Looking at this old A&J from 1998, I think of my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Graham. Mrs. Graham sported pinkish hair, way ahead of its time, and drove a 1958 Oldsmobile whose color matched her hair. I kid you not. Mrs. Graham was kind enough, but she had a calm professional manner that did not instantly endear her to children of an age when favorite teachers all had a sweet side. But we 5th graders were growing up, and Mrs. Graham was the perfect teacher. She was the first teacher I remember who began to instruct us in the craft of writing. She introduced us to “themes,” which is what she called short essays. She encouraged us to reach, to think of verbs more descriptive than “went” or “said.” Mrs. Graham’s class was the first place it was noticed that I have a talent for this sort of thing, and Mrs. Graham did the noticing. I even worked dialog into some of my themes, complete with quote marks, and that had to be something she didn’t encounter every day. She even told me I had an ear for dialog. If she could see me now! I probably have not given her enough credit for her influence upon me.