Nina Yokelson visiting from San Francisco, Brooklyn, 2009

Nina was my nursery school teacher. She is also now my friend, surrogate "grandmother" (appointed by me), and role model.

Whenever I tell people that I hang out with my nursery school teacher they say, "You still know her?" Then I say, "Well, she is a pretty special person, and the school was a pretty special place."

It was Noe Valley Nursery School in San Francisco, which is still there going strong. Nina was the matriarch for about 35 years. My time was the mid 1970s - a time of rainbow socks and play dough and roller skates and an infamous gorilla costume (!) Really good childhood memories that seem like hallucinations or dreams.

I get to hang with Nina when she is in town visiting her cousin in Park Slope (the other Noe Valley). She tells all the good stories and a couple of new one. I just sit and listen to her faded NY accent, and study her face.

I have wondered sometimes, "How can she remember all the kids? How can she have this much love to go around?" I'm sure she does not LIKE every one of the kids, but she has love for them. Nina has taught me by example that love is not a limited commodity. That is a very interesting realization to have - that you don't have a finite amount of love that gets divided by those you love, in competition with each other. Sometimes life feels like this, but it is not true.


Lesley Ann said...

I too had a nursery school teacher that I was very fond of. Mrs.Smith was able to run her school out of her home from the 50's-80's. She closed the school because she couldn't afford to put in all the fire doors, exits, etc..
People always look at me funny when I say "nursery school".
Many of our mothers worked, so my grandmother would walk over to where I went to kindergarten, walk several us to her house for a drink and bathroom break and then walk us the 2 blocks to Mrs. Smith's house. I have wonderful memories of her and the school.

Shelby Levesque said...

She's beautiful, I love her youthful dimples.

Kathy Harvey said...

I remember Nina when my son went to nursery school in the 1960's. We parents learned a lot from her about parenting and other things. I moved away and for years have wondered how Nina is. Your photographs bring back many good memories of Nina and the nursery school.

yoram berger said...

Hi! if Nina has roots in Strzegowo Poland, please let her contact me. I have some intresting news for her
Yoram Berger Israel

ed sshuck said...

NVNS began in 1969. I met Nina then. From '69 - '73, my kids were at NVNS. I had the pleasure of getting to know Nina when my g'kids went to the school and I did work days - for 5 years. I am pleased to have known her.


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