Don Michaels tells his daughter Jennifer about his fifth grade teacher.
DM: I can’t really say that I enjoyed school. I had terrible migraine headaches when I was in fifth grade. Whether that was because of the pressure, or because of the reputation that the teacher at the time had, and my having gotten reports from my three brothers who had her, I just, I just don’t know.
DM: But her name was Miss Leister. She had very sharp features. The most prominent thing was her nose — it was very hawkish. She didn’t smile a great deal. And she was a taskmaster — she expected you to perform. And she didn’t have very much warmth about her. But we had a Christmas party — all the classes had Christmas parties — and we all exchanged names for gifts. And the Christmas party started, the gifts were being handed out, names were being called, and one by one all my classmates went up to get their gift. When the gifts were all gone, I had not been called and did not receive a gift, for some reason or other. But a very peculiar thing happened the day before Christmas. The teacher showed up at our house, unannounced. And she had a small gift that she gave to me. That gift was a keychain. I kept that for years and years. And as odd as it may seem, my headaches went away about two days after she came.
DM: That event just opened my eyes. And my relationship with her changed from that day on.