white coats are
for the season,
my Latin class.
My high school Latin teacher, Sharon Ingram, passed away last Friday. She was 61. She'd been suffering from cancer, even when we had her, though you'd never know it. She was happy, bright, cheerful, and what you always want from a teacher, inspirational.
I don't know if anyone else took Latin when they got to the college level, but I took two years of it while at UGA. I did terribly, but not because Mrs. Ingram did a poor job, but because I didn't keep the words above her chalkboard in mind:
"Repitito est mater studitorium"
repetition is the Mother of study.
She wasn't an easy teacher, and considering most of her students thought of Latin as a "dead language", I imagine she had to work a little bit harder even to convince students they should be there.
She dressed in a colorful manner, which some students used to joke about, but looking back on it now, her outer wear was a reflection of herself: She was brilliant, energetic, and you were always mesmerized by her. For me, at least, it was difficult not to pay attention. From her clothes, sing-songy voice, to the way she never seemed to walk, but rather glide across the room, Mrs. Ingram had you for the class period.
I've made a few friends from those days in Latin, including two of the best: David and Chuck. Chuck was a curmudgeon, and David and I were future President and Vice-President (respectively) of the Classics Forum, Parkview's Latin club.
There's also, of course, Judson Stacer, who said it best today:
also worked hard. Tough love was her
style, heh, but it worked. She
will be missed for many years to come."
True, she was tough, but she was also fun. Any time we hormone-raged teenagers were acting crazy, she'd warn us the "Men in little white coats will come and take you away!" (the "white coats" of Silent Film Script). There were elves living in her closet, and they alone controlled the box filled with numbers, which was how she decided whom to call to the board and do translations on the board. In the two years of Latin I had with her, I was called on twice: once by the box, and once more when, at the end of two years, she decided I hadn't been called by the elves often enough.
"You must be in good with the elves," she'd say.
I hope we both are, Mrs. Ingram.