Late last week, I received the following message from someone involved in local politics:
"Marion Grey Trusch of Mathews, VA, turns 90 years old on April 21st. A retired high school government teacher, she has always prided herself on being a "Byrd Democrat" and enjoys the political debates. It's not every day that someone turns 90 so let's see how many birthday cards can brighten her day. Her address is: P.O. Box 1516, Mathews, VA 23109."
Mrs. Trusch is a living legend in Mathews County. She spent her entire life sharing her passion for government with high school students.
Although petite in stature, she came across like a giant in the classroom and never--ever-- lost control. I'll never forget the hush that came over the room on our first day of twelfth-grade government. She spoke with the authority of a drill sergeant, not allowing one person to speak unless asked to speak. Pursing her lips and tilting her chin up, she conveyed her expectations right off the bat and never wavered from those rules. Hers was definitely a zero-tolerance classroom.
But it was also the most fascinating classroom.
After that bit of business was taken care of--establishing authority--she relaxed just enough to let the flow of her never-ending river of knowledge spill forth in such a way that we sat riveted-- even those who were the worst students. She had a way of making everything about government sound interesting and important. Because to her, it was. It still is.
Mrs. Trusch made a lasting impression on generations of students. She taught my father (and the parents of my classmates) as well as my sisters at Mathews High School.
When I first started this blog, I wrote a post about seeing her at the nursing home when Chesapeake Bay Daughter and I were delivering daffodils. She looks the same as she did 30 years ago and her mind and her wit are just as sharp as ever.
Here's an excerpt from that original post:
When my daughter and I saw her, she was racing down the hallway. With our basket of flowers, we hurriedly asked her if she'd like some. "Sure," she said. "I'm in Room 15. But I'm hardly ever there."
Even in the nursing home, she's always on the go, interested in talking with other people, refusing to sit idle and never allowing the numbers on the calendar to dictate how she ought to live. She's still very much in charge.
Below is a comment on that original post from Janice Blake, a good friend and classmate of mine:
Thank you, Chesapeake Bay Woman, for this wonderful, heartfelt mention of our lady, Mrs. Marion Von Trusch! Even her name is one of distinction. Although disappointed to hear she is at a new home away from home, I am elated to hear that she is still being VonTrusch-like. I absolutely adore that woman! Thanks, from Dr. Janice Blake-Brooks (I owe her)
Mrs. Trusch turns 90 on Wednesday. If you're in the county and able, please stop by to wish her well. If you're no longer in the county but have been impacted by her incredible ability to inspire learning and a passion for government in all of her students, please send her a card.
Happy Birthday, Mrs. Trusch. The depth and breadth of your impact on so many students cannot be measured or adequately captured in words, but these two are a start:
If you're from Mathews, do you have any Mrs. Trusch stories?
If you aren't from Mathews, who was your favorite teacher and why?
No matter where you're from, have a great Monday.