In Dianne H. Lundy’s memoir, a Louisiana country girl shows determination and tenacity in a narrative that often addresses God, who she feels watches over her.
Just out of college, Lundy (then Hollis) hopes to teach home economics. An added teaching certification in science lands her a job at a Lake Charles’ school, where she inherits two home economics classes in addition to her science assignments. But she soon searches for a position closer to home and becomes intent on finding a social life where she can meet eligible men. She gains employment at a junior high, but with new ‘60s’ desegregation laws, Lundy is transferred to a substandard, primarily black-populated school.
While some family members worry for her safety, Lundy isn’t fearful. “All teaching is a baptism by fire,” she notes, ready for the challenge. Six weeks, later, though, she’s sent back to her former school. Lundy soon learns to keep her things in a cardboard box, since the school board is constantly changing her placement.
From cookie bake-offs and class trips, to drunken strangers jumping through class windows, student scuffles, digging up supplies for students in financial need, and more, Lundy ultimately proves a confident, smart, and savvy teacher. Throughout, she looks to God for guidance, her thoughts relayed in italics: “God I don’t know what you have in mind for me … I don’t know where this relationship with Rick is going … Please continue to guide me … . ” Ultimately, she finds love and marriage.
The memoir provides an equal mix of classroom vs. family/dating material. The narrative is clear and well-paced with genuine dialogue (although a family reunion with mention of numerous relatives and reminiscences is rather cumbersome). Proofreading is necessary, however, to correct added or missing words.
Although set in an earlier era, Lundy’s book should prove enjoyable reading for both new and seasoned educators.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.