Thank you Mrs Miller – luv Sally age four ‘n’ haf – #Influencers

I have been tidying my archives and as I go through and read posts from three years ago I thought I would share specific series. I had only begun blogging in October 2013 and was finding my niche. I hope you enjoy these updated (I am three years older) posts about people who influenced me in my life.

Thank you Mrs. Miller – Luv Sally age four ‘n’ haf

I was 64 next month and whilst I am both young and heart and a rock chick (Status rules okay) – I am also in the process of taking stock before I embark on the next couple of books I have in mind.

Anyway, at the same time I am heavily into social media – Facebook for my friends who are spread throughout the world in different time zones and LinkedIn for professional and work and Twitter – well that is a bit like Alice in Wonderland!

It was Twitter that got me to thinking about inspiration.  There are many big hitters on there in the Leadership field – some of whom kindly follow me – somewhat out of curiosity I suspect – but there are many others who are selling courses and books on the art of leadership and they use their 140 characters to their full advantage #leadership #empowerment #10deadlysinsof  etc, etc.

I have had the honour of interviewing some extraordinary people on radio and on camera.  I have also attended conferences and seminars where leading speakers on world affairs, health and government have shared their vision and thoughts on these weighty subjects. However, when I was making a list of those that inspired and empowered me throughout my life, I was surprised at the people who actually stood out.

They were not the powerful, famous leaders in their field, but men and women just doing their jobs.

Of course there are family and friends who have supported me and inspired me on a daily basis including my husband David has been a wonderful motivating force for 37 years. But as a child I was certainly blessed by having my two older sisters, who being 10 and 11 years older than me – let me tag along and everything they did, I did too.  Well within reason!  But they taught me to be fearless and jump off diving boards,made me smocked dresses, swim in shark invested (well jelly fish) waters and told me bedtime stories. My sister Diana was still at home when I became a teenager and her presence made those years a lot of fun.  Here we are during my first year in school and none of us have changed a bit… honestly…..


I have a short list of people that I would like to pay tribute to over the next few posts.  People who were in my life for short periods of time but whose impact has lasted a lifetime.


In the September after I was four, I went to school. The Garrison Primary School in Old Portsmouth was a collection of old corrugated iron and wooden huts and had four classrooms to the best of my memory.  The head teacher was a Mrs Vine who later remarried and became Mrs Biscoe or Briscoe (come on it was 60 years ago!)  More about her later.

I was obviously in the infants class- along with about 15/20 others.  I wanted to go to school, as I mentioned my two sisters would read to me and I could already follow certain words and knew my letters.  Even now I can remember the feeling of anticipation as my mother walked me from our home to school that first morning in my new clothes and squeaky Clark’s sandals.

The desks were old and scratched with a blackened hole where the ink wells used to reside. Tiny chairs with hard seats were uncomfortable and led to twitchy bums and fidgeting.

Our teacher was standing by the blackboard. I can still see her.  Blonde, younger than my mother who was early 40’s, so about 32 I would think. She had slightly protruding teeth that gave her a lovely smile and she stood quietly as we all settled down.

When we were quiet, she introduced herself as Mrs. Miller and then she said the words that would change my short life as I knew it.

“Today, we are going to begin to learn how to read and write as these are the most important lessons for young children to learn”

I spent my first year at school with Mrs. Miller and I loved every minute. I can remember eagerly waiting for the next lesson and my hand was always the first up when she asked someone to read from our well worn books.  She patiently guided our reading skills and then as we used our ruled books to copy our small a’s and capital A’s and the rest of the alphabet.

I began to read at home and I joined the children’s public library and always had a book on the go.  My father was also a library member but his books were considerably racier than mine – Harold Robbins being one of his favourites – and I would help myself to his selection from about the age of 11. Always careful to take the book he had just read from the bottom of the stack he kept in his bedside cabinet. I probably read a great deal that was above my pay grade and certainly most was completely misunderstood!

Reading and then writing has been the greatest gift that I learned.  Mrs Miller was just doing her job, but she and the millions of teachers around the world who teach children to read and write are inspirational.

To illustrate how inspirational she was, I still remember her name and how she looked 60 years later and I still treasure the gift she gave me of literacy. Apart from being able to read any book that I wished, my career in industry, radio and television would not have been possible. Nor would I be able to pursue my love of writing books, poetry, short stories, my blog and keeping in touch with friends and family.  It also impacts our verbal communications and I certainly do love to talk!

This gift is precious and needs to be put into perspective.  It is estimated that globally over 800million people cannot read or write. Around 70 million children do not have access to primary education and over a million people in the UK struggle with reading and writing.  This impacts their everyday life in virtually every way.


Mrs Vine was also a character but I did not really have much contact with her until I returned after two years in Malta and joined moved from Interim class to her senior class. She was memorable because firstly she looked like Olive Oyl from Popeye and we called her that behind her back – and also because Friday afternoons despite her tough exterior she would dispense a packet of boiled sweets.

Also, even though she was a strict disciplinarian, she was very fair.  My father was posted to Cape Town and we were due to leave in the January 1963.  In the September prior to that when I arrived in Mrs. Vine’s class for just one term, she still made me Head Girl until Christmas as a reward for my hard work.  So thank you Mrs Vine too.  For showing me that recognition of achievements is one of the most motivational rewards you can give to someone.

My next inspirational person who gave me some life changing lessons involved a cart and a donkey!


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About Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

My name is Sally Cronin and I am doing what I love.. Writing. Books, short stories, Haiku and blog posts. My previous jobs are only relevant in as much as they have gifted me with a wonderful filing cabinet of memories and experiences which are very useful when putting pen to paper. I move between non-fiction health books and posts and fairy stories, romance and humour. I love variety which is why I called my blog Smorgasbord Invitation and you will find a wide range of subjects. You can find the whole story here. Find out more at

42 thoughts on “Thank you Mrs Miller – luv Sally age four ‘n’ haf – #Influencers

  1. How I loved reading this, Sally. And how fortunate you’ve been. It’s a blessing to have been encouraged from a young age. No wonder you have such a love of reading and writing, and that you write so well ~ enhanced by your innate fertile imagination! Your inherent gifts were recognized and fostered by those responsible for your care. You have much for which to be grateful, and your gratitude is expressed partly in the abiding support you give to your fellow authors and artists, as well as to your friends and family. Thank you for sharing this wonderful piece of your life. It’s an inspiration that all of us will take to heart. Hugs, dear friend 💖

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: Thank you Mrs Miller – luv Sally age four ‘n’ haf – #Influencers | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  3. My teacher was Mrs White who was elderly when I was 5. I used to see her on a Saturday morning too serving vegetables in the local greengrocer. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to her. I wonder how many people you’ve influenced over the years Sally, even in the last 3 and a bit years. I imagine you’ll be remembered in a lot of posts if they do similar to this.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is delightful to hear accalades from teachers remembered for their love of teaching. I think we all have fond memories of our favorite teachers. What is sad is the statistics that you mentioned about those people in the world that have not had or don’t have to advantage of an education. So much money has been given to third world contries by many other countries and where is that money going? Certainly not to those who need it for health and education. I often wonder why the leaders of the world never do anythin about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved this story Sal. It’s funny how some people just stick in our minds for the goodness they’ve brought into our lives. I’ll always remember my grade 1 teacher, Miss Jacobs for many the same reasons, plus her compassion. And I had to laugh when picturing you reading Harold Robbins at age 11 LOL. OMG we were similar curious girls even when young. At least you had books in your home and were encouraged to read. There were no bookshelves or books in my home, but the occasional trashy novel at my mother’s bedside – Harold Robbins, Happy Hooker, lol and more. Hey, I wanted to read so I read whatever was around! 🙂 🙂 ❤ xo

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  6. This was a really refreshing read, Sally. There are some people that really do stay with us throughout our lives for the lessons they have taught us, especially teachers. Being able to read and write is something I very much take for granted, and like yourself, I was taught from a very young age. I am saddened that there are still so many people who are unable to do either as they are missing out on so much.
    The photo of you and your sisters was lovely too, you all look so happy!


  7. Love the photo of you three sisters. I’d recognize you anywhere. You look so much like the sister on your left. Teachers are special when they like their jobs. You lucked out big time.

    I couldn’t speak a word of English when I started school and for a long time couldn’t understand. There were a number of us and the teacher was frustrated and short-tempered–at least that’s my memory because I was frustrated too. When I learned to read, though, I practically lived at the library. 😀 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lovely story about your teacher, Sally. I had some wonderful teachers in primary school – and one horror. She had favourites and I wasn’t one. She also made us stand by our desks for what she called clock arithmetic. She’d point at various numbers on a clock face on the board and we’d to add them or multiply them. If you gave the correct answer you could sit down. I was often one of the last standing. My school work went right down that year but the following year we had Miss Blackett who was young – and to our eyes – very glamorous – and she was a brilliant teacher – so much so I got the progress prize in her year. Teachers have so much influence on children both for good and bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful post, Sally. A teacher can make all the difference in the world. I wouldn’t change being a teacher for anything. Just reading the stories your fellow bloggers tell of their teachers is heartwarming. You haven’t changed a bit from your photo!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Such wonderful memories, Sally! I remember one special teacher from my elementary school. her name was Mrs. Wilson. She was grayed-haired, slightly plump and a terrific teacher. I was in her 1st grade class and her 3rd grade class. She also directed us, her little “actors” in a Thanksgiving pageant for our parents. I got to play a pilgrim!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Smorgasbord Round up – Bruce Springsteen, Book Readings, Creative Artists and Top to Toe. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

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