It is quite enough that my favorite high school teacher reads my blog. I get a little thrill when I see a “like” or a comment from Gladys Wisnefski because I know how smart she is. (And then I briefly panic and re-scan the post to check for errors, because I am also still the 16-year old who, 39 years ago, forgot to read the assigned pages in her novel and is about to badly bluff her way through an essay test.)
Good teachers rock and the very best of them rock eternally.
So, really, the gift of Señora Wisnefski’s lifelong influence is plenty.
Then, I opened an email from her with a mysterious subject “sopresa” (who doesn’t love surprises?) and the following message:
Right here, in Cancún, Mexico, yesterday I saw something
that made me think of you…so, I bought it. Now I have a gift for you
and a book about Singapore to loan you…
The gift is something you should get NOW.
Love to Peggy and Kathy,
Intrigued I caught up with Mrs. Wiz after she returned to Wisconsin. We met in the YMCA lobby, where she had just wrapped up a yoga class, generally followed by water aerobics. Turns out the very energetic professora stays sharp and slim by spending three hours a day at the Y and by remaining active on the lecture circuit.
We chatted a little as I carefully peeled back the wrapping paper (which was also special, having been designed and printed by the St. Labre Indian School). Believe me, I was already touched by the whole situation and the visit alone made my day. Then, I pulled out the coolest Packer backpack I’ve ever seen.
“I saw it in a market in Mexico and I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I thought of you right away and I decided to buy it for you. But, when I went back the next day it was gone. So, I talked to the guy and he said he would make me another one and bring it to me. But, he wanted me to pay for it ahead of time. I said, ‘I can’t do that because how do I know you will bring it to me?’ He said, ‘You should trust me.’ I said, ‘Yes, well you should trust me too. You should trust that I will pay you for it when you bring it to me.’
Sidenote: Señora Wisnefski taught all of us to barter in markets when she prepped us for our class trip to Guatemala. While unfailingly polite and fair, she is also no pushover.
In the end, they split the difference and she gave the merchant half of the cost upfront and told him she would pay the rest when he delivered the backpack.
Happily, he returned late the next day with the backpack and she gave it to me just in time for me to bring it to Lambeau for the playoff game on Sunday. (I know all about the carry-in rules at the stadium, but I do intend to bring the bag to the tailgate party just outside the stadium, and I will wear it all around town, especially in downtown Appleton Sunday morning so any passing Seahawks can see it and know that the Packers have an international following.)
Muchas gracias por mi sorpresa y por la educación de mi vida.
¡Vamos Pack Vamos!