I was excited about the new school year for many reasons: (1) I would still be sharing classes with Mrs. Gorham; (2) I was adding sixth grade to my schedule; (3) Thanks to Bev Noia, the English curriculum was changing -- in my case, that meant adding Greek mythology. Teaching Greek mythology was even more appealing to me than going to Bloomingdale’s with my father (sweaters and 40 Carrots).
Permit a bit of digression as I expand on point three. Mrs. Noia -- and Tom Rice, her sidekick in intelligence -- brought a perspective to teaching I enjoyed. Bev was the taskmaster; Tom was the storyteller. I wanted to incorporate both of their personalities into my teaching, even though I could not match their brilliance. They were my new role models. In addition to Greek mythology in the seventh grade, students began studying Bible stories in eighth grade, and King Arthur in ninth grade-- with an emphasis on the importance of recognizing literary allusions.
That year, Mrs. Gorham taught Robert Graves’s Greek Gods and Heroes, a witty version of these tales; even though Graves was my favorite, I chose Roger Lancelyn Greene’s Tales of the Greek Heroes;I wanted to compare and contrast the two, for I was slowly moving into a niche I would enjoy. Devouring all the Greek mythology books the Tattered Cover offered was on my list.
Again, teaching with Mrs. Gorham was a delight was the highlight of my years teaching English at the school-- other than working with Kathy Stokes and Kathy Benninghoff years later. Ruth almost urged me to be outrageous; I did not disappoint her. The Hickey and the Gorham sections matched the previous group--they were perfectly outrageous, gregarious, and curious. Oh, did they argue, especially the Gorhams.
By year’s end, Mrs. Gorham after teaching at the school for 49.5 years had announced her retirement. However, she returned soon and worked on collecting materials for the school’s archives and assumed the informal role as alumni coordinator. We still have her vertical files on alumni in the Archives.
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.