Back in 1997

Mrs. Halverson.

By Christy Rasmussen-Ford

Am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been, have, had, has, do, does, did, can, could, shall, should, will, would, may, might, must.

These are the verbs of being.

I have them memorized. If you stop me at the store and ask me to recite them (and I’m sure some of you will now), I can do it in 5 seconds. I know because I just timed myself. Note to self: You need more hobbies.

So where did I acquire this amazing talent? In the seventh grade. Put into perspective; I have no idea what I had for breakfast yesterday, I can barely remember my children’s names if I haven’t been caffeinated and it takes me a solid 5 minutes to think of my full anniversary date … but I remember the verbs of being from almost 20 years ago.

If this impresses you, then you were not fortunate enough to have been taught by the lovely Mrs. Halverson. For everyone else who had the privilege of being in her class, you understand.

Mrs. Halverson MADE students learn. And I don’t mean in a threatening way as in, “Learn this or be forced to clean gum off desks every day until you graduate!” No, I mean that you couldn’t avoid learning in her class because she was very gifted and amazing teacher. The fact that I also remember the project in which we were taught the verbs of being proves this.

We were put into groups of four and instructed to come up with skits. There were no rules other than the skits had to include ALL of the verbs. Well, I’m sure there were some kind of unspoken rules such as no swearing, but make no mistake that IF the swearing was appropriate and IF it taught the students, she would have probably looked the other way.

Sadly, I cannot remember my skit, but I do remember another skit. Four very well-known seventh-grade boys dressed in full Spartan cheerleading outfits, complete with skirts and pompoms, put on an impressive cheerleading routine that I’m fairly certain was later plagiarized by the high school cheerleaders of that time. For the record, I do have pictures of these boys. If anyone is interested, I am easily bribed.

have pictures of these boys. If anyone is interested, I am easily bribed.

Later, as I became an adult (by technicality only), Mrs. Halverson continued to make an impression on me. When I finally decided to stop avoiding college, she was my No. 1 cheerleader (minus the skirts and pompoms that the seventh-grade boys had). In a long conversation at a restaurant, she told me that it was never too late to go after one’s dreams and that I had not wasted time putting off college, but instead had gained life experience. These were much-needed words for a girl with a guilty conscience for wasting scholarships.

Cliché or not, the world was a far better place with her in it. Rest easy, Mrs. Halverson, and know that you made a huge impact on everyone you met.

For information on those pictures, or for questions or comments, please e-mail me at [email protected]