Martha Garvey

I had lots of teachers who inspired me. My American history teacher in high school, Harry Hont, looked like Rasputin but taught like an angel. Under his watch, I wrote papers about the causes of the Civil War, the history of ragtime, and the development of the American public school system. He turned a group of students into a group of history investigators. We learned–and taught–things that amazed and shocked us. He made history come as alive as a current event. Thanks, Harry.

But I have to praise my mother, Martha Garvey Sr., poll watcher, committeewoman, community activist, volunteer teacher, and general fun gal. When I was a kid, she enlisted my four sisters and me in this game called “Let’s Collate and Fold the Flyers,” among others. 🙂 As I grew up in the 1960s and ’70s, I watched Mom work for changes in our Pittsburgh community and in our world. Sometimes it happened, sometimes it didn’t. She never quit, and she usually managed to have a good time doing it. Through her, I began to understand what service was. Though she formally from the community organization she led, at 79, she still serves on an advisory board for a public school in Pittsburgh, studies Spanish one morning, and the Torah another.

I am honored to share her name.