It’s a Small World (After All)

Is the world getting smaller β€” or is it just me?

I’ve begun to notice that people who have been doing cool things lately have somehow crossed my path before, which doesn’t really mean anything but seems a little weird (but in a good way) nonetheless. Now if it would only be me doing the cool things . . .

Case in point #1: Sarah Brown Wessling, National Teacher of the Year

Last week it was announced that Sarah expanded her Teacher of the Year reign to include not only Iowa but the entire nation. Yeah. Not too shabby. So how do I know Sarah? Well, she not only taught with my husband for 7 years, but she also lived directly across the street from us for 5 years. During that time we got to know her and her husband (this was pre-kiddos for them) and hung out with them from time to time. As a former English teacher myself, Sarah always amazed me with her passion for her students, love of literature, and insatiable desire to keep learning. I’m so excited for her as she embarks on a year of incredible opportunities. If there is a Northern Hemisphere Teacher of the Year, I’m sure she’ll snag that one too!

Case in point #2: Gretchen Skellenger, high school student whose book report made it to late-night television

Today Husband asked me if I’d read the article by Kyle Munson in the Des Moines Register. Kyle is the Iowa columnist at the Des Moines Register who just stepped in some big shoes when he took over for John Carlson and before him Chuck Offenberger. In other words, around these here parts, he’s a celeb. Okay, so bear with me. Kyle’s article was about a high school senior from Lake Mills, Iowa, who wrote a book report on a book by her TV idol Craig Ferguson. She didn’t just copy someone else’s book report off the Internet, either. Nope. She actually called Craig Ferguson’s office and asked for an interview β€” and got it! This led to him talking about her in his opening monologue on “The Late Late Show” as well as meeting her backstage after a performance in April. Just read the story here. It’s really good. (Kyle tells it much better than I.)

So what does this have to do with me? Well, Lake Mills, which is a small town, is where we lived right after graduating from college. And for three years I taught high school English there. And I know Mrs. Ham, the current English teacher who assigned the book report. I’ve even watched a movie or two in the theater Kyle describes.

Not that I think I’m Kevin Bacon or anything, but it does make you think about how connected we all really are.

Oh, and Kyle Munson, the columnist who wrote the story? Yeah, I went to college with him. We were in the same English classes. And I did manage to beat him out for the English department’s writing award as a senior.

And look at us now.

It appears that Kyle may have the last laugh . . .

It’s a small, small world.*

*Neither Paula nor as an entity is responsible for any mental anguish experienced by the song “It’s a Small World” becoming stuck in readers’ heads or from the sudden and unexpected reliving of a frightening experience that occurred while riding on the “It’s a Small World” attraction at DisneyWorld.

Image courtesy flaivoloka

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