Random: A (Likely Incomplete) List of People Who Have Influenced Me

THE OBVIOUS

Mom-my best friend, my mentor

Dad-will always see me as a little girl

Brothers-for better or for worse; taught me to love sports, hockey, made me into a tomboy

Grandparents- taught me history, religion, family, loss

EARLY TEACHERS

Miss Pammy and the staff of CMP- taught me to color within the lines. But let me venture outside, too.

(the staff of ESS)-taught me that some adults are just plain mean

Mrs. Martinย  4th grade- made me love running and turned my hate for books into deeply rooted love

Mrs. McLaughlin 5th grade- made me love cursive, even if I hated it then, taught me that sometimes first impressions are terribly wrong, once shared her lunch with my best friend

(Mr. Vitti)- taught me that I can be a total lazy bum and still succeed, showed me poetry. Still hated him.

Mr. Strachan- taught me the basics of writing and involuntarily taught that making things pretty gives you a good grade. Encouraged me to harness my BRAIN BARF and turn it into something else.

TEACHERS THAT TURNED INTO MENTORS

(Mrs. Dow)- taught me that not all people who earn a degree are smart. Also taught that asking for an A often gets you one.

Mr. Cottrell- TOP TEN. He let me be a friend and a student. Showed me e e cummings and art. Called me on my bull shit and challenged my opinions.

Hannah Sikorski- probably has NO clue who I am, but taught me at Brown. Made me more left wing then ever and helped me turn brain barf into cohesive writing.

Ms. Fletcher and Mrs. McCarty- taught me to love music. With my mind, body and soul. Unfortunately, they also set the bar so high that now I can’t settle for crappy music.

Mrs. Poblete 11th grade- love hate relationship. And while we didn’t always work in a teacher-student setting, I respected her and she, me. We were too much alike. But she gave me an A on my Olympics paper and (unintentionally) prompted me to submit it.

Mr. Smith- story time… I was singing once and Smitty came over and asked me why I hadn’t auditioned for the musical. It was like a personal invitation. And from then on, I dove headfirst into theatre. He made me feel so talented and awkward and never let me go a day without telling me I was beautiful. Also was determined to set me up with Brian Robinson, despite the fact that Brian had a girlfriend. Love him.. he’s really an incredible man.

Ms. Degenfelder 12th- challenged me, scared me, but wouldn’t ever let me quit. Let me write about red lipstick and really turn it into something. Also, made me love non-fiction because it could be funny and opinionated, not just hard facts with conjunctions in between.

Bob- This man deserves a whole post to himself. He was a teacher, yes, who actually wanted brain barf. He was a mentor for my formative years. He was a friend when I needed an adult to share my soap opera life stories with. He knows my family inside out and has let me venture into his. He lets me think out loud. He writes poetry and supports theatre. He reads my columns and gives me book recommendations. He’s a father figure, an uncle, a friend. Annnd he taught me AP Lit. All around incredible person.

Prof. Hempel- my journalism prof. Kicks me in the butt and makes me crawl back for more. She may be a hardass and my GPA takes a hit, but it’s worth it because she expects the best.

FRIENDS

Lauren- the obvious one. Knows me inside out and upside down and says the things that I don’t want to here. She doesn’t baby me. Ever.

Austin- showed me options, I suppose.. to put it vaguely. Makes me think about things that are far bigger than myself.

Matt- calls me on, well, everything. And never lets my itunes be boring. My go-to guy.

Minna- makes me feel lazy because she’s always got a billion internships and start-ups and jobs and assignments.

Taylor Adams- my old editor. He let me think and write whatever.

ADULTS

Jim Daniells- someone who isn’t afraid to be honest. Plus, he puts up with my nagging all the time.

Clay Daniells- loves poetry, love and free thought.

Rick Segil- intimidating, at times, but doesn’t ever let me forget that the key to success is networking. Always networking.

Jim Bunker- another story ๐Ÿ™‚ Rick Segil knew I was applying to Northeastern and insisted that I network. So Rick sent my info and writing to Mr. Bunker and he, in turn, put in a good word for me with the school. Fast forward a year and I’m sitting for lunch with a man who pokes fun at the way I cover my mouth, critiques my etiquette and yet loves me like I’m family. He tells me about the glories of Paris and let’s me gush about my passion for travel and writing. He sends me reading material and tests me with ever lunch date. He’s a vivacious little sucker and I know he might read this so I had to take my opportunity to finally poke fun right back at him.

Coach Gannon- taught me to expect more of myself and to push through the pain. She had a five foot rule with me haha.. I couldn’t shout if I was within that radius.

Coach Cline- took on coaching without any clue about what she was getting herself into. Combined being a coach with being a friend and mentor, too.

MUSICIANS

Venice- play list to my life. Plus, they have winked at me in concert and have my article posted on their website. To top it off, they are backup singers for Roger Waters’ “The Wall” tour.

Jewel- talented and haunting and a great performer, too.

AUTHORS and BOOKS

Elizabeth Gilbert- yes, I realize she’s on Oprah’s list. But she has a charisma about her writing that has always affected me.

Let the Great World Spin- a recent addition to my list. Irish, contemporary. And the author knows how to take all the rules he learned in school and break them. I can practically taste his descriptions, they’re so effective.

White Oleander- combined music and writing in a deeper-than-the-average-reader-would-see kind of way

Pride and Prejudice- Mr. Darcy. ‘Nuff said

Handmaid’s Tale- Feminist annnd dystopian? yes, please

Curtis Sittenfeld- wrote Prep and American Bride. I dunno… I just liked her ๐Ÿ™‚

(Edward Albee), (Camus)- taught me I DON’T like existentialism

Lolita and The Bell Jar- taught me the power of words, how they can twist sanity and morals.

THE NOT-SO-OBVIOUS

Kendra Carlisle- For those that know her, they’d be surprised to see her on this list. Especially since we were never great friends. But there was one conversation in 7th grade when we were talking about college and she brought up her cousin. Apparently, her cousin played field hockey and went to Brown University. None of that meant much to me at the time, but it all sounded so glamorous and wonderful. That summer, I visited Brown’s campus and fell in love. The summer before freshman year, I picked up a hockey stick and (after I figured out the basics) love it too. The summer after my sophomore year, I spent seven weeks at Brown taking classes. And though I’m neither playing hockey anymore ๐Ÿ™ nor attending Brown, those two factors largely shaped my life and dreams.

Random lady on the plane- I wrote a column about this one. She just struck me.

1 thought on “Random: A (Likely Incomplete) List of People Who Have Influenced Me

  1. i love you. and my crazy life is more my little girl lost and trying on her mothers clothes to see what she thinks will fit her schpiel ๐Ÿ™‚

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