a tale of tails, tenacity, and tedium, as told by me, usually barefoot and bellowing

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lori E, You Asked For It!


I have had my knuckles rapped with rulers, I have been paddled for coming in from recess too early and had to clean some one else's writing off the wall.

I have been talked to, stood in the corner, stood on tip toes with my nose on a chalk line and stood in front of the class with gum on my nose.

I have been taunted, humiliated, punished, challenged and criticized, all by teachers. I guess I just looked guilty.

I learned everyone does not like tarantulas and had my pet, Harry, killed by a teacher. I learned that even though children are not allowed to pick their nose, teachers can. I learned that when a teacher spits in her hand and wipes it on the wall behind her back, we can still see.

I learned there are good and bad teachers, happy and sad teachers and some that are just there for a paycheck.

If I had to choose a teacher, I would choose my Dad, who is not a certified teacher but a lover of learning. He did not finish school and was the most self-educated man I know. I remember, even in high school, trying to bring a subject to the dinner table Dad knew nothing about, never found it.

Dad was a Will Rogers, Edgar Cayce, Euell Gibbons fan. He knew there was going to be a "Silent Spring" before Rachael Carson did. His favorite poem was Hiawatha. He loved music. He knew every plant, tree and rock. If we did not know an answer, he said look it up. He experienced the Dust Bowl, the Great Depression, and World War II. He could cut our hair just by looking at a picture in a magazine. The majority of his life was spent on road construction and we traveled. Life was a continual learning experience.

Dad brought his experiences to life with his stories. Each story had a lesson. He taught us love of the land, to live with it, not just on it. He encouraged us to learn. He always said the only stupid question is the one you do not ask. He said you can loose everything you own but they can't take your education.

The sad irony of this is, his knowledge is what he lost, slowly to Alzheimer's. And the man we knew as Daddy, left us. He left us with a wonderful legacy, his dreams, his adventures and his love of learning reside in all of us.

We love you, Daddy.

Writer's Challenge #3 from Family Trees May Contain Nuts.


Lori E said...

Well Gail you know that I love this story already. You did a great job. I really think that teaching has changed a lot since our day. Of course there are still teachers who shouldn't be in the same room with children but I also think there are a great many more who are sharing the wonders of learning with the kids they teach.
As for your father, he was a natural teacher wasn't he. He made it a part of everyday life. I wish I could have sat in on some of those dinner conversations.
Thank you for joining in. I knew you would do great.

Cheryl Ann said...

I'm a teacher myself. So was my mom and aunt. And, my daughter is a teacher. Who was MY favorite teacher? I'd have to say it was my 7th and 9th grade social studies teacher, Mrs. Nesbitt. See, after all these years, I still remember her name! She was hilarious! We studied ancient Egypt and she came dressed as Queen Neffertiti! She got me so interested in Ancient Greece that I read books and memorized the Greek columns! I'm glad I had her for two separate years. My best teacher who wasn't a teacher? I'm going to have to think about that!

achieve1dream said...


mbkatc230 said...

I think your father sounds like a perfect teacher, "certified" or not. He taught you to question, listen and learn. Sounds like the perfect definition to me! I love that you tried to stump him at the dinner table. And that you never could. This is a wonderful tribute to your father. Kathy

Journaling Woman said...

What a great tribute to your favorite teacher. Our parents are our first teachers.

You told your story well. Your dad would be very touched and proud that he impacted your life in such a positive way. He raised a good girl!

Maria said...

What a great Dad!!

hummer said...

I can identify with your story of your father. I had one very similar. Teaching with a story is a great talent, not one that is a skill. It is true that some teachers can put a bad taste in our mouths, but there are those, such as my mother, a teacher of 39 years, who dedicated herself to bringing out the best in each student.
I am glad you had your dad. He sounds special. Thanks for sharing.

Rudee said...

What a wonderful tribute to your father. I'm a little teary eyed here. I read your words and suddenly felt immense grief for the loss of his knowledge. Alzheimer's is such a horrible disease.

Big hugs!

The Green Stone Woman said...

I'm glad you have such good memories of your Dad, Gail. I don't hear a bitter undertone. That's good. So many of us remember our parents with mixed feelings and can't be as proud. I'm glad you are and have good memories. Treasure them.

Nezzy said...

I loved reading this beautiful tribute to the greatest teacher in your life. Your father sounds like an extraordinary man. So sad that Alzheimer's can take the people we love away. A wonderful story Gail.

Have a good day filled with good memories. You daddy would be proud!!!

Gramma Ann said...

What a wonderful tribute to you Daddy. He sounds like a great guy to know. But, I must say you brought a tear to my eyes. Alzheimer's is such a sad illness, I had an aunt, who was a school teacher all her life, she too got Alzheimer's. She was just the nicest and sweetest teacher, but in the end, it was all lost to Alzheimer's.

An English Shepherd said...

Yes there is good and bad everywhere and in people.

But more good that bad I think :-)


Anonymous said...

Is there anyone who can make a greater impression than a self educated man on his own children. What a wonderful man he was. Alzhiemer's, such a cruel disease, i'm sorry he had to suffer through it. Wonderful story. Thank you for sharing. Tammy

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