Letter to the Editor — Recalling a truly unforgettable teacher

Letter to the Editor — Recalling an unforgettable teacher

CONCORD, CA (April 2, 2023) — Dear Pioneer, A huge smile crossed my face when, in a recent edition of the Pioneer, saw a picture of my first grade teacher, Mrs. Ballinger, in Carol Longshore’s “Yesteryear” column in celebration of Women’s History Month.

The special person she was and most of everything she taught me, contributes to that smile.

Whether she was drawing a colored chalk birthday cake for a student’s birthday, or teaching us songs she had written, such as “New Shoes” or “Indian Paintbrush”, and “I’m a Ridin’, Ridin’ Cowboy,” I have so many fond memories of her lessons.

In the spring, we would walk from Williams Elementary across the playing fields of the high school and to her house where she would serve cookies and milk. It was one of the biggest days of the school year for all of her first graders.

Legend has it that she attended Mt. Diablo High School but lived in Pleasant Hill. Her father’s ranch was at the west end of what is now Boyd Rd. Her father was the first Anglo mayor of Todos Santos, soon to become Concord. To get to school, and she was very punctual, she would ride from the ranch to a train station near Contra Costa Blvd., stable her horse, ride the train to school, return by train and ride the horse back to her home at the end of Boyd Road. Many of her songs were written to the meter of a slow trotting horse.

So thank you Pioneer staff, for bringing back so many thoughts and happy reflections of a truly wonderful woman and teacher, Charlotte Ballinger.

Ron Redding

Related story: Concord celebrates Women’s History Month