August 19, 2009
Dear Cathie, Jimmy, and Richard,
I truly enjoyed reading your "Request for Memories" recently printed in the Banner and enjoyed your current thoughts about Miss Catherine and Mr. James Neville.
Both were my teachers in high school. I have often said that Mr. LeDuke was my favorite teacher during my four years in high school. I took 1st and 2nd year Latin. Then, I wanted to take 3rd year Latin. Mr. LeDuke persuaded me to take 4th year. I sat in the class with 2nd year students, and received instruction from him directed to me during the hour. I won third place in 4th year Latin at the Latin Tournament in Memphis that year.
Mr. LeDuke was very witty, sometime strict with his students, but so inspiring. I will never forget his response to Easton LeBo when Easton would stutter in trying to answer a question correctly. Mr. LeDuke would say, "Now Easton, quit stuttering and give me an answer". But he spoke to Easton in a manner that did not "put him down" in any fashion. He retained respect from each of his students. The only book which I kept from my high school years was my 4th year Latin book. It is on one of my shelves still.
I also remember going to Memphis for one of the Latin Tournaments when Bill Lewis was driving the bus and had gotten on a one way, busy street going the wrong way. I can not remember Mr. LeDuke's exact comments to Bill, but I do remember that it was a dry humor remark which made our Latin test less stressful. We were all in a more light-hearted mood.
I cannot describe Miss Catherine as I would truly desire. I have published a book in previous years about a village that was my home during my youth and teen years. It was easier writing that entire book than describing Miss Catherine LeDuke.
She was my senior year English teacher. She instilled a desire to succeed in each student, and she related to each student in a manner which she believed was appropriate for that particular person. She even inspired you to enjoy Shakespeare. Two students in my class who did not strive for their potential in their senior year were threatened by Miss Catherine. I remember her telling them during the latter half of that year; "If you do not put more effort into your assignments you are not going to graduate with your class". Those two students did graduate. One of them is deceased, but was a successful farmer prior to his death. The other retired as a principal of an Elementary School in Memphis.
During the past years I have been associated with Miss Catherine as a former member of the Reelfoot Woman's Club and with the Lake County Historical Society. She has been a tireless worker with the Historical Society. She taught herself to type and use the computer about 10 years ago. At that time she was in her eighties. She typed many biographies of men from Lake County who served in World War II. At that time we were working toward the publication of our WWII volume which was a successful endeavor for the Society. During part of that time she was living in Nashville in order that Sue Hurst could continue her education toward becoming a Nurse Practitioner. She would type the biographies and then mail them to me. Then I would retype them in the final form for the book. At that time she had reached out for certain computer tools that I had not utilized in my work. She was for many, many years so supportive of the Historical Society. Lake County is indebted to her for her efforts in preserving our county's history.
I can proudly say that she is still my beloved friend. She has been remarkable!!!!
Arline Erwin Orr