On Finding That Little Voice (for Ms.Lynne Aidikoff)

I came to America at age 9 not speaking a word of English. Liberal art classes were obviously my least favorite. All that the school system cared about was reading a passage and answering some stupid questions about main characters and plot. Needless to say, I didn’t thrive in school.

Then came the 6th grade, junior high. Ms.Lynne Aidikoff was my writing/history teacher. Somehow in all my grammatically incorrect assignments, she saw something worth reading. My dad had a meeting with her during the school year, she told him I can write (who knew?!). I received my first A in English since coming to America that year.

So I kept on writing, and reading so I can keep on writing. I wrote words that she loved which delivered my heart and my opinions. The type that was shamelessly honest and vulnerable. I wrote my way into UCLA, through upper division romantic lit classes in college, and then to medical school.

This year, during my residency interview, the program director remarked “I read 1000 essays this year, yours is the only one I remember.” I can’t help but think of Ms.Aidikoff and how her encouragements brought me here.

We’ve been in contact via facebook over the past few years. She left little comments and messages filled with proudness, joy, and always encouragement. I found out today that Ms. Aidikoff passed away recently. I wish I told her what an amazing adventure in literature, writing, and life she had sent me on. What unbelievable empowerment, release, and comfort writing has brought me in the darkest times of my life.

Looking back, I only realize now that she had given me the single greatest gift that a student can acquire in education, a voice.

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18 thoughts on “On Finding That Little Voice (for Ms.Lynne Aidikoff)

  1. luvwhatuce

    Wow. This is a great post. I’m sorry to hear she passed away- as it sounds like she greatly impacted your life. I’m sure she’d be happy to know you are continuing to write… 🙂

    Reply
  2. Lay W.A.

    You’re lucky to have a teacher who encouraged you 🙂
    And this is so touching :’)

    This year, during my residency interview, the program director remarked “I read 1000 essays this year, yours is the only one I remember.” I can’t help but think of Ms.Aidikoff and how her encouragements brought me here. —- You’re great!

    Reply
  3. Jeff Aidikoff

    Hi. I am Lynne’s son, Jeff. Your words are touching. It’s not everyday anymore that I get to hear stories about how my mom touched a student’s life. My mom loved teaching and I appreciate you sharing the impact she had on your success. Not only was she a great teacher and mentor, she was the best Mom. We miss her tons.

    -Jeff Aidikoff

    Reply
    1. mochabeanie Post author

      Jeff – I’m so sorry you lost your mom. She was simply one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. She was tough, but wonderful! I can’t imagine how much she’s taught you!

      Reply
  4. JoEtta Matos

    Lynne was my best friend for 30 years and I miss her dearly, she would be so proud of you and very honored that she made such an impact on your life….. congratulations!!

    Reply
  5. Elfi Elling

    Happy Birthday to my dear friend Lynne Aidikoff!!! I just read your blog and it made me cry!!! I know how much she cared about her students and her untimely death has been such a blow to all that loved her. I am so happy for you, I also came to the U.S. at a young age. The teachers that inspired me, I will always remember. Thank you for your beautiful words, you are a testimony and an inspiration!

    Reply
    1. mochabeanie Post author

      I’m so sorry you lost your sister. She’s simply such an inspiring and wonderful person! I’m so very grateful to have been her student.

      Reply
  6. Nancy James

    She was my friend since high school — mid-1960s. We had a very special friend-in-common and several years ago we all reconnected. It made me smile to think she made such a huge impact on your life. Today is Lynne’s birthday and tomorrow is our friend-in-common’s birthday — both have passed away. Sad time but your story helped make it a special day/time. Thank you.

    Reply

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