Unfortunately school policy required every teacher to review the academic records of their students during the first week of December. Mrs. Thompson held Teddy's file off until last. When she finally sat down to review his file, she was taken aback. Teddy’s first grade teacher had written, "Teddy is a bright child who does neat work and has excellent classroom manners. He is a joy to have in my class - I will miss him next year."
His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an above average student who is well liked by his classmates. He has been having trouble lately at home because of his mother’s illness and life at home is really a struggle for Teddy."
Mrs. Thompson now felt ashamed of her behavior. She felt even worse a few weeks later when her students all brought in their Christmas presents for her. All were wrapped in brightly colored holiday papers and tied with fancy ribbons except for one. Teddy's was gift was clumsily wrapped in brown paper from a grocery bag and it had no ribbon. Mrs. Thompson decided to open Teddy’s present first. Many of the children laughed when they saw a small rhinestone bracelet with several stones missing and an old bottle of perfume which was barely one 1/4 full; but Mrs. Thompson quickly stifled their laughter by commenting on how beautiful the bracelet was as she put in on. She then dabbed some of the perfume on each of her wrist, inhaled deeply and said it smells wonderful Teddy – Thank You so much for this lovely gift.
Before he left class that afternoon, Teddy slowly walked up to Mrs. Thompson's desk, leaned in and said, "I just want you to know you smell just like my Mom use to." Then he quickly ran out of the classroom. When all the other students left, Mrs. Thompson put her head down at the desk and cried. This was the day she vowed to quit teaching. Never again she said would she teach her students reading, writing or arithmetic, instead she would start teaching children how to live.
The following Monday morning she began to pay special attention to Teddy in class. As she worked with him, his mind came alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the school year, Teddy was one of the brightest students in her class. Despite "her lie to treat all students the same," it was obvious Teddy was Mrs. Thompson pet. The following year, Teddy transferred to the middle school and Mrs. Thompson never saw Teddy again.
Several years passed before another letter arrived. In this typed letter, Teddy stated he met a woman, a beautiful young lady, and he was going to get married in June. He explained that his father had died a few years earlier and was wondering if she, Mrs. Thompson, would agree to sit in the place of honor reserved for the groom's parents at the head table on the night of his wedding. This letter was signed Theodore J. Stoddard M.D.
Of course Mrs. Thomson agreed. When arrived at the plush wedding ceremony wearing a beautiful dress on her wrist was an old rhinestone bracelet which had several rhinestones missing. As she walked in the room she carried a scent of a perfume that a young boy once said reminded him of his mother.