When I was in high school (those many years ago), we didn't have a lot of options in terms of foreign languages. It was Spanish or Latin. In fairness, there wasn't the emphasis on a foreign language that there is today so even enrolling in one of these classes was optional. And if you were planning on college, you were encouraged to choose Latin since so many of our English words have their roots in Latin ones.
Latin was taught by Vera Newcomer, a very nice lady but one who seemed as if she might have been a contemporary of Julius Caesar himself. I'd probably be mortified to know her real age given mine now but she was definitely grandmotherly. Mostly I remember her constantly fishing through the neck of her dress for some errant bra or slip strap that had escaped her shoulder and ran down her arm. That didn't, however, stop me from enjoying Latin enough to enroll for a second year.
Mrs. Newcomer didn't exactly make the dead language come alive but I did learn a good bit about the foundation of words which was, of course, the whole purpose in taking it. Beyond that...not so much. I often say that I only have so much storage space in my brain and when something new comes in, something old has to go out. And most of the Latin was gone long ago. I do remember from the translation of Julius Caesar's writings that the whole of Gaul is divided into three parts and veni, vidi, vici (I came, I saw, I conquered), both of which have little practical application.
Tonight though I was able to put something I learned in Latin class to immediate use. Clue 57 Down in the evening's crossword puzzle: Amo, amas, ______. That's quite possibly the very first thing we learned in Latin I...to conjugate the verb love.
Amo: I love; amas: you love; amat: he, she or it loves; amamus: we love; amatis: you (plural) love; amant: they love.
With memories of that third-floor classroom, bouffant hairdos and sock hops flooding my memories, I filled in those four little squares. So thanks, Vera Newcomer...who knew I'd be using what you taught all these years later.