Remembering Mrs. Meadows

Last week, my high school English teacher passed away. Her name was Mrs. Janice Meadows, and she had a very unique and tremendous impact on me because she not only taught me how to write, she also instilled in me a deep desire to write well. I couldn’t let her passing slip by without giving her due credit for the role she played in my love for writing.

If you had asked me in high school what I thought of being in Mrs. Meadows’ class, I probably would have come up with some gripe about her picky grading, her bizarre affinity for diagramming sentences, or her proclivity for losing my essays. My senior-in-high-school brain certainly didn’t realize then that the energy and expertise she poured into me would result in a big-time payoff over the next few years.

The payoff hit me in college. Not one of the English classes I took during my first three years of college could rival the rigor of her class. Not until my senior year did I take a class that matched the work I did for Mrs. Meadows — and that class only matched the work, it never exceeded it. I was not a particularly exemplary student in Mrs. Meadows’ class, but because of her, I was graded as if I were Mark Twain himself when I got to college. The things I learned in her class made college English a breeze. I guess that picky grading paid off.

Since college, I have written fairly regularly. I’m not a published author; I am not a professional advertising copywriter or someone who writes great screenplays or memorable music lyrics, but I have certainly discovered a love for the written word, and it brings me great joy. The fact that you are reading this post right now is largely due to the impact of Mrs. Meadows. She has shown me an outlet for creativity, a forum for the exchange of ideas, and a canvas for leaving a written legacy for my son.

And for all she has done for me, I am grateful.

Rest in peace, Mrs. Meadows.

One of the things I like best about growing older is the ability to look back and see the many points of my life that have led me to who I am today. Sometimes we get so focused on charging forward that we can forget to be grateful for the past. I want you to live your life with intensity and purpose, but I hope that you learn the value of rowing backward into the future, so that you never lose sight of where you came from.

  • Newlyyoung

    Exactly. She was a great teacher, whose impact I have felt nearly every day of my life since her class! We love you, Mrs. Meadows!

  • Dalice Heiser

    So true! And, you are a great writer. I love to read your writings.
    We will all miss our former teacher and friend, Jan Meadows.

  • Karla Tall

    She not only had a great impact on our children but on us as well. Jan and her husband Archie were the first people to greet us at the door when we walked into Valley West Baptist Church as new Christians. She is responsible for steering us and mentoring us in children’s ministries. Especially VBS and Sunday School, which lead us to many years of ministry with AWANA. Thank you Jan for your willingness to follow God’s leading and take a couple of baby Christians under your wing!

  • Stacy Pigott

    My Mom wants to say thank you, and tell you how much she appreciates the lovely tribute you wrote about her sister, Janice. Thanks!

  • Marlene Fulnecky

    Dear Michael,
    You have taught me more about my cousin in this tribute to her than I would have ever known in my lifetime. I live in Indiana and truly appreciate your story about Jan as a teacher. Wonderfully written and greatfully read.
    Thank you,
    Marlene from Indiana

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