Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Reality Can Screw With Your Memories

I recently learned that my 8th grade English teacher, someone who had helped inspire me to become a writer, was arrested for allegedly sexually molesting a male student back in 1998. My best friend, who was inspired by this teacher to get a degree in Education, called my attention to the newspaper article about it. We were both shocked. SHOCKED.

This man has not been convicted, so I don't know if he actually did what he was accused of doing, but as another classmate pointed out, his life is ruined whether he did it or not. Being accused of such a thing, whether convicted or not, is a kiss of death in the community. If he did in fact molest this young man, the creative writer in me wants to get inside my former teacher's head and discover how someone could get to that point of committing such a reprehensible act. Was he molested as a young man? Was his heart so shattered and the pain repressed that he felt compelled to act out? What scarring event(s) could prompt such a thing? I don't mean to imply that there could ever be a reason for molesting a child. There isn't. I just like to know a character's motivation.

This instructor had not been out of college that long when he was my teacher. He was young, healthy, thin and had a twinkle in his eye. I had a bit of a crush on him. He was a baton twirler and twirled flaming batons at our high school's football games. The photograph of him in the newspaper made my skin crawl, not because he looked puffy, old and haggard. He did appear that way, but I shuddered because I knew that this sad looking old man was the person who had enlivened and inspired me all those years ago.

Sometimes reality can really screw with your memories. If my 7th grade Social Studies teacher and 10th grade English teacher ever get arrested for some unspeakable felony, I hope I never learn about it.


Blogger Melissa Marsh said...

Aw, Diane, so sorry to hear about this.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Diana Celesky said...

It's weird to learn that someone you once respected could have possibly committed such an unconscionable act. I always thought that people that abused children were some kind of alien-looking creatures that hung out in dark alleys at night, not people you interacted with on a regular basis. My horizons have definitely been expanded.

3:10 PM  
Blogger Robin L. Rotham said...

I had kind of the opposite experience. My junior high school gym teacher was forever annoyed with me for finishing last when we did distance running. I told her I just couldn't get enough air and had to stop and walk a lot, but she gave me a hard time all three years. (As an adult, I was diagnosed with very low lung capacity and exertional asthma.)

When I was in college, I saw her on the news -- she and her husband had been arrested as part of a major theft ring. I felt no pity for her when she was convicted. Karma really does have a way of biting people on the behind.

1:49 PM  
Blogger Diana Celesky said...

Wow. I don't blame you for not feeling any pity for your former teacher, Robin. I know karma works, and I always welcome the opportunity to see it play out on the other end, like you did with your teacher.

Now if I could only learn the follow up chapter of the ex-husband who abandoned me for a married woman after I'd just started my own business . . . .

10:57 AM  
Blogger Robin L. Rotham said...

Sounds like the plot for a great story to me, Diana! :D

10:47 PM  
Blogger Robin L. Rotham said...

Dang it, I didn't mean to hit publish -- I wasn't done yet! I was going to say, you could write some really nasty end for him. Now that's my idea of writing fun. :D

10:49 PM  
Blogger Diana Celesky said...

Yes, I do believe the ending I create for my ex in fiction will be far more entertaining (translation: worse) than what the Universe will give him in physical reality. Thanks for the encouragement.

9:00 AM  

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