Last night several EHS alumni gathered to visit, drink, and spend some time with our English Teacher, Bill Guy. He’s in town from San Diego for HIS high school reunion. It was a wonderful night, on many levels.
Sitting around the table, there were several student council presidents, cheerleaders, straight A-making-self-proclaimed nerds, non-joiners, and…me. People drove 45 minutes to three hours to get there. A table that would have never happened 20+ years ago, not only happened, but shared in laughter and pictures, and stories with a common thread of all, at one time, sitting in one man’s classroom.
I have said it before, and will say it again: I Love A Reunion.
More than most people.
Last night it was lovely to see the pride on Bill’s face because I think he got it. He got that he made an impact on our lives. He figured out, by some magical wonderful way, what we needed in that English class. Honesty. Respect. Discipline. Laughter. Encouragement. Strength. Passion for the work.
He was honest in his opinion of diagramming sentences.
“You will probably never do this in the real world. But you have to do it now.”
He encouraged our creativity.
“Mr. Guy can we listen to Whitesnake during class?–Sure.”
He humored our silly sides.
“Mr. Guy were you ever a hippy? –No, my mother wouldn’t let me.”
He gave us nicknames.
And twenty plus years later, a table of adults, with their share of success stories and full lives gathered to toast the man who saw in us, what we perhaps, couldn’t even imagine for ourselves.
In his letter to me, folded in my graduation card and dated May 24, 1989 he wrote:
“You have so much ahead of you. Just remember that you can have whatever you want. But…you will have to pay for it, either in effort, patience, determination, or maybe with tears and self-respect. The tricky part will be in deciding whether what you want will be worth the cost. In the final analysis you will get what you pay for!”
During this break in classes, as I embark on the final year of This Grad School Thing and contemplate “What’s Next?” I started to doubt. Visualizing the END of this is difficult. There is clutter, and papers, and test scores, and it’s just really foggy. That scares me.
Last night was a reminder. It was a bright light, cutting through the funk and the fog. Educators make a difference. Teachers, the good ones, impact a life forever.
I want to be that.
Sometimes a simple little reunion, gathering around a table on a patio, sipping cold drinks and sharing stories is just that. A simple reunion.
Sometimes…sometimes it’s so much more.