“It's not often in life that a former student can repay in a small measure what a teacher has meant to him and his career."
-- Robert Laxalt, speaking at the Bordewich School in Carson City, Nevada, from typed notes.
"It was Miss Bordewich who first taught me that teachers can be human … It did not come from the tedium of grammar, but from poetry and short stories, from the magic of writing. In those times, her eyes would brighten and her voice soften and a student would have to be dead not to be affected. The mark that a single teacher can make upon a student is a mark that lasts a lifetime. So it has been with me. She gave me the love of language."
-- Robert Laxalt: The Voice of the Basques in American Literature David Rio, 2007
The Robert Laxalt Papers include some of his notebooks from Miss Bordewich's classes, in which he has diagrammed sentences. Laxalt wrote his first fiction story in 1940 in Grace Bordewich's senior English class, a short detective story entitled ‘The Midnight Murderer.’”
Robert Laxalt further shared his appreciation for the influence of his teacher when he returned to Carson City after the publication of The Basque Hotel, in September, 1989, to officially dedicate the book to her. The Laxalt papers include the program for the event, the text of Laxalt's remarks, a thank-you note from the principal, and a letter from Grace Bordewich thanking her former student for honoring her.
Photos of Grace Bordewich by Gus Bundy. Left to right: At Pyramid Lake, 1958; Carson River, 1969; Grace Bordewich School Dedication, Carson City, Sept. 7, 1974, and Pyramid Lake, 1959. Click to see larger versions.