Break the Chain The Mark Eklund Story:
"All the Good Things"

Exclusive (10/31/2000) This story of the impact a teacher can have on her students, and they on her, is true and inspiring, but the description after the story is completely unnecessary. The threats of bad luck and promises of good luck if you don't send it on make it a true chain letter.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Please take the time to read this... And forward it..

He was in the first third grade class I taught at Saint Mary's School in Morris, Minn. All 34 of my students were dear to me, but Mark Eklund was one in a million. Very neat in appearance, but had that happy-to-be-alive attitude that made even his occasional mischeviousness delightful.

Mark talked incessantly. I had to remind him again and again that talking without permission was not acceptable. What impressed me so much, though, was his sincere response every time I had to correct him for misbehaving -"Thank you for correcting me, Sister!" I didn't know what to make of it at first, but before long I became accustomed to hearing it many times a day.

One morning my patience was growing thin when Mark talked once too often, and then I made a novice teacher's mistake. I looked at Mark and said, If you say one more word, I am going to tape your mouth shut!"

It wasn't ten seconds later when Chuck blurted out; "Mark is talking again." I hadn't asked any of the students to help me watch Mark, but since I had stated the punishment in front of the class, I had to act on it. I remember the scene as if it had occurred this morning. I walked to my desk, very deliberately opened my drawer and took out a roll of masking tape. Without saying a word, I proceeded to Mark's desk, tore off two pieces of tape and made a big X with them over his mouth. I then returned to the front of the room.

As I glanced at Mark to see how he was doing, he winked at me.

That did it!! I started laughing. The class cheered as I walked back to Mark's desk, removed the tape, and shrugged my shoulders. His first words were "Thank you for correcting me, Sister."

At the end of the year, I was asked to teach junior-high math. The years flew by, and before I knew it Mark was in my classroom again. He was more handsome than ever and just as polite. Since he had to listen carefully to my instruction in the "new math," he did not talk as much in ninth grade as he had in third.

One Friday, things just didn't feel right. We had worked hard on a new concept all week and I sensed that the students were frowning, frustrated with themselves and edgy with one another. I had to stop this crankiness before it got out of hand. So I asked them to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name. Then I told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed me the papers. Charlie smiled. Mark said, "Thank you for teaching me, Sister. Have a good weekend."

That Saturday, I wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and I listed what everyone else had said about that individual. On Monday I gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling.

Really?" I heard whispered. "I never knew that meant anything to anyone!" "I didn't know others liked me so much."

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. I never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. the exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another again.

That group of students moved on. Several years later, after I returned from vacation, my parents met me at the airport. As we were driving home, Mother asked me the usual questions about the trip - the weather, my experiences in general. There was a lull in the conversation. Mother gave Dad a sideways glance and simply said, "Dad?" My father cleared his throat as he usually did before something important.

"The Eklands called last night," he began.

"Really?" I said. "I haven't heard from them in years. I wonder how Mark is." Dad responded quietly. "Mark was killed in Vietnam," he said. "The funeral is tomorrow, and his parents would like it if you could attend."

To this day I can still point to the exact spot on I-494 where Dad told me about Mark.

I had never seen a serviceman in a military coffin before. Mark looked so handsome, so mature. All I could think at that moment was, "Mark I would give all the masking tape in the world if only you would talk to me."

The church was packed with Mark's friends. Chuck's sister sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Why did it have to rain on the day of the funeral? It was difficult enough at the graveside. The pastor said the usual prayers, and the bugler played taps.

One by one those who loved Mark took a last walk by the coffin and sprinkled it with holy water. I was the last one to bless the coffin. As I stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to me. "Were you Mark's math teacher?" he asked. I nodded as I continued to stare at the coffin. "Mark talked about you a lot," he said.

After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates headed to Chuck's farmhouse for lunch. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting for me. "We want to show you something," his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. "They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it."

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. I knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which I had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.

"Thank you so much for doing that," Mark's mother said. "As you can see, Mark treasured it." Mark's classmates started to gather around us.

Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, "I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home."

Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album."

"I have mine too," Marilyn said. "It's in my diary."

Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. I carry this with me at all times," Vicki said without batting an eyelash. "I think we all saved our lists."

That's when I finally sat down and cried. I cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don't know when that one day will be. So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late.

Within 1 hour you must send this to other people. Within five days you will have a miraculous occurrence in your relationships. You may find new love or have an old love rekindled. If you do not send it, you will have, once again passed up the opportunity to do something loving and beautiful and continue the trend that gives you problems in your relationships.

If you've received this it is because someone cares for you and it means there is probably at least someone for whom you care.

If you're too busy to take the few minutes that it would take right now to forward this to ten people, would it be the first time you didn't do that little thing that would make a difference in your relationships?

The more people that you send this to, the better luck you will have. And the better you'll get at reaching out to those you care about.

Here's the deal: Forward this letter to at least 10 different people; within 1 hour of receiving it. Do it, and reap what you sow.

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

According to Snopes.com, the story is completely true. Sister Mrosla of St. Mary's School in Morris, Minn. wrote this tale to share her inspirational experience. Entitled "All the Good Things," it first appeared in Proteus, A Journal of Ideas in 1999. It has been reprinted in Reader's Digest, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and Stories for the Heart. In an Associated Press interview the author admitted that she is thrilled that so many people are touched by her story, but she's disappointed that it has become the subject of a chain letter.

doteasy.com - free web hosting. Free hosting with no banners.
The 6 paragraphs added after the story threaten bad luck and belittle and bully people into forwarding it. How does sending this on show my friends that I care? My friends are (for the most part) intelligent adults who are capable of making their own decisions about how to show their loved ones they care. They don't need a sermon to tell them how to treat their friends, and they certainly don't believe that the decision to forward or delete a message can change their lives. I would be insulting their intelligence if I sent this e-mail with the last part intact.

But what's great about e-mail is that we can edit it. If you want to send this touching story on, break the chain by deleting the part added after the story. Maybe even include a link that verifies the story as true. Let your friends make their own personal interpretations and decide for themselves if it's worthy of sending on.

What Do You Think?

Category: For the Kids
References: None

HOME | Privacy & Copyright