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A Golden Lady

October 16, 1994

It was gratifying to read Jonathan Gold's commemorative essay about his mother ("A Good Teacher Passes," On the Town, Sept. 18). I knew Judy Gold when I taught at Dorsey High School. She was the best librarian I ever worked with in my 20-plus years of teaching English.

It wasn't uncommon to visit Dorsey's library at any time during the school day, especially at lunch time, and see a cluster of her students, from all cultural groups, magnetized by her special talent for finding the right book, knowing the small details of a puzzling assignment or just being there to listen.

And it wasn't just the children whom she touched. She offered teachers tremendous professional support and maintained an ongoing collection of new arrivals in books that served all tastes.

Her memory and influence will never be forgotten by those of us who felt that, for too long, her efforts and value went unnoticed.

Barbara (Baehr) Jimerson

Thousand Oaks

*

I have been a special-education teacher at Dorsey High for eight years and was so touched to read about my favorite person there, our late librarian, Judy Gold. Ms. Gold, who influenced the lives of many more people than just her family, friends and students, was also there for me--the tired, worn-out instructor who works in too big a school district, in too dangerous a city, often with too little support and encouragement to continue. But she was always there to suggest a new book of fiction with which I could escape reality for a few minutes a day, asking how my graduate classes at USC were coming along, suggesting books for my students who had never read an entire book before.

Her presence was important to all of us committed to improving the quality of education for all the students in Los Angeles.

Susan Kogan

West Los Angeles

*

Gold's column about his mother was a loving tribute to the overworked, over-involved, under-recognized and undervalued inner-city schoolteacher. There are many who work hard to motivate and inspire without parental support and little administrative encouragement. We hear about so few--only those whose stories are so dramatic--one wonders who's writing the press releases.

Diane Weinstein

Los Angeles

*

What a shame that Jonathan Gold felt it necessary to stealth-bomb the Crenshaw neighborhood where his mother spent 25 years as a multicultural educator. She, of all people, would have roundly condemned his talk of "the apathy of the district and the contempt of most of the students." Moreover, it's beyond belief that a woman of her integrity would trot out the old yarn about the football players reading "Black Beauty."

While the area endures the problems shared by all but the wealthiest L.A.-area neighborhoods, it's also one of the warmest and most vibrant. Living here, it's easy to understand why Gold's mother never applied for that transfer.

James McMullan

Los Angeles

Gold responds: Really, the old "Black Beauty" yarn actually did get unwound at least four times a year.

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