Each summer while I was growing up I went to summer school for four weeks. It wasn’t a regular summer schools where I went to take classes for credits or anything like that. These summer school classes were just something for me to do during summers. All of my classmates from my Special Ed Classes were in these summer school classes, and we mainly just did arts and crafts, cooked, went on field trips, and had fun.
For several summers Susan Lewis, was my teacher. She was sweet and absolutely hilarious. Susan knew I enjoyed drawing and doing art, so one day she asked me to create some Christmas cards for her. I don’t remember how much she paid me, but I knew she paid me something. This was my first job in my art career.
Another thing that I will always remember about Susan is that she always mixed up my and Theresa’s names. For years, everybody at school always said that Theresa and I looked alike and that we could be sisters. We were sisters in terms of being good friends, and we hung out a lot. Susan kept calling me Theresa, and Theresa Vanessa so often that everyone in class kept telling her, “That’s Vanessa.” Or “That’s Theresa.” It was hilarious! One day Susan came up with the idea that every time she called Theresa or me the wrong name that she would pay us a quarter thinking that would help her keep our names straight. Unfortunately, for Susan that plan didn’t help her much. All it did was make Theresa and me richer. By the end of the day, Susan would pay us around $2 - $4. That was how often she mixed up our names. A few times I was busy doing something and suddenly I would hear some of my friends laughing and say, “You did it again. You called her Theresa. You owe her another quarter.” Susan would tell them to shush. It was so funny. I probably made more money from Susan mixing up our names than I did with the Christmas cards that I made for her. Too bad I didn’t have Susan as my teacher during the regular school year. I would be rich.