Guess What, Mr. V: My Readers Disagree With You (Re-Blog)

NotHurtfulAnyone who has been following me from the beginning knows the story about that 11th grade English teacher, Mr. V.  If you don’t know it, you can read the story in my About page.

Today’s post is about revenge versus forgiveness.

For many, many years, I totally hated that English teacher.  So much, in fact, that on my second guest post on Cordelia’s website, I wanted to add a postscript that said:

F… you, Mr. V!

Cordelia rejected that .  (I can’t imagine why – but maybe the fact that it was a Christmas post had something to do with it.)

I even had visions of posting Mr. V’s real name and maybe trying to find out where he lives now and posting that!  If I discovered he had died in the interim, maybe I could find his tombstone and post a picture with some kind of wicked comment.  (Yep, Cordelia’s Mom can be a really nasty person if you cross her.)

The more I thought about it, the angrier I became – I could have had a real writing career were it not for that one teacher’s stupid comment.  I wanted to get back at him somehow, and I wanted him to know that I had proved him wrong – I now had READERS who didn’t think my writing was worthless.

So back and forth Cordelia and I went on the draft of that post.  She loved the post itself (who wouldn’t?), but the hatred simply didn’t fit in with the style of her blog.

Maybe I should’ve posted it on:


[Note to readers:  don’t even try, I made sure it’s not a real site!)

I wracked my poor pitiful brain to come up with something that would express my anger but not offend Cordelia’s readers.

Finally I came up with:

HellWinterRot in Hell, Mr. V —  BUT happy holidays to you, too, wherever you may really be!

That certainly covered it, I thought.  But again, surprisingly, Cordelia rejected it.

Well, I really wanted my guest post published because it was a gift to my newly found readers.

What to do?

I sat back and began thinking (it does happen sometimes.)

I thought back over the many, many years since high school and all the ways that I had found to use my writing abilities.  Beyond the normal work-related material, I had found an outlet once I had children of my own.  After all, who better to write those Santa and Easter Bunny letters than a parent who knows the child best?

“Dear Cordelia:  Thank you for your letter.  I’ll try my best to bring you the puppy you want, but I will have to check with your parents first to be sure they have the ability to take care of it for you.  I have had problems with PETA in the past when I have given a live animal to a child at Christmas time, and then that child’s parents didn’t want it and wouldn’t allow it.  I notice there are lots and lots and lots  of other nice items on your wish list, and I promise to bring you at least one of those. – Love, Santa.”

(No, Cordelia, you haven’t forgotten that one – I never actually wrote it.  But I would have if I had thought of it at the time.)

So, for each Christmas and Easter, each of my children received a very nice, handwritten note from Santa and/or the Easter Bunny.  I even used special pens and papers, and disguised my penmanship so they wouldn’t catch on.  And when Cordelia grew too old to believe, I got her a set of special pens, and she took over the task for her sisters.  Worked out well for all of us.



Anyway, back to the issues with my Christmas post.

My rambling thoughts focused back on Mr. V.

Maybe I was able to write such wonderful stuff now BECAUSE I was so angry with him.  Maybe the need to prove him wrong had become the very catalyst I needed to put my abilities into the public light.

My thoughts took an alarming turn.  Instead of HATRED, I was beginning to feel THANKFUL to that cranky old man.  And at some point, I began to feel COMPASSION.

Maybe the reason he had come down so hard on a starry eyed teenager was because he, himself, had failed as a writer.  Maybe in his own, misguided way, he was trying to save me the pain of pursuing a dream that might ultimately cause me more misery than happiness.

(Or, maybe he really was just a cranky old fart who enjoyed dashing a child’s dreams.  We’ll never really know, will we?)

After several hours of this deep thinking (and several glasses of wine), I made the final edit to my postscript on the Christmas post:

HateOh, and a note to Mr. V: While I would not be unhappy if you got coal in your stocking this year, I do want to wish you a happy holiday. Thanks to Cordelia’s readers [*gasp* MY readers?] I have finally forgiven you.


Sometimes, a parent learns from the child.  Cordelia (and her readers) taught me forgiveness.


As always, I love to hear from my readers.  You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at: or


Images by:  andrewbuter, and Aaron Smith/Random Factor, and only_point_five, and Sarah Deer, respectively

This entry was posted in Re-Blogs, Relationships, That's Life and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Guess What, Mr. V: My Readers Disagree With You (Re-Blog)

  1. Paul says:

    Ahhh, success is the best revenge. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dan Antion says:

    I have had those thoughts about teachers who discouraged and demotivated. I don’t think those people should teach.


  3. Sometimes, it’s the criticism that really makes the difference. It’s hard to swallow and it hurts, but just sometimes, it gets our attention. It sure got mine!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Why do we always remember the ones who made even the slightest negative comment, and forget all those who praised our work ? Human nature, I guess. Your post is very noble. Cordelia is did a good job on both the forgiveness and the parenting. 💕


    • You bring up a good point. There were many teachers who praised me, but I don’t remember any of their names. Maybe it goes to show how self-centered teenagers are. Praise is expected, nothing out of the norm, but negativity gets attention.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Elyse says:

    My MOTHER, who had been a singer in her younger days, discouraged me from becoming one in a similar way. Thanks Mom. Thanks a lot. AND she made me go to secretarial school. Damn… I couldda been a contender …. Even more annoyingly, Mom was right. I’m a good singer, but not a great one. C’est la vie. Life has turned out OK.


  6. AmyRose🌹 says:

    I had a professor in college who tore my writing apart leaving me so shaky I did not write anything for more then 20 years. Literally she took my one and only strong point (at that time) and ripped it apart. She was right on one point I will give her that much. She told me I used too many commas, and to this day I am very aware of not overdoing the commas. And now I write and and I shall continue to write in spite of what this teacher did. Yes I really have forgiven her. Good for you for keep on writing. I am so very proud of you!!!! Love, Amy ❤


    • What an awful story. That professor should not be teaching – there are so many kinder ways to urge someone to improve his or her writing. But I’m glad you eventually returned to writing – we all enjoy your stories (and your photography, of course!).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. markbialczak says:

    You probably weren’t a good writer then, CM. Who is? But it sure as hell wasn’t Mr. V’s job to discourage you from getting better instead of encouraging you to find your voice. Which is what you did despite him, not because of him. Hey! Maybe that was his goal? I hate that double-cross, triple-dip psychology crap. In any case, your forgiveness is noble and just. And your style of teaching your kids was way more to my liking.


    • I was a good writer then, Mark, but I was writing from the eyes of a 16-year-old who was trying to write as an adult, so in a way I can now see his point. Still, he could have handled the whole thing better.


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