I went to school in a little country town on the prairie, where we had a no-nonsense English teacher named Mrs. Brannon, who dedicated her life to teaching the 12 kids in my class to read and write. She had us every year of high school.

The afternoon of the day we were to graduate, she called up my father and told him that I had never turned in a homework essay, and that unless I finished it in time for her read and grade it, I would not be allowed to graduate.

My father was furious. I didn't hear what he said to her, but when I found out about the incident I walked over to her house to find her sitting on her front porch crying. I apologized for my father's rude behavior, said I'd go home and write the essay. I hand delivered it to her, she gave me a B+ and referred me to some grammar points which she had me re-study on the spot, checked me out on them herself, and walked with me to the school to inform the principal that I had finished her course and could graduate.

We should have such teachers now, but that's another story.