Mr. Lynne was the first man I ever saw in real-life who had a ponytail. My second grade teacher, Ms. Duncan (who was the first "Ms." I ever knew as well, lo those many years ago now, back in the ancient times of 1975), introduced him to our class as her friend Mr. Lynne. He played guitar--folks songs, of course, and had spent a lot of time in Australia, which he talked about at length and much to our fascination.
After that first afternoon in Ms. Duncan's class, Mr. Lynne occasionally reappeared acting as a substitute for Ms. Duncan. On those days, he would bring souvenirs from his time in Australia. I remember the boomerang and some Aboriginal art.
Once, when we had completed all of our work for the day, Mr. Lynne pulled out a slide projector and showed us hundreds of slides of his trip. Of those, the only ones I clearly remember were the shots of a quicksand pit.
Mr. Lynne told us how he had almost died there, but was pulled out by his guide and some of the others on the tour with him. He was stuck for a long time there and afraid for his life.
I remember the hush in the room as Mr. Lynne told this story. We were as captivated by his words as he had been captive to the waist-deep muck he had found himself in.
Seeing the impact of his words on my classmates and myself is one of many moments that I think contributed to my desire to be a writer.
Q is for Quicksand