Monday, January 6, 2014

In memory of Hermana

You'd have to be an extraordinarily faithful LTSGW follower to remember that I wrote about Hermana Marietta in January 2008, but I'm going to do it again today, six years later.

Marietta, a marvelous language teacher, was my 9th grade Latin teacher and a fellow teacher of Spanish when I joined that school's staff a few years later. She spoke at least four languages fluently (including Latin!)and had unique teaching aids that her students, I'm sure, recalled and appreciated more in their 30s and 40s than they did as young teenagers. One was this: every year she gathered up all the Christmas cards that she could find that included the Magi on them. Her post-Christmas lesson plans included stories and translations of Epiphany and Wise Men, aided by these visuals. To this day not a Christmas goes by that I don't think of her annual gathering.

In this same vein I have my own Christmas "tradition" which is to select my favorite card from the 100s that come in the monastery or in my own mail and hang onto it for a few months as a memory of the beauty of the time of year. This year it's one of the Magi.

It's from France, the monastery of a group of 38 Bernardine sisters from the Monastere N. D. de la Plaine--members of the Cistercian family.

Hermana will also be remembered for her malapropisms. We used to wonder if she had so many translations in her head that words just came out in unique patterns even she couldn't control. Luckily, her sense of humor matched her language talent. Here's one of her best: One day she put up a note asking for a ride to a funeral home for the viewing of a women she knew. She wrote: "Can anyone give me a ride to Mrs. Walker's viewing? She is being laid out at Russell Stover's." She was really being viewed at Russell Schmidt's Funeral Home, not at the candy store of Russell Stover's!