I lost my mother, Celia Houston, to lung cancer in 2000. She was a mother, grandmother and school teacher in Charlotte, who had already survived an oral cancer. At 61, she had a lot more to do in this life.
It took a great sense of humor to teach middle school, but it was work my mother was made for. She loved 12-14-year-olds – the way they could be cuddly, timid and childlike one minute, and then very bold and “grown-up” the next. She lived to teach English, and loved reading all those essays, book reviews and reports, and watching her students blossom from exposure to great literature and learning how to write. She taught William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and showed her classes the 1969 film (my favorite) – always fast-forwarding through the “naughty” parts.