Mrs. Walters was a legend. She was our 9th grade English teacher; we believed she had been teaching 9th grade English since the building had been built. Her classroom was on the second floor, and there was the rumor - well, not so much rumor as unquestionable myth - that she had once held an unruly student upside down by the ankles out one of the classroom windows.
Yes, Mrs. Walters was a legend. She had a cat named "Cat" and a dog named "Dog." You did not question why. And it was in Mrs. Walters' 9th grade English class that I memorized the only poem that I still recall completely today...memorizing this poem was a requirement for passing the class. I seem to remember her explaining something about the poem speaking to us about life, but in 9th grade, I just remember the challenge of memorizing and reciting. It is now that the poem speaks to me. Thank you, Mrs. Walters.
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever Gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of Circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of Chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
-William Ernest Henley