Thank you Professor Anderson!

As I plow my way through boxes, file cabinet drawers, and closets I am dancing down memory lane.  I first met Professor Anderson when I was thirty-six.  

But I need to go back in time and set the stage.  My twenties were a blur of diapers, laundry, cooking, medical challenges,  several moves, and all the emotions of marriage and raising three young children.  My husband and I were busy. 

By the time I reached thirty I experienced feelings of being left behind.   I hadn’t finished college and did not have a clear goal to do so.  I began taking evening classes at the local JC and a new world started to open up for me. 

Although we are close in age, my sisters followed more linear paths.  By the time I was thirty-six,  Sister #1 had a bachelor degree and teaching credential.  She worked, was raising two children, and may have been studying for her master’s degree.  Sister #2 had a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and she worked in the field of social work and was clocking in hours for her license.   My sisters, women achievers who have influenced my life, inspired me.  But my journey, a zig-zag and spiraling  path,  had been different from theirs.

Then I met Professor Anderson and discovered art history.  Wow, my mind was on fire absorbing the visual information like a sponge.  I followed up on just about every suggestion Dr. Anderson gave to “find out more”:  A magazine article, a book, a movie, a museum.  I couldn’t get enough.  Maybe this is what passion (or addiction) is all about.  She taught two art survey courses, Art 25 (Ancient to Gothic) and Art 26 (Renaissance to Modern), and an Art Tours travel class.  I took all three.  This interactive learning style opened up doors in my mind that I had never experienced before.  In fact, as a student I had struggled in the past with a critical self-image that only saw average ability. 

Then, Professor Anderson surprised me by inviting me to take an Honors Humanities class that she was to team teach with another teacher.  HONORS by Invitation Only,  I couldn’t believe it.   I wasn’t an honors student, BUT she invited me.  She believed in me! SHE BELIEVED IN ME!  

Well, I went on to take the Honors Humanities A and B courses with Dr. Anderson and took other courses in the Honors program.  I was forty-one when I finally received my AA Degree from the junior college and my diploma has a gold seal on it for the extra Honors work I did.   During those years I earned self-respect.  I discovered self-motivation and how to make the most of my differences.  I learned to give myself a chance in the academic arena and I made education a hands-on learning experience which allowed me to thrive.  I have no regrets.  College opened my mind and spirit and creative self to higher possibilities. 

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed
by the things that you didn’t do than by the one’s you did do…
Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails. 
Explore.  Dream.  Discover.”  ~ Mark Twain

Remember to Dance




About Wings of Wonder

Linda Ruddy is a creative and she works in a variety of materials including pencils, paints, paper, porcelain and fabric. Her current projects involve hand-sewn bookbinding, children's book illustrating, and writing. In 2010, two of her paintings were published in the Saddleback College literary magazine, The Wall. In the past, she has received recognition for painting and doll making. Linda lives in California with her husband and family pet. Her new blog can be found Please visit often to see how the site develops. Following the muse, Linda Ruddy
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14 Responses to Thank you Professor Anderson!

  1. It’s amazing how one person can change your life. Your drawings are such a source of delight and I’m so glad you found your gift. 🙂

    • My gift is 90% perspiration and 10% talent. I’ve stayed with it long enough to finally see it flourish these past few years. There’s a reason why I’ve posted on the topic of ‘blocks to creativity’. I know from experience. I do get pleasure from the color on the page….

  2. Kate Kresse says:

    I love your story about Professor Anderson. I had memorable teachers like that too! I had a math teacher in college that was so amazing and I clicked so well with her. I took every math course she taught—and ended up minoring in math. I am now a math tutor among other things. She believed in me before I learned to believe in myself. And I love that Mark Twain quote. What an interesting coincidence—I was just writing a post for tomorrow using that quote. If you don’t mind, I will link my post over to yours so people can read your lovely post.

  3. Marilyn says:

    A toast to the teachers that encouraged us to grow our talents. One was Mr. Cassados, my first drawing teacher who wrote on an index card, “B- You are capable of more work. You need to take your art more seriously.”

    For the longest time I had that note card in my bathroom cabinet and read it every time that I brushed my teeth. And I try to take my art more seriously. 🙂

    • Wenona Kossler says:

      Linda, This is a wonderful memoir! You caught up and went way beyond, and you continue to do so with your love of learning and your curiousity about the world. I find you such an inspiration!

      • I do have a love of learning and curiousity and that may be my true talent. When I’m interested in something I don’t want to give up until I’ve explored it inside and out. Thanks for your example and inspiration over the years!!!!

    • I think you have!! The whole creation of The Toymaker is artistic expression and flows as a whole, so the art is more than the drawings and projects…its the layout, the overall presentation. It works! Thank you Mr. Cassados for his inspiration to you!!

  4. tbnranch says:

    Gifts come in so many special ways.

  5. JSD says:

    Thanks for sharing. And Mark Twain’s quote is perfect for those of us who are hesitant to follow our dreams.

  6. Cindy says:

    Thank you for sharing this, Linda–an honest and inspiring account of life’s real struggles and triumphs. Beautiful!

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