The month of May has many titles. Including: Older Americans Month, National Foster Care Month, Jewish American Heritage Month, Haitian Heritage Month, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, South Asian Heritage Month (International) and Mental Health Awareness Month.

Since 1985, the first week of May has been Teacher Appreciation Week. This was first presented to Congress by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1953.

I can still remember teachers who had a positive effect on my life.

woman in red long sleeve writing on chalk board
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

When I was in grade school, as I walked onto the school grounds during the summer, my classroom and gym teacher stood looking out an open window. They greeted me and then, with big smiles on their faces, said what a great student and person I was. It made my day. These were men/father figures who valued me. I did not have a father in my household. 

It was another elementary school teacher who realized that I was having a problem seeing the blackboard. She took me to the nurse’s office and stayed there while the nurse tested my eyes.

The nurse had not found any visual problems when she tested me alone. But now, with my teacher present, the test confirmed that I was nearsighted and needed glasses. When I got glasses, they were so thick that my sister called me “coke bottle eyes.”

Teachers play a very important role in students’ lives. Thank goodness I had some alert, caring teachers.

When looking up May holidays, I learned that May 1 is Lei Day in Hawaii. It is not the May 1 workers’ May Day. Lei Day is a nonpolitical celebratory day for Hawaiians to wear leis (necklaces) of flowers, seeds, shells, feathers or paper, according to Wikipedia, which notes that each Hawaiian island might differentiate by having leis of a certain color.

May 5 is the holiday Cinco de Mayo. It’s not “Mexican Independence Day” (that’s Sept. 16) – it’s an annual celebration of “the anniversary of Mexico’s victory over the Second French Empire at the Battle of Puebla in 1862,” Wikipedia says. I now know what the celebration is about!

This year, Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14. It is always on the second Sunday in May. Mother’s Day was initiated by Anna M. Jarvis (1864-1948) who was concerned about the lack of attention given to mothers by their adult children. A resolution for Mother’s Day was presented to Congress in 1911. President Woodrow Wilson declared the annual observation of Mother’s Day in 1915, according to the Farmer’s Almanac.

Early wishes for a feliz Cinco de Mayo and a happy Mother’s Day to all!

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...

Leave a comment

The RoundTable will try to post comments within a few hours, but there may be a longer delay at times. Comments containing mean-spirited, libelous or ad hominem attacks will not be posted. Your full name and email is required. We do not post anonymous comments. Your e-mail will not be posted.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *