A Wonderful Visit with "Miss Long"
Beverly Smith Zacharias ... March 15, 2003
Three teachers made a difference in my life: Thelma Plant, Billy Bragg
and Helen Long. Thelma and Billy were controversial personalities and
teachers ... not Miss Long ... she was the lamb among the lions (if you
will), and the students that claim her as their "favorite" are legion.
In 1955, the Thronateeska dedicated to her stated, "... your
unfaltering courage, which so vividly shines because of your devotion to
God, your abounding joy, which is so refreshing because of your gift of
humor, and your loving kindness, which enriches the lives of all whom
you meet because of your sincere friendship to all of us."
Many have stayed in touch with Miss Long, and I hear constantly from
students who made a point of seeing her when they visited Albany. I
have stayed in touch with her through phone calls and Christmas cards
with her handwritten notes in them; so it was she I wanted to see when I
was in Albany last. I was a guest in the home of Buster and Brenda
Martin Wasden, and Brenda was eager to go with me to visit my favorite
teacher, who for many years has had a different last name that I cannot
seem to remember to use!!!
(click pictures to
Helen Long Cordell is now living in
Morningside of Albany and quite enjoying her new life of "leisure"!!
Brenda and I found her in her "exercise" class, which had just ended.
She was delighted to see us and invited us into her new home! She proudly showed us her
home and then we sat down to visit. It was charming and felt warm
... just like her! On the sofa there is a small pillow
that states "I Believe In Angels".
I soon found Brenda to be quite an
interviewer - it is an unusual talent to be able to bring out wonderful
stories from people - and Brenda was incredible with Miss Long Cordell! She
asked her how the relationship between her and Mr. Joe Cordell started.
I wish I had taken my video camera with me - there is no way I can share
the exuberant joy she shared with us. If only you could have heard the
whole story - but let me just tell you this precious part ... in answer
to Brenda's question, Miss Long said that one evening the phone rang and
the caller identified himself as Joe Cordell. And she responded, "Yes,
Mr. Cordell" ... after all he was her boss! After asking how she could
help him, he responded that he wondered if she might accompany him to
dinner. She responded ... "Mr. Cordell, you have been very forthright
with me, and so I shall be with you!!! Yes, I will!!!"
(Note: these are very close to her exact words - in fairness I cannot
claim otherwise!!!). And so they went to dinner, and as she says
... the rest was history! They were married a few months later, and had
over 20 extremely happy years together.
For those who did not know, Miss (Mrs.) Long was previously married to
Wayne Long for a brief time before he left for the war. They had been
married only 3 months when he was killed in action. She speaks lovingly
of that marriage.
The morning passed too quickly. I took some pictures and we hugged and
said our goodbyes. I left that morning walking on air! I had spent
magical moments with someone who had always been special to me - and now
she was even more so!!! Soon to be 91 ... Miss Long Cordell is still a woman
of beauty inside and out; she walks and carries herself tall as an oak,
though she is short in physical statue; her spirit glows from the inside
out, and you feel loved and inspired sitting in her presence. So she
believes in angels? So do I ... Helen Long Cordell is an angel here on
earth! And she has touched my very soul!
Back to Top