When Caryn meets Miss Walsh, her English teacher, she has no idea what a special person she really is! This is a teacher who will go all the nine yards for her students. She has had a difficult life, but her own challenges have only contributed to her being more kind and compassionate. When she realizes that Caryn is suffering from anxiety and panic attacks, she wants to do all she can to help.

Caryn’s father, even though he loves her deeply, is against her receiving therapy at first. We find out later in the novel why he is so against Caryn’s receiving psychological help.

In the excerpt for today we will zero in on Caryn’s and Ms. Walsh’s student-teacher relationship. The following excerpt follows Caryn’s being allowed to leave class with her friend, Jennie, after her first panic attack in class.

“When we returned to class, the period wsas almost over. Jen and I took our seats, but I don’t think either of us was able to concentrate on the story. When the bell rang, we were amlong the last to leave.

” ‘Caryn,’ Miss Walsh called as I was getting my things together.

” ‘Yes, Miss Walsh,’ I said, stopping at her desk.

‘You look much better,’ she began. ‘Are you feeling okay?’

” ‘Yes,’ I answered shyly. ‘I can’t thank you enough for helping me out there and giving me a pass.’

” ‘Look, Caryn,’ I don’t want to make you late to your next class, but I would like to talk to you more about this. Why don’t you meet me here during your lunch period tomorrow? It’s my lunch period, too, and if you want, you can bring your lunch and I’ll provide the cokes. ‘Okay?’

“I felt a little self-conscious about having lunch with a teacher, but I didn’t want to be impolite either. ‘Okay,’ I finally agreed-with a silly grin on my face.

In this next quote from the novel, Miss Walsh and Caryn have lunch together, but it doesn’t take long for the teacher to start asking questions about Caryn’s true feelings of stress and anxiety.

” ‘So how do you really feel?’ she asked again.

” ‘So far, so good,’ I answered calmly.

” ‘And is that the way it is every day?’ she asked. ‘Never knowing when to expect an attack?’

” ‘I guess,’ I said, taking another bite of my sandwich.

” ‘And do your parents know how you feel?’

” ‘I’ve tried to explain it to them, but I don’t think they understand.’

” ‘So what do you plan to do? Just go on like this?’

“I stopped eating and stared at her. ‘What else can I do? Dad won’t let me have any professional help, and aside from you and my friend, Jennie, I’ve never talked about it to anyone else.’

” ‘And we wouldn’t even be talking about it now if you didn’t have an attack in class yesterday.’

“I tried to continue eating, but the sandwich seemed very dry all of a sudden. Parts of it stuck in my throat. I opened the soda and took a sip to wash it down.

” ‘You could talk to the school psychologist,’ she continued.

” ‘I couldn’t do that without telling my dad. He’d never forgive me if I went behind his back.’

” ‘So what’s the alternative? Your suffering in silence. Becoming Caryn, the martyr. Maybe another Joan of Arc.’

For a minute she sounded just like my mother. I could feel my lips starting to tremble as a tear rolled down my cheek. I seemed powerless to stop it. ‘I don’t know what else to do,’ I saids finally. ‘Maybe, nobody can help me anyway.’

” ‘You can be helped, Caryn,’ she replied with an amazing force as she took my hand. ‘You’ve got to believe that!’

” ‘How can you be so sure?’

” ‘Because I happen to know from personal experience. I have phobias of my own. And so do millions of other people in this country. I wouldn’t be surprised if a number of other faculty members suffered from one kind of phobia or another, too. And the kids, Caryn. It’s incredible how many school phobics I’ve seen over the years. Kids who are so frightened of the school environment that they miss more than half a given year of school. You must believe you’re not alone in this.'”

This is a very unexpected revelation. Miss Walsh has suffered from phobias most of her life, and she has received help to be able to cope with her condition. Otherwise, she never could have become a teacher.
In the next post we will learn more about Miss Walsh and how she plans to help Caryn.

Until the next post, enjoy every moment. Life is indeed precious.



  1. lod3425 says:

    I hope you are really getting into the novel. I will continue to give you more insight into it. Then you must decide whether or not you want to read the entire book.

    Best wishes,