Happy Mother's Day!

Two years ago, I wrote this homage to one of the greatest women I know--Ms. Karen Kupper. I originally featured this post on the SSLY blog and this year I would like to remember Ms. Kupper by republishing that post here on my blog.

Rest in peace, Ms. Kupper. You are forever missed.

Celebrate the Women in Your Life
In Memory of Ms. Karen Kupper

By Lena Hart

This month, as we celebrate Mother’s Day, I can’t help but think of the phenomenal women whose come into my life. Most of them are still in my life; a few have sadly passed on. But in remembering these women, I think of the tremendous impact they’ve had in my life and how they’ve made me the woman I am today.

One of these women is Ms. Karen Kupper, an unforgettable woman who came into my life almost 20 years ago. Ms. Kupper was my sister’s 5th grade teacher but in our close-knit elementary school, everyone knew her as “Ms. Betty Boop”. Ms Kupper loved the round doll-faced character with the svelte figure. Whether it was a t-shirt or dangling earrings or faded denim jeans with a replica of the cartoon etched on the back, Ms. Kupper showed her love for the iconic character in everything she wore. And it became something that we associated her with—you couldn’t see one without thinking of the other.

But it wasn’t just Ms. Kupper dynamic apparel that stood out. She was naturally eclectic. And unlike any other teacher at our school—or any other teacher I’ve met since. Despite being in her mid-forties, she drove a black corvette and wore jeans and black leather jacket to school—an elementary school. She was the type of teacher that drove you home—if she liked you—when your mom forgot to pick you up from school. She would host pool parties at her condo and invite students—if you were good—over.

Though she wasn’t my teacher yet (I still had two more grades to pass), I got to know her through my sister and experience her many generosities. I remembered during above-mentioned pool party how she tried to teach me how to swim when I was too scared to go pass the 3-feet mark. I was too scared to learn and almost drowned us both, but I loved her for trying. As everyone at our small school loved her for the person she was. She was the sunlight in our school and I could tell, even at that young age, that Ms. Kupper loved being a teacher and she loved her students.

But the sun in our small, close-knit school was eclipsed in the spring of 1995. The year before I was to enter her class, Ms. Kupper was killed by a drunk driver. Her two daughters and mother were critically injured. The core of our school was shaken and everyone was devastated.

Weeks after her funeral, a small tree with a beautiful white ribbon was planted at our school in her memory. But it’s the round-face of Betty Boop that keeps her in my memory. From what I remember of Ms. Kupper, she was the epitome of living life on your own terms and living it to its fullest. Though I didn’t get a chance to have her as my grade school teacher, she imparted in me something more valuable than reading, writing, or arithmetic. She taught me to be bold. She taught me to be fearless. ♥

Remember to celebrate the women in your life this Mother's day!

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