Early in my blogging days, way back in November 2006, I wrote a post about my English teacher from my sophomore year of high school, Miss Wourms. I blame her completely for my love of all things grammar, as well as my love of writing in general.
Yesterday, after a hard-fought battle with brain cancer, Miss Wourms died.
A Facebook page was set up asking people to pray for her, and it quickly became a visible testament to her talents and skills as an educator, her loving heart, gentle spirit, and razor-sharp wit. Those who had been privileged to have her as a teacher over the decades shared many “tales out of school”. Even though most of us hadn’t even spoken with her since graduation, it was as if no time had passed. Even more amazing were the common experiences shared by ALL of her former students, regardless of class year.
The stories were humorous, touching, sentimental, and silly. There were testimonials from students who’d gone on to careers in English because of Miss Wourms’ influence, and many who are self-proclaimed members of the “Grammar Police” force because of her sophomore English class.
Nearly thirty years have passed since I sat in her class diagramming sentences, writing twenty word sentences, or making a character map for Julius Caesar. And yet, it seems like yesterday that she was telling us girls to unroll our skirt waistbands, or explaining why adding fifteen adjectives or adverbs did NOT constitute a legitimate twenty word sentence. She was the teacher who, when asked “Can I go to the bathroom?” replied “I don’t know, CAN you?”.
Perhaps my funniest memory of Miss Wourms was her fork.
Yep. The woman kept a FORK in her desk drawer. Whenever someone, upon completing an assignment, stated “I’m done!”, she would “fork” them, claiming she was “testing their doneness”.
“Steaks are done. People are finished.”
And so, as she has finished her time on earth, I raise my fork to Miss Diane Wourms. Devotee of the English language. Faithful, dedicated teacher. Sharp, sarcastic sense of humor. Her job is done.
Well-done. Just like the steak.
Rest in peace, Diane. You are greatly loved and will be sorely missed.
Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord, and let perpetual light
shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen.