Teacher Appreciation Week just ended. This year, it went from May 8 to May 12. I taught elementary school for six years before I had my girls. Unfortunately for me, the laws in my state changed so that teachers didn’t need Master’s Degrees anymore, and I couldn’t get hired back, as I’d planned, once my girls were both in school. It was cheaper to hire someone new. But I still respect and admire teachers. That’s why I made Miriam a high school English teacher in my fifth Mill Pond romance.
Growing up, I had many wonderful teachers, but I decided to base Miriam on Mrs. Decker, who taught high school English. She was sweet and charming, but Lord help the student who turned in a paper with too many grammatical mistakes. I used her rule as Miriam’s. If she assigned a ten-page paper, you were allowed to make ten mistakes. When she reached the eleventh error, she circled it in red and put a huge red F on that page. She didn’t even finish reading whatever we’d turned in. She often told us she graded content, not things we should already know.
Mrs. Decker was happily married to our high school principal. No one caused trouble in her classes. No one would cause trouble for Miriam either. She’s one of those teachers who can command respect with the raise of an eyebrow. But she never married, and she doesn’t expect to. At almost six feet tall and beanpole thin, she doesn’t consider herself alluring.
In FIRST KISS, ON THE HOUSE, the school year is coming to an end. So is the school year here. It reached 70 degrees today, and people were outside, working in their yards. I braved my leg and went out to work in my flowerbeds. My daffodils have already bloomed, and I wanted to trim their leaves–and the leaves of the “magic lilies”–so that the plants trying to grow near them would get enough sun. I had to be careful because all of my purple allium (long stalks with rounds balls of small purple flowers) are blooming. They spread a lot this year, so I had to work around them.
My flowerbed is a hodgepodge of perennials that spread so that they’re never where I planted them. Miriam has the same problem. Just like me, she loves Agatha Christie and wants an English garden. She might have discipline in her classroom, but it’s harder in a flowerbed. For me, it’s hopeless. My tall phlox reseed and grow roots underground to pop up where I never expected them. My daylilies would gladly eat their neighbors. No matter. Wherever they are, they’re pretty.
I hope wonderful teachers bless your or your children’s lives. Miriam’s story will be available on June 27, but in the meantime, if you’re a reviewer, FIRST KISS, ON THE HOUSE is available on NetGalley. Enjoy the warmer temperatures, and happy reading or writing!
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