Friday, March 11, 2011

English Lit Since 1877, Memory Lane Friday

Memory Lane Friday is a weekly blog hop where you can blog about your memories and link up.  All are welcome, and this week is a no theme week.  Next week I'll be starting a series going through the school years - each week will focus on a different year.

My spring semester of my sophomore year at Baylor I took the class English Literature Since 1877.  I had taken it's predecessor the semester before, taught by a bitter old woman who kept the temperature of the room on 50* and told us not to bring any drinks while she chugged one Dr. Pepper after another throughout the class.  Rumor had it that she was on probation for flunking too many students.  I don't doubt it - her tests were asinine and asked irrelevant questions like "What was the name of Sir Gawain's horse?"  As much as I had always loved English, her class made me hate it.  So I was wary in taking the sequel.

I was uncomfortable sitting in the small wooden desks, because I'd recently been bucked off by a horse, landing on my tailbone.  It messed up my back for a 3 month stretch, and sitting in hard wooden desks caused pain to shoot up my spine.  But Mr. Thomas's lecture style allowed me to ignore that pain.  He was in his late 60s or early 70s, short with soft grayed hair and a mild manner.  He reminded me of my own grandfather (who adored poetry himself) so much that I started to eagerly anticipate his classes.  It was an early morning class, and while other students would snooze, I would listen rapt as he read poetry - Browning, Tennyson, and Keats.  I will never forget the morning he read from The Lady of Shalott.  His voice was as soothing as a massage, my mind would tumble into a world of beauty and admiration through his soft words.  Mr. Thomas allowed me to leave behind the evils of my previous semester of English and rediscover the joys of the written word.  I will always be thankful for that, and to this day I have never found anyone who could read poetry as beautifully as him.

If you'd like to link up with Memory Lane Friday, just add your website to the linky.  Please be sure to visit fellow linkers blogs and leave them some commentary.

Come back next week to blog about a memory from kindergarten!

16 comments:

Home In The Hollow said...

Your Mr Thomas was my Mr Korpalski! And I can imagine how much pain you were in sitting on those hard wooden chairs!...:)JP

JDaniel4's Mom said...

It really must have been great to hear him read poetry in the morning. The first teacher really sounds horrible.

Sonya Heilmann said...

Isn't it amazing what a good teacher can do to foster the appreciation of a subject? Mr. Thomas sounds like an awesome professor!

texwisgirl said...

Sweet...

Jane said...

A good teacher can make all the difference. Too bad we don't have more of them,although the ones we do have are wonderful! Blesings jane

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

One wonders why the powers that be allow people to have the power to ruin knowledge for the rest of us. That woman sounds WICKED. Glad you got a good teacher to take the sting off literature.

An Irish Italian Blessing said...

What a great memory! I love how there are always a few teachers that leave that lasting impression.

Shanae Branham said...

I understand how powerful it can be when you have someone read to you who truly understands and appreciates the meaning of the poem. What a beautiful tribute to a beloved professor. It made me think back to my days in college and my English classes and wonder if I had any teacher that made such an impact on me. You were truly blessed.

The mad woman behind the blog said...

My DH went to Baylor (small world)
And bitter old woman in the English dept: I don't think there's a school in the country that doesn't have one. We called ours Ol'Girl. She taught HELL, History of English Language and she had similar strict rules. Amazing that its been 15 years since I sat in her class room and you took me back there.
I too had a Mr Thomas...taught Romance Poetry and yeah, I was always very awake for his class, sigh. Thank you for taking me back!

Angela said...

Teachers do make a big difference in our lives. Too bad some of them don't realize that and don't take their jobs seriously. Then you end up with one that is worth his weight in gold.

I think I'll be able to join in next week. I do have memories from Kindergarten! Hopefully my internet won't be down again.

Have a Wonderful Weekend!
Angela

Chatty Crone said...

I always did so much better in school when the professor was in love with the subject they taught! sandie

Ash said...

You make me want to go back and change my major. Mr. Thomas as well.

That first chick? Not so much. Her style reminds me of why I disliked my journalism law class.

Ash (TAMU class of 93 :)

Marvin said...

I'm glad Mr. Thomas was able to rekindle your love of literature.

Debra said...

I can see that bitter old teacher now, chugging one Dr. Pepper after another, the old biddy whose tests were asinine and asked irrelevant questions like "What was the name of Sir Gawain's horse?" Really??? Your are one colorful writer! So glad I discovered you. Meet your newest follower. I do hope you'll swing by and visit me too. Company is always welcome at my place:)

Snapper II said...

I enjoyed touring your blog and I enjoyed it very much. You are in my "Blogs I Follow". I will come back often.
Thanks for sharing.

Joy @ Joy Of Desserts said...

She reminds me of one of my high school history teachers. Always had to pick some obscure questions, and she looked just the part too. Thank goodness I had far more teachers and professors like your Mr. Thomas.