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‘To Sir With Love’ and ‘Lean on Me’ — Black Educators That Made a Difference

Published February 21, 2022 by Maryanne
Sidney Poitier and cast of “To Sir With Love”

Yesterday my husband and I saw “To Sir With Love” on the big screen. It’s not only Black History Month, but yesterday was the late Sidney Poitier’s birthday. He died earlier this year, but had he lived, he would have been 95 on February 20, 2022. The movie was shown at the Union County Performing Arts Center in Rahway, New Jersey. This is where portions of “School of Rock” were filmed. My husband and I attended many shows at this theatre throughout the years, including their outdoor concert series prior to the pandemic.

“To Sir With Love” deals with social and racial issues at an inner city school in London. Poitier plays teacher Mark Thackeray, who is waiting to hear about an engineering job he applied for while teaching tough high school students. The movie also features Lulu in the cast of students and also singing her hit, “To Sir With Love.” I won’t give away the rest of it, for those who haven’t seen it, but I will say, I didn’t not expect to get so choked up about it. It was a fantastic movie.

While watching the movie, I was reminded of another male, Black professional who worked in the school system and also handled students with tough love. Paterson, New Jersey principal, Joe Louis Clark. I was honored to write about Clark, not once, but twice in my writing career. First for The Paterson Press, and later on, after his death, I wrote a Joe Clark tribute for Grey Journal: https://greyjournal.net/news/joe-louis-clark-nj-principal-who-inspired-film-lean-on-me-died-age-82/

Joe Clark inspired the 1980s movie “Lean on Me” which you can read more about in my article.

While one film is fictional and another is based on a true story, you can’t deny the impact these films had on society. With one more week of Black History Month, it’s a great time to check out either movie–or both.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: 10 Ways to Become Your Own Hero” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback or Kindle version, visit:Be (Extra)Ordinary

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: I Don’t Want To Be Like You

Her fiction book “Love Cats” second printing is now available, under the pen name Krystianna Mercury, from Pink Flamingo. You can purchase it here: https://eroticbooknetwork.com/product/love-cats/

Maryanne is also available for book editing and coaching. Rates are competitive.

And for positive messages, visit Be YOUnique, the Anti-Bullying You Tube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLq6J9MSvcjd-haQ30ycLWA/videos

My Favorite Colour is Autumn

Published November 2, 2015 by Maryanne

SAM_9136My husband’s PT Cruiser from restaurant window

Energized, alive, and ecstatic!

Here in New Jersey, we are enjoying the best autumn we’ve had in ages. The weather has been absolutely the best it’s been in a long time. Days are warm, yet crisp, ranging between 50 and 70 degrees. And, yesterday, the day after Halloween, so many houses and venues still had decorations up, so my husband and I basked in the Halloween joy of the season!

SAM_9142Waiting for my food at Beana’s

Still celebrating the Halloween weekend and approaching Cinco De Mayo, it seemed like a perfect time to grab a Mexican meal. We pigged out at Beana’s in Rahway (http://www.beanasmexicanrestaurant.com/). I had shrimp fajitas with a side of guacamole. Sitting across from me is my handsome husband, who doesn’t like having his pictures on the internet, but take my word for it, he’s super! ❤

SAM_9130Caldwell Chiropractic

We LOVE this clever chiropractic advertisement! But luckily since I started using Young Living Oils over a year ago, I haven’t the need to see a chiropractor or an acupuncturist! At 52 I have the back of a 20-something! If I sleep wrong, I just mix a bit of Pan Away with some coconut oil and I am good to go! That can be YOU! Email me and I’ll hook you up: maryannechristiano@gmail.com


Whether they’re real or fake, pumpkins are just the cutest part of the season. Last night my husband and I went to a “Pumpkin Sail” (yes, a pumpkin sail, not sale!) Children carve pumpkins then send them down the lake on a platform with a votive candle inside. It was so pretty watching them float along the river, heading down to the little falls.

And, finally, in Halloween spirit, we visited the house of The Watcher in Westfield, New Jersey.

If you Google, “The Watcher, Westfield, New Jersey” you’ll come up with a crazy story about a phantom watcher who writes anonymous notes to residents. The most recent residents were terrified and are suing the people who sold them the home because they weren’t told about what’s been happening at this house for ages.

My husband was brave enough to go up to the doorstep. I stayed behind. From where I stood it looked like the mailbox was full of mail. The vibe was creepy. Not a soul to be seen and an empty driveway. However, the homes around The Watcher house were full of life, lights on, Halloween decorations and cars in the driveways.

When my husband reached the doorway, the floor of the porch creaked!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “Love Cats” available on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1681020513