There were some of my old colleagues there. Some of those who did not come had passed away, or were not available. Some chose not to come for their own reasons. I picked up my old buddy and guidance counselor, John. When I was the junior high school principal in Kutztown from 1973 to 1977, he was my friend, my confidante and the best guidance counselor I have ever seen.
Now things were not going too well for this octogenarian. He had a brutal accident which left him pinned under his car for five hours and resulted in his left arm beneath the elbow removed, as well as some of his memories. He is now confined to his home with daily care from family. This was the first time that I had been out with him alone in over thirty years.
We still had time to kid around and tell some jokes, as we always did. Some of the palaver was in Pennsylvania Dutch, but mostly in English. We arrived at the Kutztown Park at about three. We had been told to bring some snacks and utensils. I brought the snacks and John the utensils.
We were greeted by Jeff, the new librarian (new to me) and one of my former students, Hallie. I could not believe that Hallie was approaching 50 and that she had a 20 year old child. As I remember her, she was a skinny blonde 8th grade girl. She was always a favorite of mine.
Al, the science teacher was there wearing a safari hat and some sort of with it shirt. He was always involved in local politics. He spoke to me as if I was still living in town and aware of the goings on. I was not.
Bill, another science teacher and one of god’s good guys, and his wife Jane spent time with me giving me the lowdown on what has been happening. Bill sometimes helps out at a tree farm run by Tom’s son. Tom passed away a number of years ago and Bill helps out. It is a massive operation.
Dennis, the math teacher, retired in 1994, also works at the tree farm. He has not really been involved in regular work since his retirement. He was a tax collector for a while and now helps out at the tree farm. He has always been close with his daughter. We used to kid him about her name Ressica and shout it out in the street focusing on the first syllable. He always thought that was really funny and still does.
Bill was out tech person for a while and then became the high school librarian. I had sold my 1967 Chevy II to him a long time ago. He still was talking about how it had a corvette engine in it, which he had to tamp down. Bill is truly retired and seems to be happy.
My son Marc’s favorite teacher was Marie, who taught 7th grade history. He was in her class when she took a sabbatical and traveled to Egypt and brought back all kinds of goodies and stories. She still looks the same, though I am not sure that she is mentally where she was.
Barbara taught my children about the Egyptian, Greek and Roman Myths in English class. She was, and still is, a sprightly, upbeat person with an infectious smile. She was indeed happy to see me, as I was her.
Larry, Mr. Smooth, Square and Flat, our shop teacher was there with his wife. He is as thin as ever and still has his rather dour sense of humor. My son loved his kind of Pennsylvania Dutch humor
I missed many of those who could not be there= Lou, George, Terry, Dorothy, Laila, Lucy, Jim, John T., Doug, Betty, Paul, Eleanor, Mary, Jean, Fern, Tom, Jake, Richard, Dave, Ellen,Lucinda, Nancy, Judy, Larry, Audrey and Art.
Those were a special four years for me, and, I am told, for the staff also. When I left to become superintendent, they gave me a going away present- a normal picture of them and one where they were all looking crazy. God bless them all.