Mary, My Children’s Teacher, Guardian and Friend – Dana Matonis

Mrs Dversdall (as the kids called her) played a very special role in our lives. Mary could not have come into our lives at a more perfect time. My mother was terminally ill and lived out of town and I was flying back and forth to take care of her. We had just moved to Poway and so my children were also adjusting to the move, a new school and new friends. My being away only made things harder for them. Mary took my kids under her wing and gave them extra special love and kindness knowing that I was frequently gone and that they were losing their grandmother. She would call me and send me notes letting me know they were ok and cared for. My kids loved her. The following year, my son entered her class again at a difficult time. It was a challenge to get him to school each day. Before school started that year Mary (knowing that he was having a tough time) called and asked him to come in during the summer to “help her.” In reality, it was she who was helping him.  She was preparing him for his first day of  2nd grade and doing all that she could to make him feel comfortable. In the classroom Mary kept a large bean bag filled frog named Lily.  The kids would get to have Lily on their desk for a day or week as a reward or for comfort when needed. My son spent a great part of the year with Lily on his desk. I was helping in the class one day when one of the students asked why he had Lily again. She gently explained that sometimes someone needs Lily when they are feeling sad and when that is the case we should all be extra nice. The kids took this to heart and by the middle of the year I noticed that Lily had moved on to another child’s desk because my son was finally happy to go to school and see Mrs Dversdall and his new friends. He didn’t need Lily quite so much.  I loved her for giving that comfort  and security to him and so did he.  She was a very special lady and I have no doubt that she touched each of her students in a very special way.  Xoxoxo.

Dana, Dani and Ryan Matonis

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