Hi everyone- Many of you remember Joan Neal, one of the finest teachers ever to serve the young people of Fayette County. She passed away last night.. I remember the slide shows she used to show us in the library when we were in Elementary school.. I remember her love for all of us.. and how she was always ready to share her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. She was a good and faithful servant. We will miss her but she does not miss us- she is at complete rest, she is completely healed . We will never forget you Mrs Neal- Love from Clay Callaway
Above is the sad message I received via FB just now. I wanted to make sure her life is noted -not with the honor she deserves; although I am happy to have the assurance that she is getting that right now from one whose note she is enjoying much more than any she has gotten here.
I was at an event where several local authors were gathered. Remarkably, one of them was Glenda Walters, author of several books, including a couple on our local Bay County history. AND a southsider, grew up right in East Point! She is a delighted grandparent, and takes an active part in the girls' education. All of us were wondering if we were imagining that as very brillian as our new graduates are, and they are intellegent beyond our wildest dreams, many of them seem to lack a basic understanding of grammar and punctuation.
WE never had to worry about that with the southside teachers we had. We were coached for the most part, sometimes admonished- into the rote knowledge, then understanding of spelling, mechanics and grammar. Teachers like Irene Davis, Merle Wise, "babies" like Sharron Bray Reeves, and Lynda Lambeth, and black -belt, world class experts in all like Faith Hardnett gave me tools that I live off of right now.
Mrs White at Hood Avenue and then Joan Neal at the 'new' Fayette Elementary were the icing on the cake for most; the oxygen in the air for those like myself who craved the alternate reality offered by Carolyn Haywood and her urban dreamscapes, Laura Ingalls Wilder and her constant battle -man against nature, man against him (her) self (why can't I be good like Mary?), man against Nellie Oleson.
And the stars. I kept out, then rechecked, a book on the stars, for most of second or third grade- those thanks go to Mrs. Rockefeller at Lee Crest.
All of this is a feeble attempt to give some account of how much I owe all of the kind librarians like Joan Neal. Never did she reproach me for taking too many books; indeed, she complemented me on my reading skills and choices. She didn't chide me for keeping the books out way too long- though it's probable I took them back so I could get another load as soon as Library Day rolled back around.
During the past year that Mrs Neal and I have been in touch on FB, she's always had a bright and encouraging word for me and the others on our feed. Interestingly, I just read a post of hers yesterday, and she was thanks a friend for something, and adding a warm remark.
Thank you Mrs Neal, and all the rest of you fantastic southside teachers, and librarians.