St. Patrick’s Day and Mrs. O’Donnell

When I was growing up I was told that everyone is Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day.  My family would celebrate with corned beef and cabbage and everyone would wear green and buttons that said “Kiss Me I’m Irish”.

And oddly enough, St. Patrick’s day brings back memories of my 4th grade teacher.  I still think she was  my most favorite teacher ever as she added in fun throughout the year.  And even with a class of 60 students and a classroom that was actually the stage in the auditorium, complete with curtain and circular staircase, as we were outgrowing our school, she never got upset.  And we were a rowdy, talkative bunch, a group of children in the 60’s in a Catholic school.

Her name was Mrs. O’Donnell and my favorite memory of her is St. Patrick’s Day.  She changed everyone’s name for that week in March to begin with an “O”.  I remember writing my new name all week on every paper we did.  And all week long, when she called on us to answer a question, she used our new “O” name.   She also taught us Irish songs, like “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling”.

Another memory I have of that wonderful year is that two of the boys in the class were “wannabe musicians” and had  a guitar and drums and she would let them play, regularly.  I think we all thought they were the next “Beatles”.  She definitely was an encourager.

And fondly enough, I remember that year, which was about 40some years ago every St. Patrick’s Day, like it was yesterday. I don’t recall it being overcrowded, noisy or inconvenient to be on the stage.  I recall a teacher who loved her job, her students and who knew how to be happy.  She made me want to be a teacher and happily I am and hopefully I am filling her shoes.

Thanks Mrs. O’Donnell, we  all love you!

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