My high school teacher Linda Batty died in April. I was in one of her classes during my senior year at Claremore High, the year before she retired from the schools.
Batty lived across the street from my dad, in a small house full of knick-knacks, mementos, records, and opinionated cats. I would visit her in the evenings. She took me to the Tulsa Central library for the first time, and introduced me to new books and music. She was one of the first people I had met who was as deeply engaged with people and things around her as she was with the world beyond Claremore, Oklahoma. Batty was the role model I needed at that time in my life: someone with a view of possibilities.
Although we corresponded occasionally in the years after I graduated, I hadn’t seen or spoken with Batty for twenty years before I made a trip home in January. I had a feeling I should get in touch, and I’m glad I did. We spent hours talking about her life, the choices she made, the people she’d known. I came away with a deeper appreciation of who she was, and the impact she’s had on my life.