The writer, the witch, the poet

Honoring Life Teachers; Saying Goodbye to a Mentor

Honoring Life Teachers; Saying Goodbye to a Mentor

Dec 11, 2012

Too often we forget to think about the people who have been our teachers throughout our lives.  This can be easy to do since we are constantly learning and growing based on those we run across and those we interact with.  But sometimes there are the mentors that come into our lives, teach us something specific and then move on to their next adventure.  A recent event has me thinking about the impact of people when they imprint on another person, making a soul connection that moves with them into the fabric of a person’s life.

I found out last night that one of my teachers from high school passed away this weekend.  That statement would be misleading if I left it as just that because Roger Anderson was more than a teacher.  He was my theater teacher, coach, director and supporter in school.  He was this incredibly moving individual that would take in kids, act as if he didn’t like them and then shower them with love in his own way.  He would tell us we sucked and then chuckle under his breath.  He would crack jokes at us and would laugh when we tried to poke fun back at him.  He had the highest of expectations of his students and treated us like we were professionals that were new to the business.  He saw in me what I didn’t see in myself but was silently hoping someone could.  He did.

I remember the first play to the last.  I remember standing on stage and listening to him coach me and the anxiety that I had in the pit of my stomach.  I remember sitting on the edge of the stage and listening to him talk about how we were better than the average high school theater.  It is those very memories that have served me so much in my life.

High school was one of the best times in my life.  I found much of who I was to become in that little theater on that campus.  I got to be a part of a vision, and learn how to make it become reality.  I got to go to Ashland and sit in theaters to watch professional do their craft and learn.  I got to be a part of something larger than myself and learn how to be a part of a real team.

Today I think of who I am and what I have become.  I think about my ability to think in frames, like a play, that helps me to write my visions out.  I also see my interactions with the kids I counsel the same way, like a improve session that has a framework and a projected outcome.  One of the frequent comments I have gotten in my 16 year career in this field is that I think quick, am very good with my words and creative in my approach.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?

And I have gotten to fulfill one of my passions and become an author.  I got to become a published author, travel and speak to people…. Teach people some of the skills that I write about.  It has been an incredible adventure. 

Learning how to harness confidence and speak with conviction is a skill I learned from my high school experience.  I never took public speaking classes, I took to the stage and listened to a tall, bald headed white guy tell me how to be authentic in my presentation.  It served me well.

Part of being a spiritual person comes with the realization that all things are about the cycle of life, about growth, about the lessons and that divinity runs through all of us.  We are of the Gods and therefore we are Gods and Goddesses.  Today I know this to be true. 

When I think about Mr. Anderson, I think about the incredible spiritual message he gave to me.  He was one of the trainers of my future, bringing me into my own and helping me to find confidence when I was so removed from it.  He made the world my stage.

Mr. Anderson was divine in his mission, in his approach, in his flesh and in his spirit.  He shared what he had with those who came seeking it, and sometimes with those who did not.  He took no excuses, he did not accept anything lower than the best and he demanded a respect for the art of the theater and of life.  He was an example of what it means to motivate people to be their best self.  I wasn’t the best actress, but that was OK because I had heart.

I think I was a Junior in this picture, or maybe a senior

So today is a reminder not to forget those people that help to build you into your best self.  It might be a family member, friend, co-worker, mentor or teacher.  It could be the person you least expect to have an impact on your life, forever changing your ideas about the world.  It could be the middle aged teacher in a little, under funded theater inside of a regular school… teaching life lessons behind a clip board. 

Take a moment to thank those people.  Tell those people the impact they have had on your life if you can.  Honor their memory.  Share the sacredness that was given to you with others.

And I will add Mr. Anderson onto my list of ancestors that impacted my life greatly.  I will send a special prayer to my mother to make him some of her fried chicken that he loved.  And I will remind her that he needs a “chicken bone bag” to go with it.  I hope he tells her some of his lame jokes to make her laugh and they can keep each other company.

Thank you Mr. Anderson for helping me manifest my life today.

Kathleen (mom), Marian (bestie) and I in the theater. Typical Crystal look, even back then.


  1. Robert Commer /

    Hi Crystal,

    What an amazing article. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with the world about an amazing person.


    Rob Commer

  2. Bonnie Sarmiento /

    Hi Crystal. I’m putting together an article about Roger for the local Patch and might use a short quote from your article if you approve. Right now I’m considering this section:

    “When I think about Mr. Anderson, I think about the incredible spiritual message he gave to me. He was one of the trainers of my future, bringing me into my own and helping me to find confidence when I was so removed from it. He made the world my stage.”

    Let me know if that’s ok.


  3. Crystal /

    I would be honored. I would love to know when it is published so that I can read it. Please feel free to use whatever quote from the article that you would like to for the article with the local Patch. Thank you for doing a piece on him.

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