Miss Smith, my third-grade teacher at Vollentine Grammar School, stood facing the class with her arm around my shoulders. She was a large woman the size of two or three of today's fashion models, with gray hair pulled back from a ruddy, round face. All I knew of her personal life was that she was unwed, but mothered 25 third-grade kids. She lived in a small, neighboring town famous for its horse farms.
She looked out to her students, her eyes focused above them. I looked down.
I had just finished reciting a poem to the class and before I could return to my desk, Miss Smith was at my side.
"Children, Teddy is Jewish. And I like Jewish kids. Teddy's people have made some major contributions to the South. How many of you know of Dr. Joseph Goldberger who cured pellagra? How many of you know about pellagra?"