Thanks to the many great people who have helped me

This website, and my career as an English tutor that led to it, would not have been possible without help from countless people along the way—far more than I can realistically mention here by name.

First, I have to thank my teachers—all of the many, many wise and giving teachers I’ve had, both in school and in life—for all that you have given me, which is far more than I realized when I was a student. With the perspective of years and parenthood, your gifts have continued to grow in significance. Consider this website a way of thanking you by “paying it forward.” It is difficult to single out some of you because it’s unfair to the rest of you, but I do have to mention a few specifically.

My English teachers at Marshall High School—Mrs. Griffith, Mrs. Rooth, Mr. Sullivan, and Mrs. Kanning—prepared me so well for college, for life after college, and for a career (admittedly a quite different and more modest one) in English language education. Although it might have been difficult to tell sometimes given my poor habits as a student, especially in Mr. Sullivan’s class, I learned to love English literature and the English language in those years. I might well have majored in English at Trinity if my self-destructive fascination with unanswerable questions hadn’t driven me to study philosophy. Thank you for your knowledge, your patience, and your infectious love of English.

Dr. Stephen Field, head of the Chinese program at Trinity University, had an enormous influence on me personally and academically and literally changed the course of my life. Through his classes, my interest in Chinese culture became a path to many adventures, opportunities, and people that have enriched my life profoundly. That path made possible my tutoring niche in the Chinese-American community and my second career as a travel agent specializing in travel to China. Thank you for your wisdom, humor, and friendship.

In addition to being the best friend anyone could ask for, Dan Strickland has been a big brother and a mentor to me, and his generous assistance and guidance made this project possible. Thanks for all of your help and all of the unforgettable experiences we’ve shared, brother.

Thanks to all of my students over the years from whom I have learned a lot and also received a sometimes much-needed infusion of youthful energy. I hope it’s obvious how much I’ve enjoyed teaching you. I’m proud of you, and I’m happy that many of you have become my friends. Thanks to your parents as well for taking a chance on a quirky white dude with an unconventional teaching style.

I’d also like to thank LMi for always going above and beyond the call of duty to help me maintain my websites and fix any problems that I run into. If you’re looking for friendly, reliable, locally owned web hosting services, look no further.

Now to thank my family.

I’ve been blessed with the best relatives a man could have, relatives I love and am always happy to see. Many of you have given me guidance and inspiration, but I have to thank Edith Ott in particular for nurturing my better instincts during a critical time in my youth and giving me two books that had a deep and lasting influence on me. Edith and the others we’ve lost are loved and will always be missed.

Anyone who knows my parents knows that they are two of the kindest, most giving people on earth and can imagine how lucky I am to call them Mom and Dad. Mom and Dad, your love, generosity, and wisdom are extraordinary. There’s no way I could ever thank you adequately, but Camilla is a gift to us all, and I’d like to think she makes up for some of my failings.

My wife Kerry has been my close partner through so many profound life experiences, and she has not only put up with me and my eccentricities through all of it but remained loving and supportive every day. I love you, Kerry. Thank you for raising such an amazing daughter with me.

Camilla, I hope you’ll understand my decision to use your name for this website. You were the inspiration for it, and my hope has always been that you will benefit from it and maybe even contribute to it someday. But I know that we’re about to go through some years when it might be embarrassing for you to have your name and childhood photos publicly attached to something so flagrantly nerdy. If that’s the case, please forgive your goofy dad. Fortunately, books and the English language have already meant a lot to you in your life. I hope that will continue to be the case, as it has been for me, and I hope that you’ll find things on this site to learn from, laugh at, and be inspired by. That’s what being your dad is like for me every day—especially the part about laughing at you. (Just kidding! I’m laughing with you. Really.) Thank you for being you.