In my junior high school (Washington Irving Junior High in the Los Angeles Unified School District), I was a struggling young woman. Being the oldest daughter of a single father wasn’t ever easy.
My 9th grade algebra teacher was Mr. Sell (now with a PHd so he’s “Dr. Sell”). He could see how much I struggled and always made time to help me be successful in algebra.
But not just algebra. Mr. Sell was also very much a mentor and always had the time to just listen.
In May of 1983, my father passed away while I was living far away. I never got to say good bye or tell him how much I loved him. That time in my life spurred me to think of all the people who had a profound influence on me. And of course, Mr. Sell came to mind.
I wrote him a long, handwritten letter. I didn’t think he would even remember me.
But he did.
And we’ve exchanged Christmas greetings almost every year since then.
Well….. out of the blue yesterday (April 18, 2020) my phone rang and it was Mr. Sell. He was doing some reminiscing and just wanted to chat. We spent 21 minutes just exchanging memories.
He’s probably 78 or so now (he was 12 years older than me when he was my teacher). He is still a volunteer teacher and tutor as well as referee. He has never lost his wonderful sense of humor.
After chatting with him, I let Kyle (my BFF) know about our call. And then I found this story that really kept me awake. He had never shared it with me (he’s not very comfortable sharing deeply personal things about himself).
Dr. Sell is the teacher in this Los Angeles Times story about a student shot by a gang member.
Anyway, this is Dr. Sell – my teacher, mentor and friend. I’m very blessed to have crossed paths with him. I hope he knows how special he is in my heart.