It’s Never Too Late To Thank A Teacher

Show Notes

Have you ever thought about the teachers that have had the greatest impact on your life? Have you ever wanted to reach out and just say thank you for the kindness they poured into your life? Today's podcast will inspire you to find that teacher and let them know what a difference they have made.
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Audio Transcription

Jill Donovan:
Do you ever feel like you’re building an ark with only the instructions for a canoe? If so, you’re not alone. Welcome to CEO-ish where we’ll discuss traveling the path of the unknown while making it your own. I’m Jill Donovan, CEO-ish of Rustic Cuff, and today I’m super excited because we’re going to talk about one of my favorite subjects and that is teachers. And I brought with me a teacher, a former teacher. Do you call yourself retired teacher, Kelly?

Kelly Smith:
I do but that’s a lie because I didn’t actually retire, I just stopped teaching on bracelets.

Jill Donovan:
But isn’t that retiring sort of when you stop?

Kelly Smith:
[crosstalk 00:00:42] Yeah, I guess so.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. Somebody look up the definition of retire. Okay, so I’m going to tell a story. First of all, tell me how many years you were a teacher.

Kelly Smith:
I did six years in preschool and then when my kids were old enough, I went back and did longterm subs in just kindergarten for another five or six years.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. And you also did Vacation Bible School?

Kelly Smith:
I did. I was that teacher.

Jill Donovan:
Yes, you did [crosstalk 00:01:09] I don’t know if that would… Well that-

Kelly Smith:
No it was. No, I take that very seriously.

Jill Donovan:
You still do.

Kelly Smith:
It’s a lesson that went with the snack at VBS and it was always impactful but you had to teach the lesson and I cried every time.

Jill Donovan:
You did?

Kelly Smith:
I always cry when I like… When Jesus is involved in kids, I get overly emotional and I cry.

Jill Donovan:
And food?

Kelly Smith:
And food too, yes.

Jill Donovan:
Do you teach them the lesson before you give them the snack?

Kelly Smith:
Yes, of course. Always.

Jill Donovan:
Because they don’t care once they get the snack.

Kelly Smith:
They’re not listening at all once the food gets…

Jill Donovan:
I’m not sure they’re listening before they get the food.

Kelly Smith:
They are.

Jill Donovan:
Yes. I’m sorry.

Kelly Smith:
That’s what teachers tell themselves.

Jill Donovan:
Yes, they for sure are. Okay. So on Sunday, it was three days ago. On Sunday I decided that it was… Or I was moved to do something for teachers like bracelets all around Oklahoma because school starts last week, this week and next week for most schools. And I had this idea, let’s take our airstream, we have a mobile airstream that travels around to different parts of the country, and let’s empty out all the product that is in there and let’s put product in there that could be in there for teachers and I would make a 60-second video at home, put it online on Sunday night and tell all of the teachers anywhere, didn’t have to be just Oklahoma, that they could come to the airstream on Monday afternoon and Tuesday afternoon and pick out any one thing in the airstream to start their year off.

Kelly Smith:
Got it. Except that Sunday night and online nobody’s really watching that.

Jill Donovan:
No, I think people are… I don’t know what’s on TV on Sunday night. You would know because you love TV.

Kelly Smith:
I do know.

Jill Donovan:
What’s on TV on Sunday night?

Kelly Smith:
Well, on Sunday night I’m catching up on all the shows that I taped all week long.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. Sunday night is catch-up night. It might be catch-up night for a lot of people. So I was thinking I will make a quick 60-second video, put it online and see if any teachers show up. I decided to tell only two people in this company of 130 people because-

Kelly Smith:
That’s a great way to organize something.

Jill Donovan:
Well, it is, and sometimes we tell too many people, it just gets too process-focused.

Kelly Smith:
I got it, yup.

Jill Donovan:
And we don’t love processes around here. We don’t, you and I don’t. Other people might, we don’t. And so I put on the 60-second post on Instagram and Facebook and then I was up for a little while and I went to bed. They asked me, “How many teachers do you think will show up on Monday and Tuesday, from 3:00 o’clock to 7:00 o’clock?” I said, “Maybe 50 to 100.”

Kelly Smith:
Yeah, right. Because who’s watching it on Sunday night, right? My video.

Jill Donovan:
No. Right. And even if they were watching it, they have stuff to do and it was 103 degrees outside.

Kelly Smith:
I confirm that it was the hottest day of the whole year.

Jill Donovan:
And this was going to have to be an outside event.

Kelly Smith:
Right.

Jill Donovan:
And so it was the hottest day of the year.

Kelly Smith:
It was. [crosstalk 00:04:08]

Jill Donovan:
So put on the video, went to bed. When I woke up the next morning, there were 70,000 views.

Kelly Smith:
Yeah, that’s more than 50 to 100.

Jill Donovan:
I opened my laptop and I typed in, “Dear Google, how many teachers are there in Oklahoma?” And Google wrote back and said, “Dear bracelets Jill, as of 2013… ” Google’s a little behind.

Kelly Smith:
Because it’s ’19. Right.

Jill Donovan:
“As of 2013 there are 46,000 public school teachers.” And I was like, “I feel like we have some private schools in Oklahoma.” And so I said, “Dear Google, thank you. I’m going back to bed.”

Kelly Smith:
You did not go back to bed.

Jill Donovan:
U didn’t go back to bed, but I immediately called the two girls that I had confided in to tell them what bracelets we were doing and I said, “I think we need a plan B.” And then we rallied the troops on Monday, okay?

Kelly Smith:
Yeah. Because everybody is still working the regular job.

Jill Donovan:
Yes, exactly.

Kelly Smith:
But we’re making jewelry all day long.

Jill Donovan:
Yes.

Kelly Smith:
That’s what we’re doing here.

Jill Donovan:
Mind you Monday is parent and student orientation for both of my children.

Kelly Smith:
Oh, that was another bad timing.

Jill Donovan:
That was all morning long from 8:00 to 12:30. So we were going to start this event at 3:00 o’clock and our team rallied like we do-

Kelly Smith:
Yeah, because we’re the best, really. The best kind of girls, I got to say, we can get it done.

Jill Donovan:
You can give this team six months and they won’t start until the day before, and then it’ll be all botched up. But you give them 24 hours-

Kelly Smith:
Yeah. And the adrenaline kicks in and we just get that thing done.

Jill Donovan:
Yes. So this actually has taught me no more advanced notice for anybody on the team.

Kelly Smith:
Oh good.

Jill Donovan:
As a matter of fact, right before we did this podcast, I was like “Podcast time. 60 seconds until we start.”

Kelly Smith:
Side note. Someone said to me, “Oh, are you taping podcast today?” I was like, “Nope, I got stuff to do.” And then I jokingly said, “I probably am and I just haven’t been told yet.” Enter Danielle. “Hey, we need [inaudible 00:06:07] bracelets podcast right now.”

Jill Donovan:
But I see you put makeup on.

Kelly Smith:
Well, that’s because I said I had to go to the bathroom but I put some lip gloss on. Touched up.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. Did you do that yourself?

Kelly Smith:
No. Suzy helped me.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. Thank you Suzy. Back to our teachers, so 70,000. Around 1:30 I’m starting to feel a little bit of anxiety right because I see now that it had been shared 1700 times. And I feel like 1700 shares on a 62nd video that you posted the night before when you thought everybody was watching TV feels something that you should be a little overwhelmed about.

Kelly Smith:
Yeah.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. So 2:15 rolls around and I drive from my office, which is one mile from where the airstream is and where our main corporate office is, and I look and I see the entire parking lot filled with cars. And I thought, because we have about 50 people that are working over there and I thought, “Is it family day, or did everybody bring their family to work today?” And then I thought, “This cannot be this many people at 2:15.” And so I walked in and said, “Okay, hopefully somebody is getting this organized.” Fortunately they were. They printed out a number for every single person. Was that your idea?

Kelly Smith:
No.

Jill Donovan:
You weren’t even over there.

Kelly Smith:
I’m going to say it was. Yes.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. Every good idea comes from Kelly Smith.

Kelly Smith:
That’s true.

Jill Donovan:
And when I got there, I actually walked out there around 2:45 to where everybody was standing. We had 83 people, 83 who had been there for for at least 30 minutes.

Kelly Smith:
In a hundred degree heat.

Jill Donovan:
103.

Kelly Smith:
Yes. That’s ridiculous.

Jill Donovan:
So I walked out there and now I’m starting to sweat, but not because of the heat because I’m just nervous.

Kelly Smith:
No, wait. You are not. You love the energy of people.

Jill Donovan:
Not nervous from the people, just nervous that you want it to go well, and there are these teachers who had been standing… When anybody gives off their time, you feel a lot of responsibility even though we were giving away a free product. And so one thing I didn’t realize about teachers is they love to stand in lines. They love free stuff, but who doesn’t? And they also love the bracelets community of just being in aligned and being there with people. Adults, they like it. They’re going to be with kids the rest of the year. They want to be with adults.

Kelly Smith:
Colleagues.

Jill Donovan:
Colleagues. That’s a good word. That might be the biggest word we’ve used on the podcast in a while.

Kelly Smith:
Okay, write it down.

Jill Donovan:
Colleagues. I’m going to see how many times I can use the word colleagues in this podcast. So I walk out and I say, “Thank you all for being here. We’re so excited.” And then we hit play on the music and we started at 3:00 o’clock. And I don’t know how. God gives you the grace that you didn’t even realize you were going to need for this, four hours and 32 minutes of standing in this one spot, I was determined to… I wanted to meet every single teacher, find out what school they take [crosstalk 00:09:13]

Kelly Smith:
You’re crazy because I saw you doing this.

Jill Donovan:
I can’t tell you how invigorating that was to thank them.

Kelly Smith:
It was overwhelming. There were so many people. And you literally talked to every single person, asked every single person their name and where they taught. It was a lot of people.

Jill Donovan:
There were times that I would see a lady, like when I was talking to one lady, I would see a lady sneak by because she just wanted to get to the braces and I was like, “Ma’am, I know you’re trying to get by without telling me your name and where you teach, but who are you?” I had to know because then it feels like your friends when you meet them and you shake their hand.

Kelly Smith:
It’s true.

Jill Donovan:
And there were times I was thinking about how [inaudible 00:09:52]when I’m shaking everybody’s hand.

Kelly Smith:
You were like starting to fist bump people.

Jill Donovan:
No, no, no. When you shake altogether for two days it was 1500 people, roughly 1500 people. And I would shake hands and then I thought it doesn’t even… As long as I’m not like putting my fingers like in my tea-

Kelly Smith:
Right. Rubbing your eyes.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah. One time one of my bracelets employees I don’t really care for any more, I just wanted to go up and put my finger in her lip and go, “You’ve got some right there on your lip.” But I didn’t. I’m kidding. I do love all my employees, but she did have something on her lip I wanted to get off. And so it was the most incredible event, not because we were giving away free things, but because you got to stand there with on the total 1500 people for two days. You got to stand there and thank people who pour into the lives of my children, your children, possibly my children’s spouses someday.

Kelly Smith:
For people that grew up in Tulsa, they poured into them.

Jill Donovan:
Yes.

Kelly Smith:
There’s something about a teacher, the character, the nobility of somebody that is willing to put themselves aside.

Jill Donovan:
Yes.

Kelly Smith:
To give of themselves. They’re giving themselves. It was overwhelming. It really was, to-

Jill Donovan:
You stood there with me on the second day.

Kelly Smith:
Yeah. I was overwhelmed by just the character and the kind of bracelets people that were there that I was so appreciative. I felt this exactly the same way as you did.

Jill Donovan:
And the thing that I felt like really struck… not struck a nerve but just resonated with the teachers was when I said that things that I’m doing right now, I draw from my 11th grade year, Mrs. Buchanan, my 11th grade English teacher. There are things that even for a time I don’t even think I realized how influential she was until I realized that some ways that I’m writing and telling stories. She was a storyteller and she loved it with a passion, but I now realize it wasn’t what she taught, it was who she was that changed me and that influenced me. And I wanted to go back and thank her for…

Jill Donovan:
The only thing I remember from English was when we got to read Macbeth and it was a Christian school and everybody would take turns reading. I wanted to read the out damn spot out. What is it?

Kelly Smith:
Of course you did.

Jill Donovan:
Because we weren’t allowed to say-

Kelly Smith:
Out damn spot-

Jill Donovan:
Out I say.

Kelly Smith:
I don’t remember reading Macbeth.

Jill Donovan:
Is it out damn spot, out I say.

Kelly Smith:
Someone fact-check that please.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah, my kids are going to listen to this and go, “Mom said damn.” But I say it in the context of an amazing-

Kelly Smith:
What was her name? Mrs. Buchanan?

Jill Donovan:
Mrs. Buchanan.

Kelly Smith:
You should totally look her up.

Jill Donovan:
I will. But she gave me the confidence to write and to tell stories possibly in bigger and better ways than even my own bracelets parents could have done for me. And so as I was talking to the teachers yesterday, I said, “You are planting seeds and then watering somebody else’s seed that was planted in a way that you might not know for 30 years. And then you look back and see this oak tree, that because of you, that oak tree is what it is.

Kelly Smith:
Totally.

Jill Donovan:
And it was amazing because you could feel the frustration of some of them just wanting to give up.

Kelly Smith:
Yeah. Because it’s exhaustive work honestly.

Jill Donovan:
And sometimes you aren’t thanked in the way that a lot of times people who work really hard maybe in corporate America get thanked.

Kelly Smith:
Yes.

Jill Donovan:
And so as I said, you’re watering seeds and because of you a whole forest will grow. You could feel. You were in there when I said that.

Kelly Smith:
Yes.

Jill Donovan:
And then when I left the room, you tried to steal it and say it again.

Kelly Smith:
I did.

Jill Donovan:
And it didn’t… Please wait, I just have to-

Kelly Smith:
No, no.

Jill Donovan:
Can I say it? I’m going to.

Kelly Smith:
Oh fine.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. I said… You tell it. I’ll tell it. I said, “Kelly, I need to walk outside for just one second.” Because we had them in the four year. Every 100 people we could fit inside-

Kelly Smith:
In the air conditioning. Trying to keep them cool.

Jill Donovan:
Everybody else beyond the number 100 had to stand in line. And at any given time there were 350 people in line. And I said, “Kelly, I need to step out really quick. Make a phone call. Could you just take over for just a minute?”

Kelly Smith:
Okay. Pause a second. Who loves to have a speech? Who’s got a speech ready? Yeah, quite you because of Mrs. Buchanan, but I did not have a speech ready so I was trying to riff what I felt, which never works well for me.

Jill Donovan:
I’m going to say, I’m going to just for you.

Kelly Smith:
Go ahead.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. So I leave the room and actually I came back in the middle. This is what Kelly was saying.

Kelly Smith:
I know, I’m going to start to be like, “Oh, oh.”

Jill Donovan:
Kelly said, and then I started to get sweaty again but not because I was nervous myself, I was nervous for Kelly. Kelly said, and she has a great voice that projects to the 100 people-

Kelly Smith:
Just say it.

Jill Donovan:
She said, “I know this is a thankless bracelets job and the state does not appreciate any of you.”

Kelly Smith:
I said it in a nicer way but that was kind of a crux.

Jill Donovan:
She said, “You all are so unappreciated. I know… ”

Kelly Smith:
Stop it. Stop it. I did not say that. It wasn’t that bad but it was sort of like that.

Jill Donovan:
And then say what happened. What went through your brain after that?

Kelly Smith:
Did I say something?

Jill Donovan:
You told me this morning, you said I have to rewrite speech in my head.

Kelly Smith:
Oh no. Yeah. No, I did. That was later in the day because as I was saying it, I was like, “Oh I’m digging this hole and I don’t know how to get out.” And so I just kind of-

Jill Donovan:
“You all are so down. You should be so… ”

Kelly Smith:
“This is the worst job ever. Who’s doing this job?” I didn’t say that, but I felt like I was going down this negative road and I did not mean it to be negative.

Jill Donovan:
She is erasing all the work I had just done for the last four hours.

Kelly Smith:
So then when I got home and I was getting ready for bed, that’s when I started to like do the sweat. I was like, “I got to rewrite that speech.”

Jill Donovan:
Well, No rewriting it. It’s already done.

Kelly Smith:
Well, now I’m on a podcast, I’m going to rewrite it now.

Jill Donovan:
And in my head I’m thinking [crosstalk 00:16:13] because Katie was there the whole day before.

Kelly Smith:
Tell me she had the perfect speech, right?

Jill Donovan:
She didn’t say anything.

Kelly Smith:
Okay. Well, so now I’m interrupting you.

Jill Donovan:
She just encouraged me.

Kelly Smith:
Oh is that what the job was?

Jill Donovan:
And I was like where’d Katie go? Can somebody go grab Katie for me.

Kelly Smith:
I need to tap out.

Jill Donovan:
It was funny because at the time I was thinking, “Well I guess she’s a teacher talking to teachers. They’re probably speaking the same language. Maybe I’ve been too encouraging and too positive and uplifting inspiring for all the teachers.”

Kelly Smith:
I was just keeping it real, okay?

Jill Donovan:
Okay. I’m sorry. Okay. It was very, very funny.

Kelly Smith:
Because at times teachers do feel unappreciated, because monetarily speaking they are not getting rewarded. So getting rewarded by watching your children make breakthroughs or having somebody come back and write a letter means a tremendous amount because there isn’t a lot of concrete proof that you’re making a difference at the moment. Because even when you’re parenting, you’re like, “I hope I’m doing the right thing for somebody.” So when they come back and say it later it means a lot.

Jill Donovan:
It does. And there you go ladies and gentlemen, you just have a speech rewritten by Kelly Smith. But I would submit to you, which sounds such a funny thing to say, but I just heard. I was just at a bracelets conference and there was a speaker who his entire speech, he would say, “So I would submit to you.” And I thought I’m going to use that. Did you like that?

Kelly Smith:
Okay. It was very powerful.

Jill Donovan:
So colleagues, I would submit to you… There we go. I’m going to check on that. I would submit to you that it is more, and you stop me if I’m wrong, it is more important to find a teacher that will impart the love and wisdom and encouragement and inspiration that your child needs than finding the best school.

Kelly Smith:
Absolutely.

Jill Donovan:
Now that’s not to go just looking for a particular teacher because at any point that could change, but find the place that is filled with those kinds of teachers instead of finding the “best school”.

Kelly Smith:
Well, because I’ll just be for my own self and my own children, I know that algebra is important and history and all of the details of grammar and all of that. I’m glad that teachers are giving that kind of information. But way bigger is I want somebody to care for my child as a person, and to help them manage themselves, and communicate with words and with writing. And just the skills that you need to move forward in life.

Jill Donovan:
But when you, when you hear about a leader or somebody who has been extremely influential in our day, or just anytime for that matter, and they talk about a former teacher, you don’t hear them talking about the subject that the teacher taught them, or the processes or the methods and techniques. You hear them talking about the teacher themselves. And I would submit to you colleagues, that it is true… to all teachers, it is truly not about the methods and techniques. It is about that obviously, that’s what they’re teaching, but it is more important how you impart your wisdom and inspiration about life.

Kelly Smith:
Yes

Jill Donovan:
Yes.

Kelly Smith:
For sure. That’s why I liked to teach the younger grades pre-K and kindergarten because there’s not a tremendous amount of subject matter to cover in a year, the alphabet, letter sounds, things like that. But the bigger thing is when I offer you ketchup at lunch, I need you to say, “Yes please.” Or, “No, thank you.” And every time you go around and you go, “Would you like ketchup?” And they go, “Yeah.” Then you say, “And it’s yes please or no thank you.” It’s that constant loving person that’s just guiding you on how to treat other people. Did you ever read the book All I ever needed to learn at kindergarten? That is one of my all time favorite books. That is a great read because it’s so true. It’s just the basics.

Jill Donovan:
And if you’re listening to this and you didn’t do a good job with your kid in kindergarten, I will be rewriting a book saying, the title, all I ever needed to learn I learned at 49. Who was your most influential teacher that you can remember?

Kelly Smith:
My most influential teacher was Mary Jo Giffen in the fourth grade. Now I grew up in New Jersey, so all the teachers were pretty much from the Northeast except Mary Jo, who was married to an NFL player who was playing for the New York Giants and she just moved to town because I lived really close to New York city. So she just was a teacher who was getting a job and she was from the south and she had a southern accent and I was like, I had never heard a thing like this before in my life.

Kelly Smith:
I thought, “She’s so beautiful and look at that, her voice is like… ” I just loved her. She was just so relaxed in the classroom and I vividly remember we had to do some project about creating a cereal box that we made up and marketing it. And mine was called Kelly’s crispy critters. How I know this and remember, I have no idea. But I made a cereal box, Kelly’s crispy critters, and I had to get up in front of the class to do an oral report on selling my cereal box.

Jill Donovan:
In the fourth grade?

Kelly Smith:
Fourth grade. And I remember standing up there and I had the whole class… Well, okay really I had this one cute boy named Jason Claire. He was in my class. I was given the oral report and he was hysterically laughing in the front row. And the moment it occurred to me, “I’m funny.” I had never even thought of it before. I thought, “I got this whole room laughing.” I loved that feeling of having everybody laugh at my jokes.

Jill Donovan:
Is that when then it started for you?

Kelly Smith:
That was it. And Mary Jo was laughing and that was my year that I was like, “Oh no, I got this room.”

Jill Donovan:
She’s still alive?

Kelly Smith:
She is.

Jill Donovan:
Can we call her?

Kelly Smith:
I don’t know where she lives.

Jill Donovan:
That’s what we should have done, looked up Mrs. Buchanan-

Kelly Smith:
Okay, next time.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah. But that’s a great story because I like to hear when you started your life-

Kelly Smith:
I didn’t know I was funny until the fourth grade.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah. Wow.

Kelly Smith:
I know.

Jill Donovan:
Well, not a lot of people discover it in the fourth grade though. Some people discover this much later in life.

Kelly Smith:
It was like the joy of making other people laugh, was like a drug.

Jill Donovan:
Yes, it is a drug.

Kelly Smith:
You’re like, “I love this.”

Jill Donovan:
Yeah. Thank you Mary Jo.

Kelly Smith:
Thank you Mary Jo Giffen.

Jill Donovan:
And besides just being school teachers, there are all kinds of teachers obviously that inspire. Peanut has a piano teacher and her name is Ms. Cheryl Baker. And Peanut doesn’t love the piano. She doesn’t hate the piano. But I love the piano and want her to learn the piano. And like every child says when they’re 40, “Really wish I would’ve stuck with… ”

Kelly Smith:
Yeah. So grateful my mom made me stick with those piano lessons.

Jill Donovan:
Yes. And so Peanut in the midst of learning the piano picks up a ukulele and starts playing the ukulele. And Ms. Baker came to piano every week to teach Peanut, but Peanut would tell her about her love for the ukulele. Mrs. Baker does not teach the ukulele, she has never played the ukulele to my knowledge. And this is how great of a teacher Mrs. Baker was because most teachers would be like, “We’re doing piano.” And they would just be so legalistic about what they were teaching. When she recognized Peanut’s love for music, but that it was for the ukulele, when the recital came around, she asked Peanut to play two songs on the ukulele and has encouraged her even though she’s not teaching the ukulele, she’s encouraged her so much that it kept Peanut’s love for the piano, as well as the ukulele.

Jill Donovan:
So I would submit to you colleagues that if every teacher could be like Mrs. Baker and realize that, “Yes, we teach a certain way and we teach a certain subject, but let’s teach what they need.”

Kelly Smith:
Yeah. You know why? Because she knows her students.

Jill Donovan:
Yes.

Kelly Smith:
She knows her students. She’s not just there teaching the piano.

Jill Donovan:
Absolutely.

Kelly Smith:
She’s taken the time to invest in a relationship with all of her students and that makes the best teacher.

Jill Donovan:
So a very big applause and shout out to every single teacher who teaches from their heart and not from their head.

Kelly Smith:
Thank you.

Jill Donovan:
And we had a ball yesterday [crosstalk 00:24:44]

Kelly Smith:
It really was fun.

Jill Donovan:
The teachers say it brought them great joy and a great way to start the day, but I would say it was the most incredible event we have done in a while because it filled our cup.

Kelly Smith:
Yep.

Jill Donovan:
I have an idea.

Kelly Smith:
Okay.

Jill Donovan:
So I just looked up Mrs. Buchanan on Facebook. We are not friends and it has been 32 years since I have seen her or talked with her. But there is a little bracelets button on Facebook that has a phone.

Kelly Smith:
this ought to be fun. Let’s see if we can get her.

Jill Donovan:
And so I’m going to see if we can call her. I don’t know if she will remember me. This was 32 years ago.

Kelly Smith:
So wait, I’m sorry. If you call someone on Facebook, is it calling their phone?

Jill Donovan:
It calls their message on Facebook. It’ll pop up on their phone, not like through their actual… But you can talk with them.

Kelly Smith:
Okay. Sorry, we don’t need to discuss the dynamics of it but I was just curious.

Jill Donovan:
Yes, that’s for the next podcast. So we’re going to try to call Mrs. Buchanan. Okay. I wish Facebook had a way for you to leave a message for them because that would be cool to be able to leave our message. Okay. I’m nervous. So I need to read some Macbeth before we do this. Okay. Here goes. Messenger would like to access the microphone. Okay, let’s go out. I need to put my glasses on for this. I’m nervous.

Kelly Smith:
Is it ringing.

Jill Donovan:
Okay, hold on. Hold on. It says you and Bonnie aren’t contacts on messenger. She’ll get a message request from you. Well I want to be friends with her. I’ll see if I can friend her really quick, and then I’ll see if she happens to be just right on her phone.

Kelly Smith:
No, I will say this. Mrs. Buchanan, probably not the youngest lady, so I’m not thinking she’s going to know how to-

Jill Donovan:
But she’s on Facebook.

Kelly Smith:
Yeah. But like my dad who’s in a seventies checks Facebook every like three weeks and doesn’t know any of the bracelets buttons.

Jill Donovan:
Okay.

Kelly Smith:
So I’m not feeling like-

Jill Donovan:
I’m going to friend her. Okay. All right. Well, I’m adding her as a friend.

Kelly Smith:
Okay.

Jill Donovan:
All right. Here’s her daughter here.

Kelly Smith:
Your brother’s friends with her?

Jill Donovan:
My brother’s friends. Oh my brother’s friends with her? My brother is friends with her.

Kelly Smith:
That’s the end right there. She’s either going to get it-

Speaker 3:
[crosstalk 00:26:56] add your maiden name to your name.

Jill Donovan:
My maiden name is on here. My brother’s friends with her? Okay. Well…

Speaker 3:
Apparently he was the [crosstalk 00:27:06]

Kelly Smith:
You have-

Jill Donovan:
I have seven friends-

Kelly Smith:
Is that her-

Jill Donovan:
That’s her daughter.

Kelly Smith:
You’re friends with her daughter?

Jill Donovan:
But these are just people that I went to school with that I haven’t talked to in 32 years.

Kelly Smith:
But do you know Mrs. Buchanan’s daughter?

Jill Donovan:
I know. Yes, because she was two years younger than I was.

Kelly Smith:
Okay. Well, you definitely have more of a connection that I have with Mary Jo Giffen because-

Jill Donovan:
Well you might have some mutual friends with her.

Kelly Smith:
No.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. Well I wish Mrs. Buchanan would have… That would have been so cool. Let’s just give it one more shot. Hold on.

Speaker 3:
Maybe she’s at her daughter’s house.

Jill Donovan:
Oh, maybe she’s at her daughter’s. I’ll call her daughter since I’m friends with her and have her daughter give her a message.

Kelly Smith:
Is that what I just said?

Jill Donovan:
Okay, here we go. So we couldn’t get a hold of Mrs. Buchanan because I’m not friends with her on Facebook, but it appears that I am friends with her daughter on Facebook.

Kelly Smith:
Who is clearly a little younger and probably has her phone on her.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. And so I haven’t talked to her daughter in 32 years as well. And so I’m going to try to call her and tell her to give her mom a bracelets message.

Kelly Smith:
Yes.

Jill Donovan:
Okay.

Kelly Smith:
That you’re about to call.

Jill Donovan:
If I thought I was nervous two minutes ago, I’m double nervous now because now I have to give a message to somebody.

Kelly Smith:
I’m starting to sweat a little bit for you.

Jill Donovan:
I know. I feel a little short of breath. Okay, here we go. This would be fun. I think every podcast we should try to call somebody randomly.

Kelly Smith:
Yeah, we should do that. Because everybody likes that.

Jill Donovan:
Should I do the FaceTime one? No.

Kelly Smith:
No.

Jill Donovan:
Let’s call. Okay, here it goes.

Kelly Smith:
Yeah, that might be too much.

Jill Donovan:
I’m nervous.

Kelly Smith:
Is this a caller [crosstalk 00:28:36]

Jill Donovan:
Where do you listen? Oh, up here.

Kelly Smith:
No, I think it’s here.

Jill Donovan:
This is where the noise comes out, isn’t it?

Kelly Smith:
I don’t know.

Speaker 3:
Put it on speaker.

Jill Donovan:
Oh, put it on speaker.

Kelly Smith:
Oh, no.

Jill Donovan:
Hold on. Let’s call again. One second we go speaker.

Karen:
Hello.

Jill Donovan:
Hi, is this Karen?

Karen:
Yes.

Jill Donovan:
Hi Karen. This is Jill Riemer.

Karen:
Hey, how are you?

Jill Donovan:
Good. How are you?

Karen:
Good.

Jill Donovan:
I know it’s been 32 years, but this is going to sound… First of all, how are you?

Karen:
I’m well.

Jill Donovan:
Where are you? 2

Karen:
We just moved to Plano, Texas two weeks ago.

Jill Donovan:
You did?

Karen:
Yes.

Jill Donovan:
What’s in Plano?

Karen:
Paul’s job. My husband’s job. So we waited to graduate our baby and he graduated from homeschooling in May and we moved a couple of weeks ago, so we were empty-nesters.

Jill Donovan:
Wow. How many children do you have?

Karen:
Five.

Jill Donovan:
Five kids?

Kelly Smith:
Wow!

Karen:
Yeah.

Jill Donovan:
Oh my goodness. And you homeschooled them all?

Karen:
For part of the way. All of them didn’t go from kindergarten to 12th grade, but some of them are homeschooled at some point in their life.

Jill Donovan:
Did you become a teacher? Did you go to school to be a teacher?

Karen:
No, I did not. We just went through a program that goes all the way through high school.

Jill Donovan:
You’re like, “What the heck is Jill Riemer calling me to ask me about my bracelets education for 32 years later?”

Karen:
It’s all good.

Jill Donovan:
First of all, are you friends with my brother?

Karen:
Yeah, we just saw him. I was at the reunion in June.

Jill Donovan:
Oh you were there?

Karen:
At Pensacola. Yeah. And we saw him in Atlanta and we’ve seen your mom, I’ve seen her speak at church and things because we went where Paul’s mom attended. So yeah, I’ve seen your other parts of your family but not you.

Jill Donovan:
Wow. Well I’m so pleased to connect with you. So here’s the deal. I was doing a bracelets podcast and I was talking about teachers. And I said the most influential teacher I ever had was Mrs. Buchanan in the 11th grade, my English teacher, and I was going on and on about her and not remembering everything she taught me, but remembering who she was and how much she inspired me to be a storyteller and a writer. And I said on the podcast, “I really wish that I could call Mrs. Buchanan and just thank her for what she gave to me in my high school years.”

Jill Donovan:
And then I tried to call your mom, but we’re not friends on Facebook. And then I looked up and I saw that you and I were, and I thought, “I’ll try to call Karen. Maybe she’ll have her phone on her.” And you did. And then I got really nervous. And so I wanted to thank your mom just for everything that she gave to me in my formative years. And so I wanted to figure out how to get a hold of her.

Karen:
Okay. Yeah. I can give you her contact information. She’d love to hear from you. She asked about you.

Jill Donovan:
Oh my… She did?

Kelly Smith:
Oh my God.

Karen:
[crosstalk 00:31:58] Yes.

Jill Donovan:
Oh, she remembers me?

Karen:
Yes, of course.

Jill Donovan:
Oh my gosh. And would it be okay if I called her?

Karen:
Yeah. She’d love that.

Jill Donovan:
Where is she?

Karen:
She is in Roxboro, North Carolina, where they were raised. They went back because their parents were ill, they passed away and they ended up staying.

Jill Donovan:
Team we’re going to North Carolina. Okay. And so she and your dad are living there now?

Karen:
Yes.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. Would it be okay if I got her number?

Karen:
Yeah.

Jill Donovan:
Okay, I’m so excited.

Karen:
Perfectly fine. Okay. Let me pull it up.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. I’m so excited. Thank you for answering.

Karen:
How weird, the Facebook call I don’t know how to get it on my bracelets phone.

Jill Donovan:
I love that you don’t have your mom’s number memorized, but we don’t memorize any numbers now.

Karen:
No, we don’t.

Jill Donovan:
No, but I do remember years when I was in 11th grade, when we were friends.

Karen:
That’s funny.

Jill Donovan:
We had no phones actually. Just home phones.

Karen:
Yeah. Would it be okay if I just Facebook messaged you?

Jill Donovan:
Absolutely. Yes. I’m so happy to talk to you. Do you know why we… I go to Plano often.

Karen:
Oh cool. Don’t you have a store or something here?

Jill Donovan:
Yes, we have a store in Plano, so may I call you when I come to Plano sometime?

Karen:
Absolutely.

Jill Donovan:
I’m going to call you when I come to Plano.

Karen:
That would be awesome. I’ve actually been in your bracelets store because [inaudible 00:33:29] we’re still really good friends. She came here and stayed a few days with me and she goes, “I think that’s Jill’s store.” So we actually walked in there and-

Jill Donovan:
Did you tell him who you were?

Karen:
Yes we did. And I think she took a bracelets picture, but I’m sure you get that all the time.

Jill Donovan:
No, I don’t. And they didn’t… I’m firing somebody for not sending me a picture. Did they give you something for free?

Karen:
No.

Jill Donovan:
I’m firing them for that as well. We’re like grade school friends. What year did you start at Liberty?

Karen:
I was there my whole high school career and I graduated in ’89 [crosstalk 00:34:07]

Jill Donovan:
Wow. You had the prettiest long blonde hair.

Karen:
Yeah. And now it’s short.

Jill Donovan:
Well, you have the prettiest short blonde hair now. Oh my goodness. I’m so happy to connect with you and I hope that we get to see each other in person since you’re spending time with my whole family.

Karen:
Yeah. That will be awesome.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. So I’m going to look out for your mom’s number and if you think that she won’t mind, I’m going to call her.

Karen:
Oh, absolutely.

Jill Donovan:
Okay Karen, great to talk to you.

Karen:
Good to talk to you.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. Bye bye.

Kelly Smith:
I can’t believe it.

speaker 5:
Wow. [inaudible 00:34:42]

Kelly Smith:
That was my idea. That I am taking credit for. Okay. First of all, we never told her you were recording, so when you went, “Hey team, we’re going to Plano.” She must’ve thought, “What’s wrong with her? Who is she talking to?”

Jill Donovan:
Oh my gosh. I was so nervous.

Speaker 3:
You didn’t sound nervous. [crosstalk 00:35:00]

Jill Donovan:
Oh my God.

Kelly Smith:
I cannot believe you’re about to call Mrs. Buchanan.

Jill Donovan:
So we just got Mrs. Buchanan’s number from her daughter Karen. I was nervous about that, but now I’m not able to take a full breath.

Kelly Smith:
What are you going to say?

Jill Donovan:
I don’t know. I’m just going to talk like I’m a third grader. She was actually my 11th grade teacher.

Kelly Smith:
Yeah, don’t [inaudible 00:35:22]

Jill Donovan:
Because that’s how nervous I am. I just don’t know what to say except thank you.

Kelly Smith:
Thank you. That’s what you’re calling to say.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah, thank you. And thank you for imparting who you were to all of us.

Kelly Smith:
You can tell her you talked about her all day yesterday and the day before because you did.

Jill Donovan:
Yes, yes. Okay, here we go. Oh gosh. Okay. Now here we go. 3

Kelly Smith:
Do you want me to pray for you?

Jill Donovan:
No.

Kelly Smith:
Okay. Take a breath.

Jill Donovan:
I’ve thought about this bracelets moment for a long time.

Kelly Smith:
Oh my gosh.

Jill Donovan:
I have. I’ve thought a long… I didn’t realize my whole family is friends with the Buchanans.

Kelly Smith:
Okay. I’m going to pause right here and tell you that yesterday when I was with you and you were talking of Mrs. Buchanan all day, I was like, “You need to talk to Mrs. Buchanan.” And I cannot believe today here we are talking to Mrs. Buchanan.

Jill Donovan:
Oh my gosh.And the funny thing is for this podcast, so you can’t hear the overhead fan. We have to turn off the air for it.

Kelly Smith:
Yeah. We’re pretty sweaty.

Jill Donovan:
And so I’m already hot, but now I’m hotter. Okay. Here goes. In a way I hope she’s not at home I can leave a message and then hit the star button when I don’t like what I said and then start over.

Kelly Smith:
Okay.

Jill Donovan:
Okay. Here it goes.

Kelly Smith:
We’ll let God make the decision.

Jill Donovan:
Okay.

Kelly Smith:
She doesn’t recognize the number.

Jill Donovan:
Yeah. She’s like, “I don’t know anybody in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Kelly Smith:
She’s about to.

Speaker 6:
Your call has been forwarded to an automated bracelets voice messaging system.

Buchanan:
Honey, Buchanan.

Speaker 6:
Is not available. At the tone, please record your message. When you’re finished recording, you may hang up or press one for more options. To leave a callback number, press five.

Jill Donovan:
Mrs. Buchanan, this is Jill Riemer Donovan. Jill Riemer is what you may remember me as, but I was in your class in the 11th grade and I believe the 12th grade as well. And I wanted you to know that yesterday was teacher day around here and the day before and we celebrated teachers and I talked about you to about 1500 people and told them that you are my all time favorite teacher and that you had such an influence on me and not necessarily for the subject matter, but for who you were and the confidence that you gave me to write and be a storyteller.

Jill Donovan:
And I thought yesterday, I want to figure out how to get a hold of Mrs. Buchanan and tell her that. And so I’m a little nervous calling you 32 years later, but I am so grateful to you for all that you imparted to me and how much you impacted my life as a teacher. And I just wanted to say thank you. So thank you. And I hope that you are doing well and that you have a wonderful life. I’m sure, I know you do because I just found out that my whole family keeps up with you and I didn’t even know that, but I was so happy to talk to Karen just now and she told me that you’re in North Carolina. So if I’m ever close to North Carolina, I would love to come see you. And if you were ever near Tulsa, Oklahoma, please let me know and thank you. Bye.

Kelly Smith:
That was perfect. That was great. She’s going to be like, “Why didn’t I pick up?” When she listens to that message.

Jill Donovan:
So we’ll end this podcast with this, If there is somebody who has had a major influence in your life as a teacher, find out where they are, figure out how to get a hold of them because you can.

Kelly Smith:
You can. We just did.

Jill Donovan:
If you can find out who your biological father was from 80 years ago, you can find out who your teacher was in the 11th grade. Call them and just say thank you. We’ll see you next time on CEO-ish.