Favorite Teacher- Mrs. Mac

This one is hands down easy for me. My first grade teacher was Mrs. McGadney. I love, love, love her. She’s an amazing woman and so very brave. I didn’t even know it at the time, but she really was. It was the 1960s and I lived outside of Washington, D.C.- Yes, it was Northern Virginia and the schools were integrated but there were still prejudices and angst there over racial relations.

Mrs. Mac and I bonded the first day of school. I was super hyperactive and super intelligent. She knew how to handle a kid like me and she always found stuff to keep me busy. I’d taught myself to read before I started school, so she’d have me help the other students as they struggled to learn.

I learned to play the piano at her church and learned about the baptismal pool (we Methodists just sprinkle) and I can still smell that basement where the piano was. It was dank and dark and smelled of mildew but man, we had some good times there in that wood paneled room.

As time went on, several years later, she changed schools where she taught in one in the next county. They went on a year round schedule. When my school was out, I’d head over to hers and read to the younger kids and play with them on the playground.

I spent tons of time with Mrs. Mac and  her husband. They couldn’t have children and they begged my parents to let them adopt me. These people loved and adored me. I went everywhere with them and it never once dawned on me that people were staring at us because they were African-American and I was a little white girl. I just loved them and they loved me back.

As an adult, I look back and realize some of those looks we attracted were looks of anger and animosity.  I’m so grateful Mr and Mrs. Mac were brave enough to embrace the little kid I was and not let racial discord prevent them from making this little girl a part of their lives. 

I regret that I lost contact with Mrs. Mac after high school. I still have contact with Mr. Mac but they got divorced and she remarried. I have no idea where she is, but she’ll always be in my heart.  And I’m super grateful for my parents for raising me to not see color or race when I meet a person, but to see inside them to who they really are.

About Author

The author of these blog posts is a lawyer by day and fiction writer by night.
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10 Responses to Favorite Teacher- Mrs. Mac

  1. Micki Gibson says:

    Fantastic post, Jillian! I never had that outside-of-school relationship with any of my teachers. Heck, I never saw them outside of school! (Though I seemed to run into my students all the time. Usually when I was in the grocery store…buying wine.) Mrs. Mac sounds like she was an incredibly giving and wonderful lady.

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  2. jeff7salter says:

    Beautiful story.
    When I was in kindergarten in Macon GA, my dad was assoc. pastor at the Bapt. Church. I used to follow around the janitor and he was very kind to put up with me. He sometimes made me a little paper had made of a rolled-up paper sack. He made them seem so special. He, and the one or two ladies who I guess were ‘housekeepers’ at the church, were all very kind and I enjoyed being around them. Yeah, I had noticed they were a diff. color on the outside, but it simply was not an issue. And, fortunately, they didn’t make an issue of it. And neither did my parents.

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    • That’s awesome, Jeff. Great memories, right?

      I think there was actually more tolerance in the country in that era than the media let us believe. Imagine that- the media skewing the news. Not to minimize what happened as it was awful – all the strife, riots, cross burnings and killings were terrible but why does the news media always focus on the negative? I bet there are a lot of people like us that had wonderful friends of other races. I guess I was lucky not to be around those kinds of rabid fanatics that had such awful beliefs about other races.

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  3. danicaavet says:

    That’s a great, great story, Jillian. I grew up in a mostly African-American neighborhood. The little boy across the street was one of my best childhood friends and his mom would take me with them when they went to the mall, or visited family. Like you, I never noticed they were different. I just liked being with them.

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    • I’m sure it was much the same down in Louisiana as it was where I lived. I’m so glad we both were raised to ignore race and creed and to be tolerate of others. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why we get along so well.

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  4. Lavada Dee says:

    I love this blog and can see a story in it Jillian. It again made stop and be thankful that I’m truly colored blind. When it comes to ethnic differences I have to really work at seeing a different color.

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  5. rtreaders says:

    What an awesome relationship you had with this teacher, Jillian. I love hearing about treasured memories like this.

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    • I did have a spectacular relationship with her and she was even supportive when I moved to Florida in the 6th grade. She was a mentor to me even after the move. She was one special lady- I’m quite sure she’s still helping young people even now.

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