For travel advisor and loyal guest David N., AmaWaterways has become a second home. So there was no question for him as to how to thank his fourth grade teacher and her sister for a lifetime of friendship and support: he would take them on board an AmaWaterways river cruise. Here, based on his own words, is David’s unconventional story of love for the women who became his second "moms."
The Best Teacher Ever
When I was eight years old, I was diagnosed with a bone disease called Leg Perthes, which caused me to wear a brace up my leg and over my whole body. Joyce was the teacher in charge of the new inclusion program in which special needs students were integrated into regular school classrooms and this is how we came to know each other. I was in the 2nd grade. Later Joyce became my teacher for 4th grade.
I was, shall we say, rather hyper and a talker and Joyce had her hands full with me, but she was (and is) my all-time favorite and best teacher ever. In 5th grade, my father got transferred from Philadelphia to Orlando. Joyce became my pen pal and I would regularly send her postcards from Disney. Whenever we would visit Philadelphia, my first stop would always be to see Joyce.
A Long-Distance Friendship Continues
When I began university, we lost touch for a while as my head was filled with the typical college concerns. One day in between classes I was watching Oprah and the episode was about your favorite teacher, which of course prompted me to call Joyce to catch up. We laughed about how fast time flies and our mutual love for Disney and everything picked up where it had left off.
Over the next two years a lot happened. My dad got sick with cancer. I called Joyce. I was blackmailed out of the closet. I called Joyce. Issues with my love life. I called Joyce. Issues with my family. I called Joyce. I left school and moved back to Orlando from Tallahassee. I called Joyce. The lines were burning.
One day Joyce mentioned that she would be in Orlando for a teacher workshop given at Disney World and meeting there became an annual tradition for a while. Then Joyce and her sister Arlene started coming to visit me and my then partner and became substitute "moms" over the years.
Home is Where the Heart Is
In 1997, I moved back to Philadelphia to work for a major cruise line and of course, I moved near Joyce and Arlene. They were quite dubious two years later when I told them I had met a German in the Caribbean, started Trans-Atlantically dating, and then moved to Germany a short time after.
Over the 20 years that I’ve lived abroad we’ve stayed in touch with regular phone calls and I used to visit each year up until around 2012 when I discovered Ama and started organizing groups on their ships. It is hard to find time to go to America when you are on an AmaWaterways ship practically every eight weeks!
When it turned out that Joyce and Arlene couldn’t come on our wedding cruise being held on the AmaKristina in June 2019, we were disappointed, but determined.