In The Easy Chair: Elaine Temel

In The Easy Chair: Elaine Temel


AGE 47.

OCCUPATION Pawcatuck Middle School teacher; coach for WMS’ KIDS (Kids Into Deeds and Service), and volunteer for several local theater groups. Don’t believe what they say about middle school students; they’re great!


BORN, RAISED & GREW UP IN Boston. I was born into a large, crazy, loving, Boston Irish-Catholic family; spent summers swimming at my grandparents’ house on the Irish Riviera and visiting the cottage built by my great-grandfather, “Dep” McLean, a city of Boston fireman. Being a city girl, I didn’t own a car until after college and learned about the city by riding around on the “T.”

FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND MY TIME Traveling with my family, relaxing on the beach with friends, reading, going to the theater, listening to live music.

PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT Raising my three boys: Miles,15; Dylan,12; and Derin, 49 (just kidding, Derin). Although I can’t take much credit for that, all I did was love them. They did the rest. So grateful these boys are in my life and so very proud of them.

WHAT I HOPE TO BE REMEMBERED FOR Being a positive influence on my own children and on the students and children I’ve had the pleasure of teaching. I love the quote, “One hundred years from now, it won’t matter what car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much I had in my bank account, nor what my clothes looked like, but, the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child.”

TOP ITEM ON MY BUCKET LIST To visit Ireland to see where my family comes from, sleep in the countryside, and read by the sea.


WHAT I WANTED TO BE WHEN I GREW UP A ballerina with the Boston Ballet. The closest I got was the summer I took lessons at the Boston Ballet School, a dream come true. I danced from the time I was about 5 until just before I had my children.

MY BIGGEST INFLUENCES Every person I’ve met has taught me a lesson, some positive, some negative, some easy, some difficult, but all worthwhile. Growing up in Boston and living in five different states since graduating from college have been big.

FAVORITE AUTHORS John Irving, Ann Patchett, Wally Lamb, Jodi Piccoult, Mitch Albom and Anne Tyler.

LAST BOOK READ “A Hundred Summers,” by Beatriz Williams.

FAVORITE SONG “Moon River,” by Henry Mancini, the “first dance” at our wedding.

FAVORITE MOVIE “The Shawshank Redemption.” My favorite scene is when Morgan Freeman’s character walks down the beach, suitcase and shoes in hand, to meet his friend, Andy.

FAVORITE TV SHOW Don’t watch much TV. I’d rather read a good book.

FAVORITE PET All my cats, especially Willow, our first. She went out and brought back a mouse for Miles the day we brought him home from the hospital.

FAVORITE FOOD Seafood, especially quahogs dug up by my friend, Tom, and my boys. Isn’t it great to live in New England?

AMOUNT OF TIME I SPEND A DAY ON FACEBOOK Too much. I enjoy keeping in touch with family, friends and high school classmates.

TRAIT I MOST ADMIRE Kindness. I am so impressed by people who take the time to simply be kind. I need to remind myself to take the time to be kind.

PET PEEVE When kids say they hate to read. ... It breaks my heart. I wish every kid could find a book to love.

FAVORITE QUOTATION “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women,” by Madeleine Albright. I can’t imagine my life without all the women who have supported me, listened when I needed to talk, held me when I needed to cry, and laughed with me when I needed a friend.

MY FAVORITE THING ABOUT OUR LITTLE CORNER OF THE WORLD That it’s so rich with live music and theater — Summer Pops, Shakespeare in the Park, The Granite Theatre, Blues on the Beach, Tunes on the Dunes, Watch Hill concerts, the Westerly Town Band, The Chorus of Westerly, Theatre by the Sea. ... I recently helped out at New Shore Productions and its presentation of “Annie Jr.” My son, Miles, is a guitar player and my son, Dylan, is a musician and actor. The arts enrich all of us and are especially important for children because they learn creativity, confidence, focus, perseverance, teamwork, responsibility, and it’s fun! We’re so fortunate that the arts are alive and well in Westerly.

CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT My family and my book club. I love being married, being a wife and being a mom to my boys. What happens in book club stays in book club. ... But I will say that I love these women and couldn’t live without their friendship, and the stimulating discussions. We do talk about the book!

LITTLE-KNOWN FACT ABOUT ME I am a librocubicularist.

BEST ADVICE I’VE EVER RECEIVED This, too, shall pass.

ADVICE I BEST LIKE TO GIVE Nobody’s perfect! My kids grew up hearing this.

IF I RULED THE WORLD I WOULD End world hunger, then educate all the children of the world based on Plato’s philosophy: “Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”

IF I WON THE LOTTERY, THE FIRST THING I WOULD DO IS Build a house on the ocean for my family with a huge library for me, a man cave for Derin, a gym and baseball training facility for Miles, a music room for Dylan, and a huge deck for parties with our family and friends.

I DRIVE A family car.

I WISH I DROVE A Vespa, just for me!

ALWAYS IN MY FRIDGE Chocolate. It’s also always in my desk at work, my purse, my car, my bedside table …

IF I COULD HAVE DINNER AND A CONVERSATION WITH ANYONE IN THE WORLD I WOULD CHOOSE I would love to have a big dinner table set for my father, my husband’s father, my husband and my boys. The boys just didn’t get enough time with their grandfathers, who loved them so very much and knew them not nearly long enough.

— Interview conducted and edited by Nancy Burns-Fusaro.

Support Quality Local Journalism

Latest Videos