Best. Teacher. Ever.

In October 1966 I turned eight years old and was attending Mrs. Naber’s third grade class at Healdsburg Elementary School. That December I came down with yet another case of what my mother affectionately referred to as “the flu bug.” I seemed to catch every virus that passed through town and would typically miss one or two weeks of school a couple of times each year. My mother had developed a procedure to ensure that I did not lag behind in my school work. She would visit my classroom every few days to pick up my assignments, bring them home for me to complete, and then return them to my teacher to be graded. Since I was going to have to do the work anyway, there would be no benefit in malingering to extend my time away from school, so I was usually back up and around in a week or ten days. But this time my flu bug wasn’t clearing up.

One evening my fever spiked and my parents rushed me to the emergency room where the young, new-in-town Dr. Nick Grace confirmed that my appendix was inflamed and that I would need to have emergency surgery to remove it. I was in the hospital for about ten days recovering. One day my mother brought me a wonderful surprise from my classmates to accompany my usual homework assignment.

It was a hand made get well card. Made from a huge piece of butcher paper. (Click on the images to get a closer look.)

And when unfolded, it revealed the work of each of my classmates.

Even our teacher Mrs. Naber had added her self portrait!

And still it unfolded, and unfolded…

Until the final reveal…

Credit for the drawing of Santa Claus was given to Joe Domenichelli.

But as far as I am concerned, I give all the credit to the Best. Teacher. Ever. Mrs. Fern Naber.

And I have to hand it to my mother who had the presence of mind to fold this precious artifact up and put it away so that I could enjoy it all these decades later.

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