Archive for November 3rd, 2017

Because of Franklin I went to graduate school and became a Special Education Teacher. He changed the direction of my career and my life.

November 3rd, 2017 Comments off

The photo was taken the day I took Franklin home with me and gave him a haircut.  He got to take a bath, get new clothes and new things for school.  Mama and I had a wonderful time and he did too. Franklin Secrest changed the direction of my life, and I remember him with love. 


I was just twenty-one when I began to student teach the third grade children within my youthful reach.

They were bright and clever, their smiles and laughter rang with each story we read and each song we sang.

I thought my future was set for grades ones, two or three, but that was before Franklin stole my heart from me.

It wasn’t even subtle, he just took it right away, this eight year old boy in hand-me-downs every day.

He didn’t know his ABCs and two plus two never made four.  One eye wandered a bit and he pigeoned-toed ‘cross the floor.

Life was difficult for Franklin as he struggled with each new task; but he kept a quiet dignity behind a shy smile of a mask.

The regular class was too hard for him and it was assured he would never succeed.  So they asked me, a brand new teacher, to start a class for kids with special needs.

At first I resisted, it clearly was not what I had dreamed;  I should race with the wind, soar in the clouds, or so it seemed.

But if I didn’t do it, who would?  Would anyone else really care?  Then questions became answers.  It was not an accident that I was there.

Franklin became the first of my special kids from Arkansas to Germany to L.A.  I believe God in his wisdom, used that little guy to start me on my way.

Sadly he drowned at twenty, but his legacy lives on . . . in my life and in the hundreds of children I’ve taught, since I was just twenty-one.

My dear little Franklin, I’ll never forget your sweet face. Because of you so long ago, I found my rightful place.  I’ve spent my life teaching children who find the going rough too.  Very special children I learned to love, through you.

Dedicated to Franklin Secrest, 1955-1975  –  Reprinted yearly on his birthday.

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