretty spot on. The science teacher, with wild red hair, drinking her tea from science lab equipment had a no bullshit, everything within reason, let me tell you how it's going to be while I hug you and bless your heart kind of attitude. She reminded me a bit of my own mother. We connected rather immediately. I have loved her from the moment I met her. She is strong, confident, well read, meaningful, thoughtful, giving, community minded, socially concerned, and a damn great teacher. Everything I wanted to be when I grew up. She's been a source of inspiration, a guiding force, a quick reminder, and the hug you need at the end of the day. I listen to her when I don't want to listen to anyone. I became a better teacher because of her mentoring. My life then and now will forever be better because she is a part of it. I miss seeing her every day, but always know that she is a birthday card, an email, or a phone call away. I love you Melanie Files to the moon and back again! I thank you for being who you are and for loving me unconditionally. (wipes tear from cheek)

PS: Over ten years ago she gave me a stuffed rabbit with a note t-pinned to it saying. "This is Fred. Although he does not say much, he is a great listener. Talk to him in lieu of the walls. Files" He still sits on my desk.

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