For several years around Halloween, we visited Hillsborough Middle School.
Two outstanding teachers from that school, Ms. Moreno and Ms. Doyle, gave their students the opportunity to learn about folklore, history, legends and ghost stories. Specifically how those stories impact our culture around us. Hometown Tales helped that curriculum along with a yearly guest assembly.
The first year we did the assembly, we were at the height of our "Public Access" years with the Hometown Tales TV show that ran locally throughout much of NJ, NY and PA. Hillsborough, NJ had high viewership. The local papers joined our presentation at the school and we taped segments for an upcoming show. It was a great foray in to speaking engagements on behalf of Hometown Tales. We continued the tradition for years.
Last Fall, Ms. Doyle left a voicemail message saying she had been out of school for a few months with an illness but she was getting better and would be back soon. I returned the call, leaving a message for her indicating she was in my thoughts and prayers and for her to call back when she had a chance. Months went by and I had not heard. A common situation that we all probably encounter, the last few weeks, I had been thinking, "I need to call Ms. Doyle back" to see how she is. Just this morning, I received an email from Ms. Moreno. Ms. Doyle had passed away.
Bryan and I have been "swamped" with the regular chores of life the past year or so. This has made Hometown Tales pretty stagnant and quiet. Hometown Tales has been in sort of in limbo. Appropriately, I had recently been thinking of trying to get a reunion show recorded and perhaps even writing a blog entry about some of the coolest life experiences Hometown Tales has brought me. Coincidently, the honor of speaking to enthusiastic and inspiring 7th and 8th graders was one of them. I thoroughly enjoyed the speaking engagements at Hillsborough Middle School and greatly enjoyed spending my lunch break during those yearly presentation with a teacher who had such a passion and love for her students. She was dedicated to giving them an opportunity to learn and grow. In addition, she was a friend. Because while we only got to have lengthy conversation once a year at a hurried school lunch break. She always remembered details about what we had talked about years before. She always remembered I had a son, I was involved in my local town, she asked about my wife, our friends, our jobs and truly listened to the answers. She was often a good sounding board for career ideas, parenting tips and potential new stories for Hometown Tales.
A good teacher creates the environment for a student to learn and grow. He or she gives them the tools to think and expand their knowledge. Ms. Doyle was a great teacher not just to 7th and 8th grade student but to everyone around her because she listened and gave the person she was talking to the opportunity to think deeper, look further and learn more.
Ms. Doyle On behalf of Bryan and myself, who share your passion for history, folklore, learning and legends. Thank you.
Rest peacefully friend. The person you were made a difference in many lives. You will be greatly missed.