In Memoriam, P.C.P.

Last night I lay awake late, charged with excess energy after sending out query letters for my book. When I awoke, I learned of the passing of one of its inspirations. Pamela Corpron Parker taught my very first college course, and though I have known and loved may wonderful faculty members as both mentors and colleagues, it is still her image that drops into the slot when I hear the word “professor.” I remember her entrances to class – a smidge late and all a-flutter. The way she had us dance to “The Monster Mash” when starting Frankenstein. The B++ (whatever that is) that she gave me on my first paper, deftly knocking me down a peg while giving me the message that with harder work, I would succeed. I remember her welcoming the members of Honors Reading Literature into her home in a rose-covered apron, redolent of baking. “You’re a feminist but you wear an apron?” a male classmate said. We were all a little clueless. I certainly was; I had just turned in a paper implying that God was male. It must have taken a lot of grace to deal with us. Actually I know it did, because now I’m a professor with an oft-bitten tongue. Years after I saw her last, Pam helped me get my position – guiding the job material revisions that took me from only a few nibbles to more options than I needed. Once in a while, to my disbelief, a student will say I changed his or her life. It seems unlikely, but I do know one thing: Dr. Parker changed mine. That she is gone? Unfathomable. I think she just walked into a new classroom, all a-flutter and much too early. “Ah, how you will delight the angels.”

– Katie Carlson, Whitworth University class of 2003