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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Winnipeg Losing Some Lights Lately

I've been informed that my high school English teacher passed away a few days ago. I know that everybody and their dog has a "she's the teacher that" story, but Mrs. Axworthy really did. I had planned on being an electronic technician in my first year of high school, and planned courses around that. But I ended up finding myself really getting engaged by her teaching style, and she took personal interest when she noted I had some buried, encased in amber, locked away in a rusty bank vault, latent creative writing abilities.

Well, fast forward and one day in school, I blew up a transistor radio in electronics class that just about took my left ear off in the explosion. I wasn't doing that much better in math or physics, but I was really enjoying those English classes with Mrs. Axworthy. While I did enjoy all the classic rock of the day like the rest of my chums, I also had picked up a keen interest in other music, and found myself handing in bios and reviews of acts like our hometown The Guess Who, and Roy Orbison for class assignments.

One day, she encouraged me to consider rethinking my plans for the future, and told me about a course at Red River Community College that only allowed for a few new student every year. Out of over 300 annual applicants to this Creative Communications course in journalism, broadcasting and creative writing, only a student or two over about 25 were ultimately chosen to take the course.

Well, I did submit an application, along with the required homework of writing samples and scenarios played out from recommended starting points,  and went promptly back to dissecting televisions and essentially ruining a wide variety of other electronic gizmos.

Then the envelope came.

I had been accepted.

Once that sunk in, I went about making plans - I dropped Electronics, Math and physics, and took up MORE English, as well as typing. By the time I got to my final year of high school there was another teacher being groomed, and he was an utter moron, even going so far as accusing me of plagiarizing my homework. My marks in his class were horrific, but still enough to pass. My final exam, which I couldn't possibly fake, ended up surprising him so much he called me in to apologize. Too little, too late, you bearded asshat - there will be no dedication in my book for YOU!!

There will now however be one for Mrs. Axworthy, who saw through the lack of confidence in my writing ability, fanned the flames, and gave me so far an adult lifetime of writing credits with her encouragement and direction.

Rest in Peace Mrs. Axworthy. Say hello to Lindor, I'm sure you two must have known each other...


Mrs That Dan Guy said...

A wonderful tribute. It is incredible the difference a teacher can make in a student's life and how much we remember a teacher like that. Thank goodness she was a part of your life Mr. That Dan Guy. Had she never played a part, your writing talent and love for all that is creative, may never have surfaced.

ThatDanGuy said...

You really don't know...