Miss Kerr

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by Lyle Dillabough

Throughout my lifetime, there have always been those special individuals who have come my way just when I needed them to do so desperately. One of those was “Miss Kerr”.

I was having trouble adjusting to my new world after moving to the Ottawa area in 1969. Was having difficulties in other areas too. Miss Kerr taught only one year at the Greely Public School. (1971). She was a large, “husky” woman (about fifty years old at the time), who always wore a Scottish skirt and fluffy blouse. She was as strong as an ox. As tough as one too, I bet.

Looked more like a man then most men. Was as tough as my Dad, and likely was more of a man than most men. (Especially compared to a lot of men today.)

She would pick you up by her left hand if you were in trouble. By her right, if she was angry. Once, she burst through a crowd of students who were cheering on a fight and picked up both combatants, then carried them back inside the school. Did I mention she was tough? She would surely be a welcome sight if she was on your side on a battle field.

She was strict, but fair. Feared, but respected. And regarded each student individually. She made sense and we all felt secure. Throughout her career, she had taught all over Canada. Never married, nor ever wanted to stay in one place too long. Knew more about hockey than the boys did. Loved going to Ottawa 67’s games, but hated fighting in the sport. Used to show us slides and films from places where she had been and taught. This thrilled me.

Like I mentioned, I had troubles. One day, she ordered me into her office. Said: “Boy, we gotta talk.” Thought I was dead! Throughout the next hour she spoke to me as no one had ever in my short eleven years. By the end, she was holding me as I cried into her ample bosom.

“Young men like you are born with small frames with big shoulders. And, in time, you will carry much, and yourself, well on them, because this is simply who you are and what God made you. One day, you will be wonderfully rewarded.”

Over the years, I have often thought of her. What happened to her? Of the many she touched.

Yes, Angels do (as the Bible states) sometimes walk amongst us.

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