An Apple for the Teacher. (Photo credit: rubyblossom.)
If he had lived, my Dad would have turned 100 this week. At one time, Dad was the apple of his parents eyes, their only son. Given his parents indulgence of him, his five sisters all held strong opinions about him both favorable and unfavorable.
Dad did not do anything remarkable over the course of his life, and given the breaks available to the men of his generation, he failed to take advantage of much that came his way, a reality which left my Mom gravely disappointed.
Partly, his failures were his own fault. He had a chilly personality according to some (my Mom). Despite his shortcomings, Dad managed to get himself elected to the office of president of various organizations, such as the Lion’s Club in our town, and, he became a high ranking member of the Knights of Columbus. I suspect his roles in these organizations had more to do with his willingness to work like a dog, however. Both he and my Mom were heavily involved in civic and religious causes of one kind or another..too many to list here.
Over the course of his work career, Dad was a government worker, self employed with his own small business, and worked for a large corporation. His fortunes rose and fell as he involved himself with one unscrupulous fellow after another. He had no sense of understanding when it came to smooth talking con artists. Nor did he understand what was good for him or his family.
I wish I could say he was a good parent, but he had little sense where childrearing was involved. I know my mother tried, but after a half dozen years of living a peripatetic life with my dad, several pregnancies, and an unstable econmic situation, her mental and physical health gave way, and she was no longer the best parent. As the oldest child, I got five good years, but my sister and brother had much less.
How did I even have a chance in this life? Mostly, I owe whatever I got from life to teachers (both male and female) and to my Aunt Marge (also a teacher) who took me under their various wings over the course of my life. In every grade but one, I can think of a teacher who helped me make it through one crises or another.
Many of them are gone now, I see their obits in the paper from time to time. Sadly, many of us have never let our teachers know what profound good they did in our individual lives. So here’s to teachers, mine and others. I know many of you feel burned out at the end of your careers, but you did much good along the way, and don’t you ever forget it.