Seventh letter

Dear Brenda,

I first met you when I was feeling very low. I was half way through my A’ levels and I was struggling. Retrospectively I don’t know if I was struggling because I felt low or whether or not I would have struggled anyway. But that aside, you tutored me, and I am truly grateful.

To me, you came across as a literary giant. I had never before had the opportunity to speak to someone with such an incredible knowledge of literature. And politics. And art. And theatre. You were (and very much still are) a legend in my eyes.

You gave me hours and hours of your time. You gifted me the first educational environment where I felt my voice mattered. At school, I felt too scared to talk, too scared to voice my opinion for fear of ridicule. I also speak too fast, too quiet and if I get either stressed or excited, I sometimes skip words. You were patient with me, and with time, I started to feel a confidence that I had not previously felt with regard to my work. I felt passionate.

I loved hearing about your past, working as a teacher on the ‘Old Kent Road’ in London. Working in a place that required teachers to be of an extra level of resilience. I love how, even now, students that you taught from years ago, are still in touch, such was the impression that you had on them. I count myself among these fortunate people. You naturally inspire and gently encourage, whilst always having a level of forthrightness that is so often absent in people. You spoke directly to me, never down to me. You made me feel as if I had potential to grow, rather than someone simply marking time. You are magic.

Hearing about all of your travels, your amazing lump of iron pyrite on your shelf, your experiences during evacuation. All of these were always shared with an honesty that was not coloured by emotion but told through your illuminated wit and wryness that makes you such a phenomenal story teller. Spending time with you feels like an adventure.

And thank you for all the amazing people that you have introduced me too. You bring people who love you together.

All my love.xx

Map Point. Which people have I carried with me since childhood?




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