Last week, I had the privilege of taking a group of honors students from my college to see To Kill a Mockingbird at the movie theatre. It is the 50th anniversary, and seeing the film on the big screen was an incredible experience.
I first read the book when i was 15 in Paula Molberg’s English class, and I fell in love. I mean fell hard. Since then, I have read the book at least once every year, and mostly at Christmas. This year will make the 35th year that I’ve read it. I have whole passages memorized solely by familiarity.
And yet . . .
I wept. Openly and without shame at that one scene in the movie. Stand up. Your father’s passing.
It was a joy to see the students experience the movie for the first time in some cases and for the first time in the theater in all cases.
I love that I get to spend every day at a job that never feels like a job. It feels like a conversation you might have with your friends over coffee or at a dinner party, a conversation that is stimulating and rich and full of life.
It feels like everything I imagined that first day in graduate school when I walked into a classroom, filled with terror and anticipation, and pride. Yes, pride. That I had made it through. That I didn’t die in my sleep as I fully expected because that’s the kind of luck I have. That I walked in, took a great big gulp, and said, “Good morning. Welcome to English 1301.”
And my life changed in that moment in ways I never imagined.
So to this small group of students, I want to say thanks. Thanks for sharing the ride, for reminding me about the wonders of discovering To Kill a Mockingbird, for believing that your education is magical, and for trusting me with the wand. I promise not to break it.
Our family loves this movie, even have VHS and DVD copies. My sister based her law school paper on Atticus. We’re always quoting. My favorite: “(There he is right now). Hey, Boo!”
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