|The book I dedicated to her.|
Catherwood (Farrar, Straus and
I dedicated my first book to my husband, but I dedicated my second, Catherwood, to Nancy Potts Coward. (My parents had to wait!) She meant so much to me, and to others as a teacher and friend and example of a life fully lived. A stellar teacher, she had a deep love for literature which led her to pursue a PhD after her high school teaching was done.
Mrs. Coward never liked to have her picture made, so I could never have a picture taken with her. But someone caught our heads in the same frame at Malaprop's in Asheville, where I was reading with Nathan Ballingrud in 2014. And while I will not post the image, I am so glad to have it.
I was thinking about her only yesterday, feeling glad that I saw her the last time I was in the Carolina mountains, and little thinking that I would be shedding tears for the loss of her the next day. Mere death--"the undiscover'd country"--cannot stop me from loving and admiring her, nor from being grateful to her for taking a child's passion for playing with words so seriously.
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Addendum: Schoolmate Marcia Bryson (now Davies) sent me a picture from her yearbook. I suppose, as it has already had a public viewing (and is a little blurry to boot), I may show it. From left to right: me (check out those fashionable collar points!), my dear friend Gail McIntosh, Nancy Coward, dear friend Beth Hamilton (now Gorman), and Dorothy Lachmund, our English and World History teacher. Both women would have been regarded as exceptional teachers anywhere, and we were lucky to have them in Cullowhee. This must have been taken in our senior year of high school, and then used the following year when the yearbook was dedicated to Mrs. Coward. No, that can't be right, as Gail graduated a year early. I only remember my hair being that short in my sophomore year. Maybe then.