“Auntie” Hattie Phillips, my third grade teacher, passed away on July 13th, but it wasn’t until today that I finally mourned.
You may be wondering why my third grade teacher gets special mention. The reason is that she was a special woman. She touched the lives of thousands of students over the years, and 20 years ago I was lucky enough to be in her class. Let me put into perspective the odds against me: Our graduating class was over 400 students strong. Of the many possible teachers into whose classes I could have been placed, I ended up in hers.
Auntie Hattie was a wonderful, caring teacher, and a woman in whom life was unbelievably abundant. She had an infectious smile, a joyous laugh, and I honestly can’t remember a time when she was upset (even when I accidentally pulled a chair out from under her just as she was sitting down).
I don’t remember the last time I saw her before I moved away from Hawaii, but I’ll never forget the last time I saw her. It was at my 10 year high school reunion, and when I saw her, I nearly ran up to her. As I approached, she saw me coming, dramatically held up a hand, and covered her eyes. “Don’t tell me!” she shouted. After a few seconds she pointed at me and said, “Tommy!” I was shocked. Of the thousands of students she taught before and after me, mine was a name and face she never forgot.0 People like this. Be the first!