My first grade teacher was Miss Beatty and her room was the center of my universe. She was a short woman – even at 5 years old I knew she was closer to my height than my parents. On the first day each of us was ushered in by our mothers as if we were passengers on a gangway headed to an outbound ship. Which was kind of true. That grammar school ship was sailing and although we would return, we would never be the same.