I had the most incredible teacher in the first grade. Her name was Mrs. Roth. I went to P.S. 40 in New York City and benefitted tremendously by having her guidance and wisdom.
She taught from her heart, and we had notebooks that we wrote in based on the lesson prompt that she would give.
After our assignments we would turn our notebooks in for grading and for commentary. She would then put the next assignment in and give our notebooks back to us.
I couldn’t wait to see what she had written and often I was surprised with her unique way to make every student feel special.
We had some very well-known guests visit our classroom. One of them was Pete Seeger. And we as a class wrote a thank you to him and he answered, and I still have a copy of his letter in my notebook.
But one of the most prolific memories I have was the day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed.
Mrs. Roth had us write our feelings down in our books, I was only a child, yet I remember being affected by his assassination in a very mature way.
I wrote this: “Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. loved people, he had a dream that his four children would not be judged by the color of their skin. And people loved, loved him. When I grow up, I’m going to fight for freedom. I don’t care if I get killed. I’m going to do it.”
I then added a drawing, of two people holding hands, one white and one of color. I then wrote I will make the dream come true, “We shall overcome!”
Mrs. Roth wrote “Magnifique” and “Great Job” on both my response and my drawing. She inspired me to always “reach for the stars.”
It never occurred to me that someone might be killed because of the color of their skin.
It never occurred to me that someone who worked to promote civil rights might be killed for his or her ideas. A child views the world around them from an altruistic lens. I was raised in a household where we were taught men, women and children were created equal, all colors, all religions and I am very proud of that fact.
One day, after a long, arduous day at work I realized I wanted to do more for humanity, in general. I wanted to do something meaningful, so I thought about it, and I came up with the idea to put the word ERACISM on an eraser.
I remember saying to my husband while we were heading to a swim meet, “I’m going to put the word Eracism on an eraser,” and he said, “I’m sure someone has done that already?”
I stared out of the passenger’s side window, and said, “Maybe and maybe not, we’ll see.”
So, I called my intellectual attorney, and he began the process to get me the word Eracism on erasers trademarked.
The trademark process is a long one, and guess what? The word Eracism on an eraser was available and officially became mine. Not only do I own the trademark for erasers, but also on pencils, pens and other office supplies.
I remember the day the package arrived that contained the paperwork for my trademark.
It had been a rough week at work and there was a little bit of rumbling from a former friend who was just a bit too much for me to take and as I was sitting on the couch in the living room, asking the Lord to please give me some direction.
I was in the middle of a rough patch in my life, not maritally, no nothing like that, this “rough patch” was clearly caused by others, and I was marinating in the minutia and quite frankly I needed guidance from the man above and sound advice on what Jennifer’s TRUE calling was supposed to be.
Suddenly the doorbell rang, and I answered it and the postal worker handed me a packet. It was my trademark! Was this my true calling?
I try to always be on the side that makes a difference, to do good in this world, be a trusted and dependable employee in the jobs where I’ve worked and continue to work.
Whether by my writing, or my book, “Angels In The Clouds,” or by developing an item such as an eraser, a small item with a large message to “Erase Racism,” hence, ERACISM.
In my heart I know there is still that young girl who believes she can follow her dream, perhaps even contribute to the dream of the late, great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that character, not the color one one’s skin is what matters most.
Remember we all have the “wonder child” within us. All you must do is champion it and let it guide you.
Jennifer Danny is a Santa Clarita resident.