Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Farewell to the Old English Biddie*

As I sit here typing this, I still can't believe it. A legend of English Literature will no longer walk the halls of Pettus High School. Future Juniors and Seniors will not have the privilege of listening to the perspicacious* pontification* of our beloved, illustrious*, if sometimes (admittedly) cantankerous* and crotchety* Mrs. Karen Johnston.

After years of tenaciously fighting her deteriorating health in her quest to enrich the great minds of upperclassmen here in Pettus, she has finally decided enough is enough--she must retire in order to maintain her health and quality of life. While I know this is the best decision for Mrs. Johnston, I am saddened almost beyond words by the realization that she won't be here anymore.

This wonderful lady and I go back more than ten years in our friendship, and we've had our share of laughter as well as tears. Knowing her as I do, I know that her heart is breaking with the knowledge that she will no longer be here for the students of Pettus High School. I know that this decision was the hardest decision of her life--and she didn't make it lightly.

Mrs. Johston pushed her students--sometimes beyond what they thought they (or anyone else!) thought they were capable of. If there is one special talent she has, it's making classic literature comprehensible and even likeable to people who otherwise would not have a clue. Her sardonic* wit and sarcasm are legendary...which leads me to the reason behind this blog...

What are your favorite memories of Mrs. Johnston? Do you have a favorite line that she always used? Let's take some time to do our own reflecting and pontificating on our beloved Mrs. Johnston.

My favorite line: "You're just a bunch of gargooters...and to think y'all are the future of America..." (gargouters? How do you spell that and just what is a gargooter anyway?)

Now's your chance...post your favorite memory or recollection of Mrs. Johston....Just hit "comment" and type away! Remember, Mrs. Schauer has to approve all comments...so keep 'em clean!

* Biddy: a fussy old woman
* Perspicacious: having keen mental perception and understanding
* Pontificate: to express opinions or judgments in a dogmatic way
* Illustrious: highly distinguished; renowned; famous
* Cantankerous: difficult to handle
* Crotchety: bad-tempered
* Sardonic: cynically mocking


  1. Dont forget that your secound career is the "Pull N Pole Dance", we haft to get a patent on that stuff. Trust me we are going to be rich. I will never forget your sexy wedding picture.

    P.S. Love you always
    John. Fox

  2. Mrs. Johnston is an amazing woman! She has forever altered my life. She made my AP class and I giggle EVERYDAY whether she felt well or not. Not only did she keep our class filled with laughter but taught us lessons that are more valuable than the ones taught in books... she taught us important lessons of life. Mrs. Johnston is one of the strongest women I know. Her will to stay strong mentally is immense. I will miss her vastly but I know she needs time to relax, be with her husband, and beloved puppies!

    We love you Mrs. Johnston <3
    .::Miss Em::.

  3. I love Mrs. Johnston. She is by far my favorite teacher in the world. She cares more than any teacher ever has about her kids doing the best they can an I admire her so much for that. Her nickname for me is "Hannah Bell" and when they asked me what I wanted on the back of my senior shirt, I never hesitated to write "Hannah Bell". Mrs. Johnston will forever be in my thoughts because of the teacher she was and the person she is. I LOVE YOU MRS. JOHNSTON!!!

  4. The English teacher within my mourning heart wishes to convey the following:

    So the "Old English Biddie" is relinquishing her "OEB" title for an even more effulgent one: "Old RETIRED English Biddie" or "OREB". I cannot begin to convey the intensity of the diconsolation and despondency that this loss shadows upon my soul.

    In metaphorical terms of my own Literary Genres classes, the OREB has been an illuminating source of inspiration and direction for the numerous English III and IV students who were fortunate enough to be indoctrinated by her. She was their Yoda, their Morpheus, and their Merlin, providing guidance, counsel, and instruction (and at times, even a laugh or two).

    She managed to challenge and inspire and even see the best in people (myself espcially). All of this while physicalling ailing to the extent of a canine (cliche', I know...sorry).

    Alas, let me switch over to a coach's point of view, or I may go on all day. You know how long-winded us English-types can get...

    She's a good ol' gal. She's tougher'n'nails. She's understanding. Most of all, the place ain't gonna be the same without 'er.

    Love you OREB,

    Coach Marbach

  5. It's so sad to see that the greatest English teacher that our school has ever had retire.

    Mrs. Johnston,
    You were by far the best teacher I have ever had. You taught me things that I have never known. You truly believed in me and pushed me to do more than what I thought I could do. You were also there for me when I needed someone to talk to. You could also relate to my "issues." (The whole pregnant at 17 thing is kind of funny =D)You are an inspiration to me and to everyone else here at our school. It's so sad to see you go but I believe God has a plan for everybody and we'll have to just leave it at that. I am really going to miss your sarcasm and your funny family stories that you were always telling our class. Anyways, I am so glad that I had you as my teacher for as long as I did. Haiden and I will go see you soon and don't worry, I'll give you a call before I go and hopefully your dog won't bite you like it did last time. I felt really bad.

    Your *CHUBBY WUBBY* aka Brittney

    Oh yeah... I'm sorry for being the only one in our class to fail that test over TPB!

  6. Well if i had to say the most memorable thing i learned from Mrs. Johnston would be that "plaid and hips do not go together". Without Mrs. Johnston, i probably would not have passed my first semester of College English. It was very difficult but, as i went on i remembered the many different things that she had taught me throughout high school, and it helped me "a lot" . I just want to say that you were by far the teacher that i have learned the most from including life lessons. Thank you. I love you. p.s. I try to keep a smile on my face all the time.

  7. I haven't had the priviledge of knowing Oreb as long as the rest of you, but it took me 30 maybe 40 sec of knowing her to realize how wonderful she is. She and I are living proof that life is not fair...she wants to work and has to retire, and I'm the opposite. Keep us posted on happenings, because you will always be an integral part of the family.
    We love you. Keep on fighting.
    Brad Norvell

  8. I have known some strong women in my life...my mother, my sister, and some very awesome friends. However, I believe Karen is one of the strongest and most awesome women I have ever met.
    Karen, you will be missed more than you know. I pray God provides you with many pain-free joyful days in the years ahead. Thank you for all you have done for Pettus ISD. You will never be replaced...in the classroom, in our kid's hearts, and certainly not in the teacher's lounge! Thank you for always being such an inspiration and some times salvation. You made me want to be a better teacher. God Bless you! We love you and will miss you always! Senior '08 Forever!!