Monday, April 19, 2010

Mrs. Trusch

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:

Thank you.


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.



Grandma J said...

Happy 90th Mrs. Von Trusch. I had a Mrs. Burke for English Lit who was mean. My nicest teacher was my kindergarten teacher because she taught me how to make real butter.

Happy Monday!!

Annie said...

Happy Birthday to the dear lady! And good on you cbw for appreciating her so much!

My kindergarten teacher was about 100 years old. Well, maybe not quite. When I was that little, I presume 4 years old, my parents used to put me on a bus to catch down to the kindergarten, where the dear lady, and I presume her sister, would look after me till kindy began for the day. Back in the days when they had ceramic jugs and bowls in their rooms for their morning ablutions! I can't believe my Mum and Dad would be able to do that..send a 4 year old off on a bus to would be able/allowed to do that now!

And my favorite teacher in high school was my maths teacher of course. Young, vibrant, eager, enthusiastic, and also able to counsel me on what course to take at university, bless him. When I met him not too many years ago at a reunion, he appeared not much older than I was. If I was a 15, 16 year old at school and he was straight out of teacher's college, he might have been perhaps 22 or 23 say...only 7 years older!! Seemed like a large gap at that age! Good on you, and thank you Mr. G.A.G. Jones!

Sorry to use up so much of your "real estate". Thanks for the memories! I will have to put a photo of my kindy teacher on my blog!

AverettLadyNana said...

I love her dearly. You mentioned her command and yet her petite statue. I always thought she was tall until at a cousin's funeral where I saw her at the grave, we saw each other at the same time and went to each other for a hug. It had been a good while since I had the pleasure to see her. And it was then I realized she was very petite...when I had her as a teacher I always thought she was tall...I assume it was a result of her great command of the classroom.

I'll be sending her a card, I remember in class she told of turning 50 and her daddy always gave her a dollar for each year she was old and he had told her she was getting too old...she was laughing as she told it.

What a wonderful role model she was to us. I always credit her with me getting into college she wrote a beautiful letter of recommendation for me as a teacher and family friend as well.

Mental P Mama said...

There is nothing better on this earth than teachers like Mrs. Trusch. Happiest of Birthdays to an amazing lady, and thanks to CBW for bringing her to us!!!

Daryl said...

Miss Josephsberg, my 6th grade teacher, was my Mrs Von Trusch ... never had a better teacher in all my years in school

Meg at the Members Lounge said...

I have grade school teachers I still think about and marvel at the impact that they made. Glad to hear she runs circles at the nursing home!

foolery said...

Our algebra teacher in high school (it was a small school; we had ONE) was Jekyll and Hyde, but I loved him. We would gauge his mood each day by the unfortunate first period math class. When he was happy there was no one happier, with more energy and verve. But if it were a bad day he was positively terrifying. He was diabetic and had some pretty serious blood sugar issues, and he may have been bi-polar, looking back.

Still, he taught me algebra when that prospect seemed unlikely, and so many crucial problem-solving skills that I use every day. Thanks, Mr. K (posthumously). Thanks for the great post, Cheeky. : )

DD said...

I was never very focused in school but I always was in Mrs. Trusch's class. She commanded respect for herself her subject matter. I remember her passion for the subject. I also remember someone (a Senator I think) sending her a flag that was flown over the Nations Capitol. She was overjoyed when she received it. Mrs. Trusch is a woman I will always respect and remember.

nativedevil said...

My senior year, I won first place in the Boy's Extemp Speaking for the District, came in second at regionals. Between regional and state, we had to do a practice drill in front of Mrs. Trusch and the Government class. I remember not doing very well, and Mrs. Trusch gave me quite an earful, right in front of the whole class. As I came back to my seat, one of my friends commnented, "Man, she really got you."

She was disappointed, but so was I. We both knew that I could do better. So I reviewed hard the next couple of weeks. When the state tournament was held at UVA, I beat the regional winner, and finished as the state runner-up. Mrs. Trusch was never one to let you settle for less than what you could be.

Anonymous said...

Your class was the last one before she retired. I ended up having Mrs. Deputy and although she was great, I was a little disappointed not to experience Mrs. Trusch! I had heard so much about her and had seen her around all through high school! Happy Birthday to her!

Chesapeake Bay Woman said...

GJ-Can you teach us how to make butter at Blog Fest? Please?

Annie-I love your use of real estate and encourage you to use as much as you need. You bring up an interesting point about the teachers who were young when we were in school and how great the age difference seemed at the time but how trivial it seems now. There are several teachers of mine who fall into that category.

You were a very brave 4-year-old!

Averett Lady Nana - If I hadn't recently seen her in the nursing home, I'd have to give a second thought to what I said about her stature, but she was so authoritative that she made up for her size with presence. So glad to have you comment and even more glad you'll be sending her a card. She really is remarkable.

MPM-You'd love her. WE may have to make a nursing home visit on one of your trips here.

Daryl-You should write something about Mrs.Hosephsburg. I bet your description would be entertaining as well as inspiring.

Meg-She does and she doesn't look as if she's aged a bit. A very remarkable lady.

Foolery-Anyone who can teach math and still be called a favorite teacher must be some sort of miracle worker.

DD-I remember that and I'm reluctant to guess who it was who sent her the flag(s), but I do remember that. She had a way of making everyone in the class attentive, not only because she expected it, but because they actually wanted to hear what she had to say. Amazing to have the ability to mesmerize everyone in the class.

ND-I hope you mention that in your card to her. If not, maybe as part of this reunion we keep mentioning we can make a trip down to the nursing home and tell her in person.

Trinia-I knew she retired shortly after my class but I couldn't remember you and my sisters didn't have her, which is really a shame. Not that Mrs. Deputy wasn't a good teacher, but Mrs. Trusch is truly legendary.

Thanks, all, for commenting. It's been a very long day, and I appreciate the opportunity to read what you have to say.

Thanks again.

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Happy Birthday Mrs. Trusch.
Great post CBW!

Gaylia said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Mrs. Trusch!!!
I attended her birthday party. She has been my dear friend for years. She is always current on the local and national news and has vivid commentary on all. She is MY information source. I drop by her room often with my laptop and show her various pictures of my adventures, friends and my grandchildren. She taught me Typing I at Mathews High School in 1956 or 1957. At that time Mrs. Matthews taught government who also was a legendary government teacher. After Mrs. Matthews retired, Mrs. Trusch began her momentous, grand contribution to the senior classes thru the years as The Government Teacher. She is my friend and inspiration. Gaylia, Class of 1958