here’s to mrs. funston

5 Jun

Thanks, [Mrs. Funston]

When I was younger, I’d just read books to myself
Then you said, “here’s a string, here’s a bow, let’s entertain ourselves.”
You had history and knowledge,
Lord, you must’ve had some patience
So thank you, [Mrs. Funston]
For gettin’ me into this…

Cause this is all that I know how to do
All I have wouldn’t be here unless you
Had opened up a world
That I’d never seen
And guided me, guided me

I drove up the hillside, just to see if you were home
But the door was locked, so I went and knocked at your neighbors, who lived next door,
And she said “Oh, I think [she’s] passed on.”
That, “[she’s] reached the pearly gates.”
So, sorry [Ms. Funston],
It appears I’m much too late

I’d like to thank my mother
I’d like to thank my [brother]
I’d like to thank you, [all]
But if it all comes down to one person,
Then there’s just one name that is hurtin’
To be said…so I’ll take this time to share it

Thanks, [Mrs. Funston]

Original lyrics ‘Thanks, Mr. Skerzick’ by Autumn Sky. Listen to the song here.

I just found out that my favourite English teacher from East High School passed away. I couldn’t believe the news (Cheryl Funston). It always seems this way. Right now, I’m not sure what to say. Silence. I try remembering everything about Mrs. Funston and freshman year in Honors English. I remember staying up late, working on the English projects I long procrastinated. I once drew my own map of Tom Sawyer past the darkest hours of the night. And I learned the most vocabulary words that year. I think I still have that orange vocabulary book somewhere in the stacks, too. Most notable from that year is learning Shakespeare. I remember how Mrs. Funston would bring Shakespeare alive. She turned Shakespeare into a language I could understand and care about. We watched the two versions of Romeo & Juliet, the older version being my favourite. One of my all time favourite stories we read was Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. Miss Havisham’s house turned into a dwelling I know all too well. I loved the way Mrs. Funston talked about how endearing Pip and his name is. I was more than surprised when we discussed several times how pop culture plays into literature, as well as everyday life. Oddly enough, the idea of pop culture, literature and life was something I never thought of or even crossed my mind until these discussions. In The Most Dangerous Game, she mentioned The Simpsons, Mr. Burns and his “send in the hounds” line. One of the only reasons I can remember Greek mythology in detail is the truth she explained behind the ungodly gods. I think all of us who were in that room must have gasped. The horror, the shock and unthinkably mischievous, unscrupulous gods. (Note: I actually did learn the word ‘scrupulous’ in that class). But all those stories and Mrs. Funston’s energetic and enthusiastic personality is what brought life to learning English. Without her, I wouldn’t have understood lots of things and maybe nothing at all. Her class on the fourth floor of East High was right across from Mrs. Collmar’s French class, where I spent a majority of my three and a half years. If I can remember, Mrs. Funston and I waved and exchanged hellos down the hall a dozen of times. Even the time my friends and I sluffed and returned with Jamba Juice in our hands.When I was a sophomore, I landed in an English class I wish I had never entered at the time. I went to Mrs. Funston and told her how much I missed her. And I truly did. I wish I would have known about Mrs. Funston’s health sooner. I would have thanked her. I would have said something to let her know how she changed my life. And over the next few days, I will be looking through my freshman Honors English binder to reminisce, to remember the good old days and all I learned and ever knew.

To Mrs. Funston, if you could somehow ever read this note, I would like to thank you. Thank you for caring so much about your students, sharing your brilliant knowledge, giving us an opportunity to learn, for all the laughs and smiles and many more. Thank you for believing in me. I have grown and learned because of you. You are missed and loved. Thank you for touching so many lives.


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