Stevens Point, Wis., (WSAW) -- Not many people can call their former teachers friends but I am so lucky I still can.
In 1997, I was 7-years-old and being raised by single mom. I grew up on Stevens Points' south side near the railroad tracks.
Our two bedroom apartment was too close to my elementary school to let me ride the bus. But too far away for a child to walk, or so my mom said. Like most single moms, mine was protective. And she couldn’t drive me to school because her job started too early.
Enter Mrs. Cathy Martin, my first grade teacher. After class one day, my mom spoke with Mrs. Martin about our transportation dilemma. That’s when she volunteered to do something a little out of the norm.
"I just remember that here was a great mom raising her daughter and wanting the best for her. And I wanted to help out with that anyway I could,” said Martin.
For months Mrs. Martin gave me a ride to school so that my mom could have peace of mind knowing her only child got to school in one piece. She opened up her classroom to me where I would spend the morning reading before heading out onto the playground before the first bell rang.
After leaving the first grade, Mrs. Martin kept a watchful eye on me. Her daughter Jenny babysat me for a summer which meant hours in the Martin’s garden that was so beautifully tended. I had never seen a more beautiful garden in my life. So I was always eager to spend time in it.
The years passed, and I grew up. I went to college and moved following my career in television. Mrs. Martin retired from McKinley in 2009.
Together we experienced the highs in life like graduation, marriage, and first jobs. And the lows like when I lost my mom in October of 2017.
Mrs. Martin still calls Stevens Point home. She recently went on a 22 days safari to South Africa with her husband.