It’s back-to-school time, and thus it is time to thank your teachers, the ones who made a difference. Maybe they made you feel special, or they were characters, or they offered something others didn’t.

I’d like to think I made an impression on some of my students. I guess I did to Tina Audette, who approached me in line at Wendy’s to ask if I had been a teacher at Edward Little High School.

“Yes,” I answered, not recognizing her at first, but then it had been over 30 years ago. She remembered me for being young and fun, she said. Young I’m not, but maybe still fun?

Now it’s my turn to give credit and thanks to some of my teachers and professors. I was able to tell Mrs. Perry, my sophomore English teacher at South Portland High, I appreciated her help with and support of my writing — and for her admiration of my clothes.

But sadly, I never took the chance to thank Mr. Andy Hemond, my French teacher and yearbook advisor, for his support and encouragement. Instead I told his family at the funeral home.

Anyone growing up in the ’50s in South Portland who liked going to school owed it to their sub-primary teacher at Roosevelt, Miss Merrill. She made you like learning and looking at her pretty clothes and matching flashy shoes didn’t hurt, either.

My fifth grade teacher at Brown, Miss Rosemary Athas, was a very special person. She saw the possibilities in an awkward 10-year old.

I never forgot that she told Claudia Hews and me we were the “lives of the party” at a classroom gathering. And she brought me back a souvenir poem from Longfellow’s House when I was sick the day of the field trip.

Miss Mary State, my junior and senior English teacher at South Portland High School, showed me that being single didn’t necessarily mean you were an old maid. School barely out, she’d speed out of the parking lot in her red convertible.

Professors at USM I’ll always be grateful to include: Al Duclos, for his mesmerizing voice; Lucia DiBennedetto, for her big-city style; John Jacques, for his knowledge and appreciation of Thoreau; James Lewisohn, for his flamboyant teaching style of poetry; and most recently, Dick Coffin, for letting me revisit the 1960s as a middle-aged woman in his Literature of the ’60s class.

There were many notable professors at UMO, but those I want to pay tribute to are Sandy Ives and Vincent Hartgen for being good professors but also being legends. Dr. Jane Kenda introduced me to famous women writers in her Women Writers course in 1973. And I have to praise Dr. Anthony Herbold, not just for his teaching and quoting lines of Shakespeare, but for his having a leading man’s handsome face.

So don’t wait to tell those special teachers you appreciate them. Hearing from you now might make a difference in their lives, too.

– Special to the Telegram