Thursday, April 17, 2008


Is there one teacher that you've had that really stands out in your
mind? Your absolute favorite teacher that taught you more than just
English, Math, Science, and History? For me, it's my sixth grade teacher,
Mrs. Vanmoerkerque. We called her Mrs. Lee. She was the teacher that
everyone dreaded until they had her and realized what she was really all
about. She tried to make us all better people and helped us stand up for
others and ourselves. I lived in England and went to school on an air
force base when I was 9-12 years old. Sixth grade was my last year there.
After that, I did not have contact with Mrs. Lee, which was
heartbreaking. She once invited my brother and I over to her house to play games.
It was then that she admitted that she tried to never have a "teachers
pet" but she said that I was by far her favorite. That made me feel
significant. She gave me a pair of earrings that her father had given
her. Amethyst stones. I still have them.
I have tried to find her since
high school, but to no avail. My mom and I would talk about how awesome
it would be to find her and invite her to my wedding, when that time
came. So when I got engaged, and was planning my wedding, I was sad that I
hadn't found her. So one day I, again, googled her last name and saw
Alex...was that her son's name? I wasn't sure! So I called my brother
and he said that was one of her boy's names. He had a myspace page, so I
went and looked. Without a doubt it had to be her son! He looked so
much like her! So I sent him a message, and sure enough it was! He gave me
her address and I sent her an invitation. I was so excited! A few days
later I get a call on my cell phone and a woman says, "Danielle, how
are you, dear? I knew it was you when I saw your eyes in the picture."
She had received my invitation. I had included a letter I wrote to thank
her for the extra time she spent and the boost of confidence she gave
me. She told me that no one had ever said anything that nice before.
She had looked up Rob's parents names from the wedding invitation, and
after a pleasant conversation with Rob's mom, got my cell phone number.
So now I am in contact with her again and it really makes me happy. I
have two cousins and an aunt that are also teachers. I am positive that
they are also these kinds of teachers. The ones that try really hard to
get through to their students and really make a huge, lasting impact in
their lives, without even knowing it.


Kris said...

I'm so glad you found her. Do you also remember the clothes she got you?

Danielle said...

Yeah, I remember she brought a big ol bag of clothes, and my Russian nesting doll....

Teachinfourth said...

I liked your blog. It made me remember a few teachers I've had in the past...and it makes me think of the students who will one day say, "Yeah, Mr. Z was my sixth grade teacher. I always thought he was really mean until I was in his class..."

Chris & Stephanie said...

I love that there are teachers who actually love what they are doing and you can tell they want to make an impact on their students lives. I am so glad you found her. I bet you made her day by searching and finding her.

Amanda Frank said...

Hello Danielle-
You dont know me, but I was brought to your page when I googled Lee vanMoerkerque for my job in the Alumni Office at Brimmer and May School. Lee attended our school in the mid-50's and I believe her to be the same wonderful teacher you mentioned in your blog. I'm so glad that you found her this spring and how nice it was for you to be able to speak with her...a heartwarming story.
It is with a heavy heart that I must tell you the Lee passed away this past Monday, July 21 after a lengthy illness. She no doubt was proud of you and equally happy to have been in touch with you. I am sorry for your loss of this wonderful person, and thank you for your thoughtful words here...I will certainly add some of them in a letter that I am putting together for some of her Brimmer and May classmates.

Again, i am sorry to have to share this sad news with you but after reading your blog, you I knew that you should know.

Very sincerely, Amanda Frank
Alumni Officer at The Brimmer and May School, Chestnut Hill MA

Danielle said...

Amanda- Thank you for leaving me that post. I didn't see this until after her son emailed me this last week. I'm grateful I was able to tell her how great I thought she was.