it is my custom on this day to eat some good chocolate, have a good cup of coffee, and date everything i write INTERNATIONAL SUSAN YOUENS DAY.
i also write to susan.
this is what i wrote to her this year:
do you have your decorations up?
i'm going to make this quick because i'm camping out tonight and it's going to be cold tonight.
my life is better because you were there. the lives of others are better because you were there. ripples spread.
it is a simple thing, and yet not.
i remember that time on an exam that (name redacted) wrote "i'm sorry, i don't remember", and you gave him half credit.
oh, how we laughed.
it was a laughter of joy and surprise and relief. it was the laughter of knowing that even if we forget some of the things we study, we're still going to be OK.
that lesson translated in odd ways to my work.
i think what i took from it was a willingness to allow students room to forget, or to try and fail and try harder. it was a lesson about generosity with the tools for success.
it is hard to describe exactly, but it was a beautiful moment in which all of us experienced relief and a desire to do better and a confidence that we could.
two and a half points. you gave him two and a half points on a five point question and the whole truth is he'd have done pretty well on the exam if you hadn't given him any points.
over the years i multiplied and redistributed those two and a half points because you taught me how.
today i spent some time visiting with my grandmother, who is ninety-five. i also hiked to a small pond out in the nowheres and it snowed.
each time today that i signed my name in a logbook, i also wrote INTERNATIONAL SUSAN YOUENS DAY, which will be a little bit of a head scratcher to people who come after me.
i don't care. let them google you if they want. it makes me laugh.
i hope it makes you laugh, too.
i hope you are well.
with respect and affection.