Monday, June 23, 2008

Point Of Personal Privilege

I do not know if any people who attended Waverly Jr-Sr High School up until 1982 read this. I do not know if any who do check out the Evening Times on-line. If not, you should know that Bettie Simcoe died unexpectedly on Friday. Mrs. Simcoe was one of a trio of outstanding English teachers I had in high school, along with Eugene Higgins and my father, Daniel Safford. She was funny, eccentric, tough, tall, and verbose. Her room and my father's room were adjacent from 1966 until Bettie retired in 1981, when my father's room was moved upstairs due to the District Offices moving in to the High School (my father used to joke that the superintendent's opinion of his teaching was demonstrated by the fact that the office toilet sat on the very spot his lectern stood the previous 15 years). Even after she left, and then he retired in 1988, they would keep in touch. She taught Shakespeare's Julius Caesar for years, and every March fifteenth one or other would call and intone in the voice of the mad seer, "Beware! The Ides of March!"

They don't make teachers like Mrs. Simcoe anymore. I doubt they could! I am fortunate to be among the few who can brag that she was my teacher. I can further brag that my family could count her among our friends. Her loss, while hardly a tragedy, marks the continued passing of a generation of teachers at my HS alma mater who made it a great place to go to school.

Bettie was predeceased by her husband, Locey Simcoe, and is survived by her son, Joe.

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