I Love You, Madeline Chrytzer!

9 Feb

There was a lovely, thought-provoking article in this morning’s USA Today about thanking the teachers that inspired us.

Like the article’s author, there were several teachers and professors that inspired and mentored me, both academically and personally.

However, there was only one Mrs. Chrytzer.

Madeline Chrytzer was my fourth-grade teacher and undoubtedly the singularly most influential teacher I’ve ever had. Why? It can be summed up in one brief conversation: one afternoon, I walked up to Mrs. Chrytzer’s desk and told her how much I loved books. I can vividly recall how excited and passionate I was about my little declaration, which probably startled Mrs. Chrytzer, being that I was definitely one of her quiet, shy kids who hardly said anything at all. But that day, I couldn’t help myself. I told Mrs. Chrytzer how books and stories were my favorite things in the world.

You know what, Girley? One day, you can write books, too.

(She didn’t call me Girley, but that’s my online moniker. Onwards.)


Of course, you can. You can write the same kind of books that you love.

Many, many years later, I still remember every aspect of that conversation. I remember her kind face, her kind eyes, how she smiled at my shock, how she repeated that, yes, one day I could become an author, too. She was aware of my gigantic imagination, of the books I devoured, of how going to the library was the most exciting part of the day for me. She was simply aware.

Thank you, Mrs. Chrytzer, wherever you are! I love you! Thank you for assuring that wide-eyed 9 year-old girl that she could follow in the footsteps of the same authors that brought so much joy and wonder into her little life. I never question where my genesis as a writer began: it began in your classroom.

*Honorable Mention: Mrs. Kristin Leedom, my 11th grade English teacher. If Mrs. Chrytzer inspired the genesis, Mrs. Leedom gave me a significant tool to put it all together: translating my love of writing into a viable college major (English).


6 Responses to “I Love You, Madeline Chrytzer!”

  1. nikayuedan February 11, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

    Love this. Have you ever written her or sent her your book? Mr. Freeman (my 3rd grade teacher) and I exchanged letters up till my high school years. You should find her! 🙂 There should be a blog where everyone just shouts out their favorite teachers!

  2. lonelypassport February 12, 2011 at 3:01 am #

    Thanks. 🙂 I Googled her, but couldn’t find her. I would love to find her and give her a copy of my book! She’s in the dedication part.
    That’s so cool that you corresponded with your 3rd grade teacher. I really Mrs. C and I had stayed in touch. Pretty wonderful lady. And ditto on that blog idea. 🙂

  3. Linda February 16, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    Its funny that you mention Mrs. Chrytzer because I credit her also for my love of books. I remember she would read a chapter of “Tales of A Fourth Grade Nothing” to us every Thursday afternoon and one day my class was really bad, so she decided she wasn’t going to read to us. As I remember myself at that age, I wasn’t shy at all, but I knew that I had to behave in school.. So I was so mad, without raising my hand or provocation, I said out loud and very loudly, “This IS JUST TERRIBLE AND I AM MAD NOW” and she burst out laughing as did some of my classmates. At the end of the day, she called me over to her see and said to me quietly that she thought I was very funny and then gave me the book! I still have it. I devoured it and then she gave me the 2nd book in that story. That little nugget of a compliment made me feel something that I have rarely felt since, yet I have no word for. Thank You Mrs. Chrytzer.

    • lonelypassport February 16, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

      What a wonderful, enduring memory!! That lady. So awesome. Just so awesome. Wow. Great story.


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