February 9, 2005

Dear Jennifer and Michael,

          I haven't known what to say about the tragic loss of your mother. I am so sorry for your loss. She was such a special lady, not because she was friends with my mom, but because she was truly special. I thought I would tell you some of the cherished memories I have.

          To this day, I can't call your mom Bette, because she has always been Mrs. Pinkerton to me. Over the years of my adult life, she would ask me to call her Bette, and my response was always the same, "I can't, you are Mrs. Pinkerton." She would laugh and say, "You are such a good boy." She would always take credit for anything good I may have done. She would say that I did that well because of the training I received in 4th and 5th grade. Much of those words are true; I am a better person because she was involved in my education. I remember a time when I forgot to do my homework. The typical consequence for such behavior was a detention. Those of us who didn't do their homework were to line up at her desk and receive our detention notices after school On this particular day, I thought I could weasel my way out of the detention. I waited until all the students had left the room (because I knew she wouldn't be able to play favorites with everybody watching), and I quietly went to to her desk and was very apologetic to her for not doing my homework. She was in the process of filling out the detention notice when she said, "You learned your lesson" then tore up the detention sheet and threw it in the trash. I left the room feeling relieved, knowing I had weaseled my way out of detention. I thought it was a great day because I pulled one over on your mom. I told your mom that story at one of her retirement parties a few years ago. She laughed and said that I owed her a detention but said she would take a coffee instead. I quickly brought her a coffee and was glad to have that guilt off my chest from 20 years ago. The thing I remember the most of your mom was the creative side of her. She always was creating things in class for us. One year, she taught the guys how to sew. It was a requirement that we know how to sew. She brought in the example of several Ram football players sewed, and thy were big mean football players. She said it was ok for guys to know how to sew. She had the whole class sew likenesses of ourselves and these likenesses were sitting in our seats during back to school night. The picture that is included is a reminder of that event. She turned sewing into a fun event for me. These are just a few of the many memories I have of your mom.

          In your time of grief and sorrow, I want to share just a few precious memories I have of your mom. Your mom was very special. She was not just a teacher; she was an example. Her character showed brightly to her students to those of us who were able to know her in a personal way. Thank you for the gift of your mom. My thoughts and prayers have been with you this past week.

Thank you,

Andy Gibeault