Photo: The author and her sisters.
I wanted to be just like her, I still do.
Off of 7th St. and Hatcher in Phoenix, a young family living in a small duplex apartment had a little girl. Her dad was an immigrant from Mexico working hard as a cook at Marie Callendar’s. Every morning her mom would walk her, pushing her two other sisters in a stroller, to her Head Start classroom. There she would learn and grow with the help of a loving teacher, a teacher who she still remembers today.
That little girl was me and my teacher—I couldn’t tell you her name. But I do remember the very fine details that capture her existence. I know she was young and beautiful to my 4-year-old self. She had shiny red nails and long, wavy blonde hair. Her yellow Jeep seemed full of adventure. But most of all I remember the feeling of warmth, gentleness, vibrancy, and excitement she gave me. She made me feel hope.
This anonymous Head Start teacher has no idea that with hard work, sweat, and long hours the little brown eyed girl’s father was able to create a career and her family was able to move. Or that the little girl eventually graduated Summa Cum Laude from a university. Or that the little girl, whom statistics could have claimed, now has a preschool classroom of her own.