Every March 15, the phrase "Beware the Ides of March" comes to my mind. Really, it's not a joke. It's a remembrance of something/someone dear to my heart, and it's not Shakespeare or Julius Caesar!
If you're a Shakespearean or historical buff, you would know the importance of these words. In Shakespeare's play "Julius Caesar," these were the words of a seer forecasting something bad was going to happen to Julius Caesar, dictator of the Roman Republic, on or by this date. Historically, Caesar was stabbed on March 15 in the year 44 B.C.
To further educate, the Ides were a reference point for counting in the Roman calendar. March, May, July, and October all had Ides on the 15th, and all the other months had their Ides on the 13th. The other reference points were called the Kalends and the Nones. This calendar followed into the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. (info please and Wikipedia)
Now I will introduce you to Mr. DeLeurere (I hope I remembered to spell his name correctly.). He was my French and Latin teacher from 7th to 12th grade. I was in a trial class of 10 who were able to take a foreign language when in 7th grade. French was the only language being offered in 7th and 8th grade. I took French all the way through high school. Since I was planning on becoming a nurse, it was noted in high school that Latin would also help me in the medical field. And what choices did women have in those days?--teacher, nurse, bank teller, and wife?!
Mr. DeLeurere taught ten of us how to grow up in 7th grade. The minute he walked into our French class, he spoke French only. He meant business and didn't tolerate any funny business although he had his own very cryptic sense of humor. We assumed he told jokes when he paused and smiled. That was a great class, and we felt very special.
In high school, Latin class was taken by anyone who was going to attend college. I took Latin all the way up until my senior year which was Latin IV because I loved it. We all really enjoyed the tall, professor-looking, stern Mr. DeLeurere although we didn't admit to it. He was a man ahead of his times. He not only taught us Latin but taught us about the history, art, and culture of the Greeks and Romans and our own lives. We performed plays in the classroom, and if we didn't get into it, he would show us how to perform as if we were on stage. At Christmas time, we held a Saturnalia--a Roman festival with hard-boiled eggs, grapes, and togas and more plays!!! We traveled to Latin contests out of town to see what we really knew compared to others. We were a great group. I made the best friends in Latin class, and hard work paid off.
I never saw Mr. DeLeurere again after high school, but he remained in my thoughts and on my lists of gratefulness. He taught me maturity, responsibility, appreciation of the arts, love of words, and the joy of education. And he was just one of the best I had in high school. Thank you, God, for teachers!