THE YEAR OF THE TONGUE

Have you ever been to a Chinese restaurant and they put down those place mats with the Zodiacal signs, such as the year of the horse, year of the tiger? Have you ever noticed the Year of the Tongue? 1959 was the last year that I ever ordered a tongue sandwich on rye in a deli. It had been a particular favorite of mine since I was a kid and 1959 killed it.
I had just returned to Queens College from the military in January of 1959. I had left college in March of 1957. I was so much younger than my classmates in 57 but now I was a bit older. I did not think much about it until I started having commune with young ladies on the Q.C.campus.
Dr. Leonard Kornberg, a professor of education, selected me to be one of the co-chairs of something called the Little White House Conference on education. The other co-chair was a young lady names Audrey Silverberg. Audrey was a tall woman, about my height, frizzy brown hair and an all consuming interest in sexual matters.
You must understand that I was neither a prude, nor a chicken. Audrey and I were in the same math class. She was a math major and I had no idea what was going on. She offered to study with me in her home whenever we got a chance. Her view of that statement was every day. Mine was once in a while.
Our first study session took place about a week after the first conversation. I arrived at her house, by bus. I could not afford a car, even though I was working about 30 hours a week, plus school. She introduced me to her mother, pleasant women who offered me goodies, coffee and such. I was prepared to begin studying.
I think that the course was integral calculus. Our books and notebooks were spread out on the kitchen table. Audrey sat very close to me. It was not an unpleasant feeling. As we began the first homework problem, I got the distinct impression that Audrey had magically put one of her hands on my thigh. I tried to concentrate on the problem, but, as you men understand, that is hard to do with a woman’s hand on your thigh.
I think that Audrey understood that too. She rose up from her chair and stood behind me to show me something in the text book. That was the second problem. By that time, I think I realized that there was something going on other than studying integral calculus.
If you watch Big Bang Theory you know that Howard’s mom is always calling him from another room. As Audrey was leaning over me (what a surprise), her mother’s voice rang out forcefully, “Is there anything that I can do for you?” I was going to answer, but Audrey shouted, “Just let us study.”
I was sorely tempted to leave. However, my testosterone was already overcoming my super ego. Audrey kind of swiveled me around so that I had to face her. She closed in on me and began a series of French kisses that would have dazzled a dinosaur. She must have done weight lifting with her tongue using steel balls. I truthfully, could not keep up with her.
For those of you who do not have the French Kissing skill (me among you), you realize that the tongue can get tired. At least, my tongue got tired, Audrey’s did not. I will bet you that she practiced with tongue depressors daily. She had an iron grip on me and I could not and, I guess, didn’t want to escape.
I am not sure what it is that I thought as were in the death grip. I was going to let Audrey do the leading. She had evidently had some practice, but I knew not what happens after fifteen minutes of French kissing. I still don’t know today.
Audrey finally released me and threw a towel over so that I could wipe the liquid that had accumulated around my mouthel area.. She did the same. I did notice that all of her lipstick was rubbed off and wondered where it went. She sat down next to me with her hand on my knee and we continued to study for about two hours. I must admit that I did not calm down for a long while. I did not stand up when her mom came into the room.
Audrey and I had a number of tongue sessions after that. I tried to go further, but she was not interested. It’s like getting a free pass to first base and then getting shut down the rest of the game. After a number of months of studying, kissing and holding hands on campus, we drifted away from each other, me to a young lady who was passionate about French kissing, but so many more things and Audrey to becoming a math teacher.
I must tell you that I got a B in my integral calc class. It was the highest mark that I got in math in my college career. I owe it all to Audrey’s tongue.

A GOOD DYNASTY

Bill Miller has been the superintendent of schools in the Tyrone Area School District in central Pennsylvania. He has been a supe since 1971. His dad was the superintendent in Tyrone from 1939 till 1971. I was hoping that when Bill retired his son Norm, would take over. It does not look like that would happen. Bill is up for Superintendent of the Year for the U.S. This is a letter of recommendation I wrote for him.
. I have been involved in public education for the past 51 years. I have known Bill Miller for 25 of those years. Bill is an anachronism. In these days of carpetbag superintendents and quick change artists, Bill has been a stable influence in the Tyrone Area School District since 1971. He is the longest sitting superintendent in Pennsylvania and he is still going strong.

His constancy has meant a number of things to the students in his charge. There has been a degree of consistency in the schools that emanates from Bill and his personality. He has trained his school board members not to jump on any bandwagon that comes down the road. That is not to say that he does not look for new things to help his kids. He represents, to me, a model of efficiency, perseverance and thoughtfulness.

He also stands up for things in which he believes. In the late 1980’s, the organization that I helped found, Pennsylvania Association of Rural and Small Schools filed an equity suit claiming that rural schools were being funded inequitably. Bill was a vocal supporter of the suit and convinced a number of his area cohorts to join the suit. Eventually, there were 240 school districts of the 500 in the state. Bill was the only superintendent to be at every single day of the trial. He actually ran his school district from the courtroom. That is not the sign of someone living in the past.

During a particularly difficult time for his school district, an investment consultant made some errors in investing school district funds and Tyrone Area lost many millions of dollars. However, that was not to stop Bill Miller from fighting tooth and nail to get his district’s money back. He finally did. I am glad that he is on my side.

You are not going to find anyone else like Bill Miller. He is someone that students and communities can rely upon. That is a rare commodity in this era of litigation, charter and cyber schools and people who are devoted to destroying public education.