Letter from Doris Rushton

9th January, 1997

Dear Jim,

Thank you so much for your letter. What a delightful surprise it was to receive it and to hear that some of my old students remember me. Please say Hi! from me to those with whom you are in contact.


You are very kind in your recollections of my class, and it interests me to know what sort of things stick in a student's memory. I remember you (a nice kid!) in the second year in which I worked in Ecolint, and it certainly does not seem so long ago! I stayed there for twenty-eight years, despite the fact that I traveled widely and looked to see if there was a more interesting place to work. I could find nowhere more important than our International School. It seemed an exceptional place to teach, and a rewarding one.

As you see, I am living in the little village of La Rippe. In fact, there is a whole colony of Ecolint teachers established here - yes, including Caroline Craggs. Mr. Unit, now retired from being a biology teacher, was the first to buy land, and he lives two doors away. Mr. and Mrs. Sharp are neighbours and friends, as are Stella Best and Joyce Wakenshaw. There were more: Jan Anastasi, the Dalzells and Glyn Uzzell among them, but in twenty years the local population has been modified. You may remember one or two of these names, although thirty-four years are enough to blunt anyone's recollections.

Your letter arrived just in time for me to peruse it carefully and with great pleasure before starting my packing to go to Spain. I now have an apartment on the Costa del Sol where I pass the worst months of winter. (I am no skier; after seven years in the debutante class, I decided that the sport was not for me!)


Strangely enough, that area in Spain has also attracted various others from the International School staff, and we have all found ourselves - unexpectedly - basking in the winter sunshine in an Ecolint crowd. Again, Mesdames Craggs, Best, and Wakenshaw fly out from the mists and cold of Switzerland. Annsley and Dorothy Glass live just down the road and Sheila Strachan is a good friend who lives only ten minutes away. Mr. and Mrs. Quinn are along the coast at Torremolinos. (I am giving you the names in case any students who remember these teachers are interested.) This little gathering in Andalusia was not planned, but it has given liveliness and comfort - and a support group - to all involved.

{I asked about her books.} My books for children were not fiction, but about Library Science, and they are now very much out of date. There is no non-book material mentioned in them and the Dewey Decimal System is about as far as the explanations go. Both are now out of print. A computer buff like yourself would find them totally lacking in today's skills. Both are now out of print.

I have, however, been amusing myself with some freelance writing since my retirement, and so far have had two articles accepted by Cat World (I love cats!) and a short story taken by Women's Realm. In order to extend my understanding of different kinds of writing, I have just subscribed to a correspondence course from England which I am finding very exciting. (When retired, I think one must have a hobby which fires one's enthusiasm!)

I always felt privileged to teach our students; they were great kids, and I think I learned a great deal from them. Only very rarely at the age I taught in our school did we get a child who was really difficult, or who did not want to learn (that is the hardest attitude to deal with when you feel that knowledge is enthralling). When I sit with my retired colleagues and we reminisce, it is with great affection for our classes, who were often like families to us.

Please pass on to your contacts any news you feel my ex-students would like to know. In particular, I shall answer some of the notes you sent me...

I remember Pablo Canziani very well. I can still picture the beautiful project that he did for me. I see that he is a scientist, which is good news for our suffering world.

Beth Moore is immediately pictured in my mind as I read her comment. I found her a very sympathetic character, and it seems I was right. She has pinpointed one of my favourite activities: that of reading out loud. It's nice to hear that this was appreciated!

Jenny Hunt's parents live near La Rippe, and we are good friends. Her mother worked with me for years, and was an exceedingly good teacher. Now she, too, is retired. My greetings to Jenny, who has done exceptionally well in her career.

Adriana: I still have a class photo with this lively and charming lady in it! Fancy her remembering The Jungle Book! Once again, of course, I was indulging myself by reading aloud to the class. No, I never married. I am hopelessly undomesticated!

I can give some information to Becky - another fondly-remembered student. She will, anyway, now have my address and that of Miss Craggs, and the other teachers who all live in this small village and have the same address.

Miss Craggs's last few years at school were wonderful - both for her and the students - as she ran the most successful and remarkable interdisciplinary study on ecology and environmental issues right across the Middle School.

Other news: Miss Bert married an American and is Mrs. Wheeler, living in Florida {contact me, Jim, for the whole address}. She still enjoys giving piano lessons.

Mr. Whitehurst - now one of the school's computer experts - is in another village near here {again, contact me for this address}.

I can't help with the Crooks' address, I'm afraid, but school should have it.

Audrey Thompson, who I know was always a great reader, cheered me by mentioning our library lessons. Putting the right book to the right child and seeing her or his face light up was one of the most rewarding experiences I could ever have. I love reading, myself... the very thought that the wisdom and experience of all the ages have been caught for us seems akin to time travel, and the access the written word affords us to other people's feelings and visions is nothing less than miraculous. What a skill to have!

Audrey's title as Prof. of Philosophy of Ed. and Gender studies sounds most interesting.

Richard McMullen: how could I forget his cheery face and bright manner. Can it really be so long ago that I was teaching in the now defunct pavilions when Richard was in my class? His anecdote about my handing over a spelling list made me consider yet again the necessity of respecting an individual student's request for the teacher's acceptance of his/her personal needs - provided they are seen to be honest.

I remember Ivan, too. We did not have many students from his country and I was proud to teach him. It was a long time ago! I must have just returned from America, where I taught for a millionairess in Florida.

Audrey Johnson can not be living far from me. Come on, Audrey, call some time soon and just lean on the doorbell! You'll be welcome!

What else can I tell you all? If you remember Sarah Anastasi, she is married to Jan Vermeulen (Dutch), has two children, and she lives at {contact Jim, again}.

Those who know Michelle Anastasi may have heard that she is married to St. John (pronounced Sinjen!) Campbell. They live in England. She has just had her first baby - a girl.

I haven't replied to Margo Malakoff because I shall be writing to her personally.

Jim, thank you for taking the time and energy to end me your letter; I HAVE enjoyed this trip into nostalgia!

By the way, I don't know if it is a breach of security to send out addresses on e-mail. If it is, will you please edit out any that I have written in this letter? Many thanks. I rely on your good judgment!

Blessings and good wishes to you all.

(signed) Doris Rushton

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2006-01-26 by: Ecolint Online


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