Last week, my high school history teacher died. Mrs. Lore Hisky was 81 years old and by all accounts led a wonderful, well-rounded life. I often saw her and her husband mentioned in the local society magazine and they even got a mention in the local paper for their involvement in Memphis Scottish Society. Her death got me to thinking about the things she taught me and how much she impacted my life.
The first thing she taught me was an appreciation and love for European history. She made the architecture and artwork of old Europe seem alive to me. I couldn’t wait until I could see these things for myself.
Fortunately, early in our marriage, my husband worked for a European company and travelled there often. Mrs. Hisky’s descriptions of the great Chartres Cathedral built in the middle ages, with its two contrasting spires, green roof, flying buttresses and large stained glass windows made me insist that he go to see it on his first trip. It was the middle of winter and bitterly cold. He had to ride a bus for hours and while he never came out and said so, I’m sure he did not have a good time. Which was too bad for him.
In the time that passed, I did get to travel with him and see many of the great places Mrs. Hisky told us about. Notre Dame, Versailles, the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, the Grande Arche de la Défense and more. Certainly, our favorite place to visit is Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny. Every time we were fortunate enough to be in Paris, we made sure we made the long ride out to Giverny. I am so grateful to her to have an appreciation for these great places of beauty.
Secondly, I owe Mrs. Hisky a debt of gratitude for my love of politics and government. As a high school senior, I was fortunate to participate in the Close Up program in Washington DC, a civic educational program that gives a “close up” view of government and democracy in action. Sitting in on senate meetings, hearing speeches from our Representatives and Senators really sucked me in and I have been a political junkie ever since. Although, they drive me insane and make me want to throw them all out of office. But that’s another blog.
The final thing I learned from Mrs. Hisky was an understanding that my learning did not end after high school and college. She instilled in me a passion for learning. While it is certainly easy for me to veg out in front of a soap opera or reality show, I still enjoy reading and stretching my mind. Additionally, she was always a lady and so elegant. We don’t see ladies like her much any more and that’s a shame. Mrs. Hisky made a difference in my life and in the lives of thousands others. Thank you.
“Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher.” ~ Japanese Proverb