I am sorry that I have spent most of today trying to remember what your last name was when we taught together that one year. Or was it two?
You taught in the room next door to mine, so we were often in the hall together during class change. In fact, we were often still in the hall gabbing after the tardy bell had rung and our classes were seated.
I remember that you had a sharp wit and a marvelous sense of humor. I was intimidated by your intelligence and in awe of your ability to discard one career easily for another. I don't remember if you went straight into law school from your brief stint as my next-door teacher neighbor or if that's something you told me when I ran into you several years later.
You were always involved in the theater, and I was also fascinated by that. I was jealous of the fact that you had nothing to tie you down, and you could devote as much time to your passion for acting and directing as you wanted to.
Remember that one year, when you and I both participated in Spirit Week the week before Homecoming? Not many teachers played along. You suggested the two of us dress alike for Twin Day. I still laugh out loud at the prospect. You were tall, brunette, and thin, and I was (am) short, blond (even if I do pay for it now), and.......not. Still, you brought something to school for me to wear -- was it a scarf? hat? vest? I can't remember -- and we did indeed sort of look like twins. I remember standing in the hall together, our arms draped around each other, posing for a picture. It may have been in the school yearbook that year. I don't know, because I think I threw that yearbook away.
You were either going through a divorce or went through it shortly after leaving the high school where we taught together. I had a hard time adjusting to your new last name when you took back your maiden name. Ironic then, that I have struggled all day to come up with the only name I knew you by at the beginning.
When I heard yesterday that a shooting had occurred at the community theater, I immediately thought of you. Because you were the only person I knew connected with that theater. And there must be hundreds. I told myself I was being silly, thinking that you were somehow involved. I was pretty sure that you would know the three people who were killed, and my heart saddened for you.
I had no idea until I opened this morning's paper that you were one of the three dead. And that it is your (estranged) husband who is being sought for all three killings, apparently deliberate and calculated. There have been no clues as to his whereabouts; no cell phone use or credit card transactions have pinpointed where he may have fled. Call me cruel or heartless or whatever, but I hope that he has taken the coward's way out and saved this state the trouble of a trial.
You waited until later in life to have children, and I can just bet that you were a good mother. Because you were good at everything you took a stab at. You were a good teacher, smart and able to relate to the students. You were obviously good at acting and directing and serving as publicity director for the community theater. I also hear that you were a good lawyer, and I wish I had thought to consult you for my divorce from the psycho.
I am so sorry that your children were in the car with your ex when he killed you and those two men, although I am forever grateful that they did not have to witness your death. At 8 and 10, they will never, ever understand why their lives have suddenly been turned upside down and inside out.
I ache for those children, for the college community you were so much a part of, and for the circle of friends who will mourn your loss. I regret that we did not stay in better touch after our short time of teaching together.
I remember now.
It was Hutchins.