Personality Change

Day 21 Twenty-one Gun Salute

June 21, 1919. Admiral Ludwig von Reuter scuttled the German fleet in Scapa Flow, Orkney. The nine sailors killed were the last casualties of World War I.

In every war there are men and women worthy of honor for their sacrifices and bravery.

The Twenty-one gun salute is the military’s way of honoring someone. Who would you like to honor? Who do you consider a hero? Write about him or her.

Alternative: What would like to be honored for? How would you like to be honored?



Here’s another one that brings so many names to mind, it’s hard to choose. I think I’m going to dig back nearly 55 years ago.  I was a sophomore in high school, and our English teacher was new, fresh out of college. She was terrific. She had the gift of maintaining order in the classroom while having fun at the same time.

I already loved English, but that year was a turning point for me. Miss Rogness was encouraging on so many levels, and she was just what I needed that year.

I had spent most of my time being the shy, quiet one. I’m not sure exactly why that happened, but that was my  slot in the family.  Serious–and I can be, and often am. Shy–and I truly was, partly because I didn’t feel I had much to offer.  And I had really bad skin.  Quiet–for the same reason.

I loved to read, and I loved to write.   I had learned that I was kind of good at it in earlier years of English class, but with Miss Rogness I gained confidence.  She even shocked me by telling me that what I wrote often made her laugh.  I wasn’t the funny one.  I was the serious one.

It was because of Miss Rogness that I first got involved in a small play, enjoying the role of Pearl Pureheart. It was fun and silly.  By the time I was a senior, I’d landed the role of Eliza Dolittle in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.  That was the original play on which   My Fair Lady was based.   I loved it.  I really, truly loved it.

Previous to that, I believe in my junior year, the choir director cast me as Katisha in The Mikado.  I had always loved to sing, but I truly didn’t think I could ever do solo work, because I was an alto. A low alto. Things changed after that. The music director at church told me, “If you can do it for school, you can do it for church.”  For some reason, that made me a lot more nervous than I was when I sang for  a whole school auditorium full of people!

In the meantime, I was writing for the school newspaper, and eventually became first page editor.  I also worked on the layout staff for the yearbook, and became the editor for the layout staff.  And–I competed in speech contests, never dreaming I could win, but Miss Rogness told me I could, and she encouraged me, and I did win. All the way to state competition, where I came in second.

There were other teachers who encouraged me to go beyond what I ever thought I could do.  With Miss Rogness taking the lead, I’d like to send a 21-gun salute off to the teachers in my high school years who encouraged me, helped me grow, and helped me find that there was more inside me than I knew.

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.


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