When I was in 8th grade, my teacher assigned us an “Inspirational Woman Essay”. This is what I wrote and earned a scholastic gold key for. It is very important to have female role models who shape who we are.
For years I read books aimlessly until I met the woman who truly educated me in the art of literature. Mrs.Bogen was the rainbow that appears in the sky on a sunny, dry morning; welcome yet unexpected. She was a mystery we all understood. It was common knowledge that she had children, and that she had lived with them in England, but no one knew when or how many. Once, we were told that she had lived in Australia and owned a green Vespa, but it was hard for all of Sacred Heart to imagine Mrs.Bogen living anywhere other than her classroom. Everyone had simply assumed that she had been born with a hello-kitty bow on her silver gray hair, ready to give candy to anyone who needed it, and that she would remain this way for the next hundred years.
Mrs.Bogen, with her flowered sweaters and bright colored shirts taught me more about the world of books than the authors themselves. I learned from her that books aren’t just words to be analyzed and processed, but worlds to explore several times over. She lectured me on how deep a combination of twenty-six letters can go and on how beautifully powerful words can be.Thanks to her I understood that when an author writes ‘window’ she doesn’t mean a piece of glass to look out of, but a glimpse of freedom or an opportunity for change; and that a green leaf isn’t different from a brown leaf because of its color, but because one symbolizes life and the other does death. She helped me master the art of symbolization.
It was an honor to receive Mrs.Bogen opinion about anything. Her calling you a “ding-dong” was like having anyone else call you “dearest”, “darling” or “honey-pie”; when she said it you were more than merely a pupil. Whenever Mrs.Bogen chose to ask me what I was reading and what I thought, I wanted to hug her and thank her for asking me instead of the other girls. It was the greatest gift she could have ever given me.
Mrs.Bogen was a long, unfinished book; she had already lived and told her stories yet somehow I knew that in a few years she would have lived another five lives and have a million more tales to reveal. Her to do list was longer than the depth of any of her conversations. She lead the kind of life anyone would have been lucky to achieve.
In the social hierarchy of Sacred Heart teachers Mrs.Bogen wouldn’t be found in the actual pyramid, but in her own little triangle of art and poetry. She was never everyone’s favorite teacher, but those who loved her, adored her. Most parents thought she was the best thing that had ever happened to Sacred Heart because she was. Everyone wanted to know what she thought of their work and what she had to say about their writing; even if it wasn’t always positive or near to sympathetic. She wasn’t afraid of hurting you so long as it strengthened you in the future.
If I had never met Mrs.Bogen I would still be meaninglessly studying words instead of venturing into worlds and looking deeper than the surface of an author’s sentence. She built me numerous windows and opened countless doors. Without her guidance books wouldn’t be as vivid and vibrant as the aurora itself.