About a year ago I picked up the phone and called Mrs. Neleigh. She was my literature teacher when I was a senior in high school in Greenville, Ohio. I had not spoken with her since June of 1977.
I said; “Hello, Mrs. Neleigh. This is Ken Pierpont, one of your students in 1977. Do you remember me?”
“I certainly do”, she said immediately. “Tall, blonde, right?”
“Didn’t you pastor a church while you were in High School? She asked.
It was nice that she remembered me.
Mrs. Neleigh was a good teacher with a real love for literature. I know she fueled in me an interest words and books, poetry and prose, reading and writing.
I always admired the way Mr. Neleigh read poetry with such expression. When she read a poem, she never overemphasized the meter or rhyme, but let them do their own work subtly. When she read a poem aloud in class it never sounded like doggerel.
She still teaches in Greenville. I wonder if her students appreciate her skill. To stir up in someone a life-long appreciation for beauty and a hunger for truth is no small thing.
I told Mrs. Neleigh what her influence and meant to me and thanked her for fueling in me an appreciation for literature. You never know quite how your life will influence the lives of others. I’d like to fuel an interest in books and writers, more than that my passion is to fuel a passion in the hearts of others for things eternal.
Kenneth L. Pierpont
Riverfront Character Inn
January 12, 2004