Auntie M acknowledges upfront that probably no one reading this will know who John Royston is, so I will tell you.

He was my tenth grade English teacher, the man who turned me on to Shakespeare, plays, acting and writing.  He was jovial, inspiring, loved literature, and understood my bibliomania.  He was the one teacher who encouraged me to be a writer.

Recently he’d been on my mind and I decided it was time to try to find him, to thank him for his influence and to tell him that after a 30 year successful nursing career, I was finally doing what he and I both knew I’d always wanted to do–be a writer.  I knew he would be happy that I’d made it there.

I figured he’d be retired by now, but couldn’t find him anywhere I searched.  Then in an email to an old high school pal, I mentioned trying to find him and she told me she thought he had been a member of a theatre troupe in Port Washington on Long Island.

Tonight I finally stole a few minutes to Google with great anticipation: John Royston, Port Washington, NY.

And up came his obituary.  He is being buried tomorrow, having died earlier this week after ” a valiant fight with cancer.”

I waited too long to tell this fine man how much his teaching had meant to me and I am so sad about that.  I signed his condolence book and explained who I was to his wife, but it won’t be the same.

My message tonight to all of you out there is: don’t put off what you want to do, especially if it’s something that could warm the heart of someone else.

Sad in North Carolina tonight.  JR, Rest in Peace.