The Kindly Witch of West Street School Cast a Spell on Me

It was circa 1977 and the kindly witch of West Street School cast her spell over us one October. Though decades have passed, I still remember her theatrics that brought the magic of the season alive.

She spared no detail in transforming herself into the perfect Halloween witch – from the striped stockings to the tall black hat and glowing bubbling cauldron she sat in the corner of her class as she cackled and stirred as smoke leapt out, she became the character before our eyes. My friends and I squealed with frightened delight.

Beyond her costume, the witch teacher brewed up adventures to immerse us in the spirit of autumn. She whisked us off to a nearby farm where we picked pumpkins right off the vine, their orange glow bright under the autumn sun. She let us loose in her modest home to jump on her waterbed piled high with quilts. (it was a different time to be sure)

She took us to a farm where a bearded man in a leather apron made maple syrup candy, I still remember the taste chased with the nearby aroma of cow…scent. The witch didn’t just entertain us – she taught us not to judge by appearances and that even the spookiest characters can have good hearts.

She showed us that learning is an adventure. Though I can’t recall her name, her creativity and generosity of spirit stay with me. Every fall, memories of the West Street witch come rushing back, when leaves turn amber and the air turns crisp. Decades later, I strive to see the world through her eyes – with a sense of wonder, play, and imagination.