The Old Fashioned Way to Say Thank You

copy-james-j-amos-md3.jpgThis is just a short update about the saga of my journey to find Jenny Lind Porter, my former teacher at Huston-Tillotson College (H-TC, now Huston-Tillotson University) in Austin Texas back in the mid-1970s.

I finally found her with the help of the Austin Poetry Society (APS). Well, at least I found her address. She has no internet contact information, which didn’t surprise me. So I had to try to reconnect with her the old-fashioned way–by writing a letter.

She probably won’t remember me and I left out the part about not actually graduating from H-TC, instead transferring credits up to Iowa State University, and eventually going to medical school at The University of Iowa.

A big part of the reason I left Texas was to return to Iowa so I could marry the love of my life, Sena. It was kind of an old-fashioned love story–which is still going strong after 36 years.Sena and Jim

It was a little difficult to write an old-fashioned letter to Dr. Porter, after all the writing I’ve done on the internet through my blog, mostly. You know, I think I got a little lazy by getting used to hyperlinks instead of my memory and all the art of crafting words to elicit images a reader can sense without JPEG images or YouTube videos. That was something Dr. Porter tried to teach me long ago, an old-fashioned way to teach in a time when we had to learn the old-fashioned skills.

The most important thing, though, was the precious chance to thank my teacher while she is still alive for everything she gave me. What an extraordinary opportunity, to just say “thank you” without emoticons or URLs, e-mail addresses, instantaneous uploads and downloads–just some heartfelt words and a postage stamp in honor of the old-fashioned ways.

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Comments

  1. Oh my goodness, what a great story, George! It’s a great gift to be able to thank an admired and respected teacher and mentor. We’ll never forget it.

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  2. Jim – In an interesting parallel I did the same thing. I wrote a letter to my old English undergrad professor. It was a shocker to find out that he along with most of my other undergrad mentors had retired. I remember him as not looking much older than 30 at the time I was in his classroom. In my random walk through life, good teachers that I could identify with have always made the biggest difference. The only reason I went to college in the first place was to play football and teach phy ed. I was lucky enough to get a complicated case of appendicitis early in my freshman year. The most memorable part of that experience was one of my liberal arts professors coming to the hospital and telling me to “wake up” and forget about football and forget about phy ed. I recall that professor was not very well liked at the time but he was motivated enough to try to change my life and he did.

    It did not take me long to glom on to the biology and chemistry professors after that eye opener.

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