Today I found out that my first teacher, Mrs. Lillian Burnett, died. The main thing I remember about her class was the letter people. She had this set of inflatable people with a different letter on each one. On the day she was going to reveal that day's letter, Mrs. Burnett would have us put our heads down, close our eyes, and chant, "I believe in magic" as she huffed and puffed and blew up the letter person. The first time, I obeyed like everyone else, and when the teacher told us to open our eyes, the letter person had "magically" appeared.
Even as a six-year-old, I was a skeptic. I didn't believe in magic, even though I had obediently chanted along with everyone else. The next time a letter person was to appear, I put my head down with everyone else, but I did not chant, and I did not close my eyes. I peeked out from under my squinted eyelids and watched Mrs. Burnett blowing up the limp, wrinkled blob until it became the letter B. Then she announced that we could open our eyes, and everyone was amazed. Then we got to go forward and trace the letter with our finger and say the sound it made.
Mrs. Burnett was a jolly, loving, fun lady. Perfect for a kindergarten teacher.