We’ve lived in the small town of London for almost forty years, and having taught thousands of students, I run into them almost everywhere—at the grocery store, in the park, at a concert, in the doctor’s office, and on the street.
“Mrs. Swartz,” someone will call.
My grandchildren nod knowingly and say, “A student!”
And they’re usually right, although it could be a parent of a student. The parents also call me Mrs. Swartz.
But across the country at Crater Lake?
We were standing on the rim of the volcano-turned lake trying to take a selfie and looking quite awkward doing it.
A friendly woman left her small group and asked, “Would you two like some help?”
And after the photo shoot, we stood there with her group, basking in some Midwest friendliness and narrowing down our common geographies—from Ohio to central Ohio to Madison County and—we couldn’t believe it—to London. And that’s when we started on names.
It turned out that I taught their nephew Billy in the gifted program of London City Schools during his middle school years. So besides the picture she took for Steve and me, the friendly woman took a group picture of all of us to prove to Billy that we met, not at the London Kroger, but at Crater Lake.
Who would have thought?
More than two thousand miles from home and 7000 feet higher in elevation, where snow is already on the ground (with another 559 inches to come this season) and the sky and the lake (the deepest in the country) combine to create the bluest place I’ve ever seen, I was still a teacher and not that far from my hometown, where the fields are golden and the trees are scarlet and the creeks are muddy and the land is flat.