Every now and again, journalism offers a writer an opportunity that just about every other profession you can think of has no business or interest in pursuing. For me, this issue of Springfield's Own Magazine allowed for such an opportunity. I took a brief trip back into my childhood and had a reunion with a favorite teacher.
In the long-ago school year of 1972-73, I was a fresh-faced seventh-grader at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Decatur. My teacher was a young, smart Dominican nun. She was good-natured, tall with red hair and freckles. I have remembered her fondly all these years.
Fast forward some 36 years later to a recent afternoon as I wandered into the commons area of Sacred Heart-Griffin High School. The nice woman in the office brought me to the open space just inside the main entrance, sort of like a town square. And, there she stood.
I came unannounced by design; I wanted to surprise her. Sister Katherine O'Connor, president of SHG, asked in her upbeat and polite manner from way across the room how she could be of help to me, a stranger to her eye. She took a step or two, stopped and raised her hands to her face. She took a quick breath that I could hear from where I stood.
"John Moody!" she said, her voice a little higher and the volume raised just a notch or two. "Oh, my gosh. You look just like your dad."
We hugged and got a little misty-eyed and visited for bit. When we sat down for a formal interview the following week, I asked how she recognized me so quickly. Had she been tipped that I was coming? No, that wasn't it.
"I just made the connection somehow," she said.
And so, two old friends, the teacher and the student, connected again, too. And, the three-plus decades unfurled behind us like so much ribbon from a nicely wrapped present. Memory and a shared path help make friendship the great gift it is. I hope you enjoy the piece.
This SO contains another kind of magic, too. The Springfield area boasts a significant number of magicians who take their craft seriously and play host to a huge magic convention every three years. Kathleen Ostrander introduces us.
Ostrander also brings us something for the sweet tooth - doughnuts; she has all the fun. And, Springfield residents might take Mel-O-Cream confections for granted, but there's a lot of history and pride right here in the company's hometown. Meet Verna Cutler. She comes by her car roots honestly as one of the original Route 66 Cruisers. And, how'd you say you'd like your eggs? If you think eggs can't dress up for breakfast - you're wrong.
It's all here in this summertime edition of SO. Thanks for spending some of your time with us.
Story published Friday, July 3, 2009 ( Volume 4, Number 4 )