Paying tribute to friends and mentors who have passed never gets easier and yet I write another one now. I am greatly saddened by the passing of one of my mentors – Prof. May Flores. She passed on last Saturday after years of health problems.
She will most likely be remembered by her former students for many things – margins on your yellow pad, a hundred lines of literature committed to memory, Stevick exercises, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, how many PS rules are involved in generating the sentence, “The cat is on the mat,” why it’s sweeter to say, “You are loved by me,” and what’s better than roses on a piano…
She was quite instrumental in my eventual dabbling in teaching and writing as professions. She was among those who convinced me that I was good enough to focus on language studies. I remember her pulling me aside after a class and telling me, “Keep at it.” That has always been a comforting thought in the many times I question my confidence and self-worth.
She was always generous in giving both scholarly and motherly advice, many of which I’ve taken to heart. But perhaps the best lesson she tried to teach me was from a rather unpleasant interaction we had in our Stylistics class when she had to deal with a smart mouth “semanticist” – that, when arguing a point, it’s better to win people over than just prove them wrong.
You’ll always be remembered, Ma’am. And missed.