"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mr. Geometry - Spending Treasure #4

Though I wasn’t in the mood to read any of the serious stuff, I decided to glance through the daily paper last night before I went to bed. I just wanted to peruse briefly to see if there was anything I wouldn’t want to miss. I often do that - just to catch the local stuff.  For me, the local paper is more often a way to connect with old friends and acquaintances than anything. It’s not often I find people and events of days gone by, but when I do it is such a treat. It’s simply a way to remember things the way they used to be in the town I grew up, and I like that.

I’m glad I looked through our paper on this day. Submitted under "Milestone Announcements" was a photo of my old high school geometry teacher and his wife. They had just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. I was so happy to have seen this. I had just been thinking of Mr. M. and wondering if he was still alive. I remember the exact class room he held his classes at the old high school. It is now a middle school, I believe. I remember the row I sat in, and the seat I called mine, directly across from the door. I must have been planning an escape out this door a time or two, to remember it this vividly. And I remember Mr. M. at the head of the class talking to the students as he looked out at us over his little black readers. I loved Mr. M. though I wouldn’t say he was one of the “popular” teachers in high school. He didn’t even get credit for being one of the “good” teachers; at least among the students. But he should have.

I was a whiz at algebra when I was in 9th grade. I don’t think I ever got a grade lower than 99 on my report card. I even once got a 100%. Obviously, my algebra teacher was a great teacher, too; but other than that, algebra just came easy for me. So because of my high grades in that class, I got put in the “high honors” geometry class in 10th grade. It wasn’t long before Mr. M. and I both knew I didn’t belong there. I hated geometry and I really struggled with it. I remember Mr. M. coming to me one day and saying he understood what had happened; just because I did well in Algebra didn’t mean I would do well in geometry. To Mr. M.’s credit, he told me he would work with me and help me whenever I needed it. He may have mentioned sending me to the lower level class - I don’t remember for sure – but I don't think that happened, because I’m pretty sure I sat next to the “smart girl” the rest of the year. Because of that slight memory, I think “we” (Mr. M and I) just toughed it out for the rest of the year. I ended up with grades in the low 80’s…may have hit the high 70’s one quarter, but I never failed, thanks to Mr. M.

Over the years, (It has been 40 since that 10th grade class!) I have periodically run into Mr. M.  My folks used to go to the same church he and his wife attended. And he would come into the art gallery where I worked from time to time. He always knew who I was, and he always had a little memory to relay to me. He would without fail, steadfastly try to talk me into coming back to our old church. I look at that photo today, and memories flood into tears. What a smile he has on his face! So happy he seems. That is exactly how I remember Mr. M. It may sound silly, but I’m proud of him! He is a wonderful example of a life well-lived and a job well-done and I treasure every memory I have of him. What a guy!

1 comment:

  1. I was just the opposite. Struggled with Algebra I, and almost didn't sign up for Geometry the next year because of it. My guidance counselor talked me into it, and it turned out I was a whiz at Geometry! It was so logical to me. So I made the "mistake" of signing up for Algebra II the next year. I would have struggled again if we hadn't spent much of the year learning "computer programming" instead of actual math!

    It was only the second year our school had computers, and this was back in the day (1982) when an average kid like me could actually learn to write BASIC programming! The only thing that first computer we had could do was work algebra problems! Our kids just have no clue how far we've come, do they?

    And now I'm going off on a tangent! Guess I should save that story for a blog post of my own!