When I read a book, for some reason I am always left pondering on the end (the conclusion and the words). What was said. How will this novel, this author, these words cling to me forever? In what ways will this book affect my life?
Out of all books, in my opinion, Charlotte’s Web has the most profound ending:
“Wilbur never forgot Charlotte. Although he loved her children and her grandchildren dearly, none of the new spiders ever quite took her place in his heart. She was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both.”
Aren’t those words powerful??? Whenever I watch the movie, I always cry hysterically because I often wonder what people will say about me when I am no longer here. What is the legacy I am leaving behind? I pray that someone can say the same thing about me as Wilbur felt for Charlotte. In some ways, I am certain E.B. White was referring to himself in those last lines and that’s okay. He can use his artistic license as he pleases. White wrote a book that impacts generations. Who will I impact? Importantly, who impacted me?
Looking back, my second grade teacher impacted my life in more ways than she will ever know. It was Mrs. Bryan who ignited my passion for reading because she read many books to our class. Notably, Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are and E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. She was such a great teacher that I followed in her professional footsteps. She was so passionate about books that I wanted to write so that she may one day read my stories. Mrs. Bryan is the reason I wanted to be “somebody” at the age of 7. I watched in awe as she read Charlotte’s Web to our 2nd grade class. At the novel’s end, she began to cry. Her nose was red as a cherry and her knuckles were pale as she gripped the book close to her heart. She sobbed and closed the book and looked at us as her eyes flooded with tears. We sat in silence. Silence never screamed so loud than on that day. Something erupted inside of me and Charlotte’s Web instantly became my favorite novel.
Today, I know what that silence meant. Mrs. Bryan was yearning, like Wilbur, to keep someone she loved (her students and possibly her first class) close to her heart but she knew we had to advance to the next grade. Maybe Mrs. Bryan felt her students were ”terrific” and at lunch we ate like “some pig.” Could she have thought my eccentric personality was “radiant?” Charlotte used the words “Some Pig,” “Terrific,” “Radiant,” and ”Humble,” to describe Wilbur. Well, Mrs. Bryan was “Some Terrific, Radiant, Humble teacher” and in ways she mirrored who I was to become. I think I am all of those adjectives, minus the noun of being a “pig,” except when I am starving.
With animal humor aside, I don’t want to be “Some Pig” but I want to be “Some Mom/Wife/Friend/Teacher/Writer.” I want to be a “terrific” and “radiant” Mom/Wife/Friend/Teacher/Writer with an immeasurable amount of humilty.
My life story honestly begins with “Some Teacher” and it ends with a whole-hearted, “Thank You.” Mrs. Bryan was a true gem and a good teacher. I can only hope people will remember me as Wilbur remembered Charlotte:
”[MiMi] was in a class by herself. It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. [MiMi] was both.”