Mrs. Lambert’s Timeline

IMG0074Life isn’t short. Not if you look at it like a timeline. Like one of those 8th grade history assignments detailing the American Revolution from shots fired at Lexington and Concord to the Treaty of Paris.

Eighth grade history teacher Janet Lambert, who passed away last week from leukemia, influenced so many people’s “timelines.” In 2007 she taught my older son U.S. history and in a lunchtime group called “The History Hounds” she kept on teaching…only the 14-year olds didn’t realize it, they just thought they were having fun. Now my son is a college sophomore history major.

In 2011, my younger son took history with Mrs.Lambert. He excelled and enjoyed her class, though his previous interest in history was tenuous at best. Probably sensing this, Mrs. Lambert encouraged him to attend City Council meetings and to participate in civic debate. No one was more amazed than I was to see him confidently address our Beverly Hills elected officials.

Mrs. Lambert married an equally influential teacher, Coach Mike Lambert. Coach and Mrs. Lambert made all the children at their elementary school “their” children. Thinking about the Lamberts today, I walked past the North Field at Hawthorne Elementary School. Through the chain link fence I saw Coach with his floppy sun hat and his USC tee shirt, directing some boys on the basketball court. “Nice shirt,” I smiled.

He walked up to the fence when he saw Molly and me. “Just wanted to let you know, we’ll be there on Saturday for the Memorial,” I said. I raised my hand and leaned on the chain link fence.

He raised his hand and placed it against mine. I felt it through the metal. “Thank you,” he said. What I felt through my hand – fear, deep sadness, cold – affected me. We stood like that for a long moment.

The Lamberts

What made me walk on and not turn straight for home was the knowledge that Beverly Hills is a lot of things, but at its best, it’s a family. All of us, no matter what role we play, own a place on the timeline.

Author Description

Cynthia Baseman

Cynthia Baseman is the author of 'Love, Mom: A Mother's Journey from Loss to Hope.' She writes about motherhood, the environment and education.

There are 8 comments. Add yours

  1. 6th June 2013 | A Lucy Club Member says: Reply
    Mrs. Lambert was a wonderful teacher and a wonderful woman. She will forever been in our hearts. From History Hounds to the Lucy Club, to her every day classes. You will be missed!
  2. 2nd June 2013 | Elisa Newman says: Reply
    I was sorry that I hadn't known earlier about the memorial and learned about it tonight. You so beautifully captured not only the essence of a gifted teacher who will be treasured by her community, but also the special quality of living in our wonderful community. Elisa Newman White
    • 2nd June 2013 | Cynthia Baseman says: Reply
      Many people are dropping cards off at Hawthorne's front office, which I know Mike would appreciate.
      • 4th June 2013 | MAMACITA says: Reply
        We have many treasured memories in our lives. This talented and devoted teacher has left an indelible mark to all who knew her. She will never be forgotten.
  3. 1st June 2013 | Renee says: Reply
    There are teachers who leave an indelible impression on our lives. Janet Lambert I'm sure will be that for our kids. Sweet words, Cindy.
  4. 1st June 2013 | Jim bennett says: Reply
    Baseman, that was beautifully done. Have noticed that you look for the goodness/beauty in life. I admire that. Thank you for allowing me to share. :)
  5. 1st June 2013 | Stacey raskin says: Reply
    Beautiful words she will be missed by all those whose lives she touched!!! A wonderful teacher and mentor to all the children!
  6. 1st June 2013 | Susan says: Reply
    What a lovely tribute to a wonderful teacher. Thank you for your kind words. Coach Susan

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