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Former teacher remembers Romney as teen

MESA, Ariz. — Before he was Gov. Mitt Romney, or presidential-hopeful Mitt Romney, he was simply Mitt.

At least that’s how Helen Schlie of Mesa sees him. Schlie was Romney’s Mormon Sunday School teacher when he was 15 and living in Michigan. She even had to drag him to class on occasion.

“He and Dennis Gallagher were always some place in the [church] building,” said Schlie. “I had to go find them.”

Schlie also visited Mitt’s mother, Lenore, on occasion at the Romney home. She remembers watching Romney and his siblings eating meals at the table, and notes that they were a well-behaved bunch.

It’s been 50 years since Romney was in Schlie’s class and much has changed for him, but when Schlie sees Romney on TV talking with voters and debating rivals, she doesn’t see a presidential candidate. She see the same boy that she pulled into her Sunday School class.

“He’s been taught from Day One how to handle people, and how to be kind and honest,” said Schlie. “He would look at things from all perspectives. He would look at things from every angle before he made a decision.”