“It’s a Cop!”

Today’s writing prompt actually made me laugh: “Have you ever had an encounter with the police?” Yes. Yes, I have. I have had a few …. as a matter of fact …..

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My First Ticket

It was probably my junior or senior year and there was a very cool record store in Ferndale called “Sam’s Jams.” They had everything, including some very hard to find vinyl albums. I remember finding old Soupy Sales albums, rare Tom Lerer albums, and stuff I didn’t even know existed on vinyl there. I spent many hours there before they closed their doors.

I was driving in my dad’s 1979 Caprice Classic (I loved that car!) through Royal Oak and Steve was with me. It was in November, so it was already dark out. The speed limit was like 30 and I was going a little faster than that. I remember when the flashers went on behind me – I was terrified! I had never been pulled over before. There were butterflies in my stomach and I was sweating as the policeman approached the car.

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He asked for my license, registration, and proof of insurance. He asked if I knew how fast I was going and if I knew what the speed limit was. I didn’t know either. He said he’d be back. I became more and more nervous the longer he was in his car. When he returned, he asked, “Do you know you are driving on expired plates?” My dad’s birthday is the first of November, and my dad insisted that he had until the end of the month to renew. I told the cop this and he said very sternly, “You’re dad is wrong. Are you aware that I can impound this vehicle? Where are you heading?” I told him we were going to Sam’s Jams. He told me, “No you are not. You are going home. I would recommend that you not do any driving until your dad gets these plates renewed.” He then handed me my ticket, and told me I was lucky he wasn’t impounding the vehicle. I turned around and drove home (where my dad insisted that he had until the end of the month to renew those tags!).

No stranger to tickets

Don’t take that heading the wrong way, I just have had a few tickets here and there in my 30+ years of driving. One of them came on Thanksgiving.

ERIK ESTRADA & LARRY WILCOX CHIPS (1977)

We were leaving my dad’s house and heading to my ex’s family’s house for dinner. We hadn’t been driving very long, because we were technically still in my dad’s neighborhood when I got pulled over. If my memory serves me correctly, we had stayed a bit longer than my ex wanted to at my folks house. When we left, she was angry and we were arguing in the car. I was driving in a 25 and probably doing 40-45. She was telling me that we were going to be “so late” and the more she yelled, the angrier I got.

The cop was going the other way and he swung around quick and turned on the flashers. This, of course, led to more of an argument. The cop walked up and asked for my information and I believe my ex said, “I knew he was going too fast, sir.” My son asked the cop if I was going to jail – LOL. I got a ticket and an earful that continued all the way to her family’s Thanksgiving dinner.

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One ticket I got was while driving to work one night. There was an accident at the intersection of 12 and Woodward. I took Woodward to work every night and had to turn right onto 12 Mile. Driving toward 12 Mile, there was a wrecker with a vehicle already on it just before you reached 12 mile. The cop was on the other side of 12 mile and his flashers were on. There were cars going the opposite way on 12 mile, so when I got to 12 mile, I turned right. (So the cop is on my left on one side of 12 on Woodward, and the wrecker is on the right side of 12 mile on Woodward). As I pull into our parking lot at work, he zips in behind me and turns on the lights.

Keep in mind, there are no flares or cones or anything on the street AND there was nothing blocking me from making the turn, so I figured I was ok to do so. Nope. I was informed by the officer that I had drove through “an accident scene” which I guess is a TON of points. He wrote me up instead for “impeding traffic”, which was a little less points, but still a few more than I ever wanted on my record.

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I am a creature of habit. I take the same way to work every day. I like to travel familiar roads. When the GPS has me take another way, or I am in unfamiliar surroundings, I start to get nervous. Especially when the roads are back roads that twist, turn and wind all over the place.

Friday, I was driving to an appointment and the GPS tells me that the road ahead is closed and has me get off and take another route. The roads are twisting and turning all over the place and before I know it, I am in a construction zone. The GPS is yelling at me to turn in like .2 miles and because I am not paying attention to my speed, you guessed it – here comes the Oakland County Sheriff.

He had every right to cop the attitude that he did. “Do you realize you are in a construction zone?” “You do see that there are workers present and that there is no concrete barrier, right?” My heart was pounding. I am always careful – especially in construction zones. My wife can tell you, I usually have the cruise control on. She even jokes about how slow I drive. I was given a break (thankfully) because I had no points on my record. I was told to slow down and he wrote me up for 5 over. I am one lucky guy!

My favorite encounter with the police – October 1987

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I have probably blogged about this before, but when I was a senior in high school the big thing to do was toilet paper houses. There were many groups that went out together – the cheerleaders, the football players, the choir members, and of course, us band people. The band was large and there were three or four groups that went out and TP’d. My group was the TP Bandits.

One of my best friends, Steve (the same Steve who was with me when I got my first ticket) had a birthday in October. He was dating a gal at the time and for his birthday, we decided that we were going to TP his house. When did our “drive by,” we could see him upstairs in his room watching TV with the gal. We parked the car just a bit down from his driveway and Margaret, Ronnie, and I went to work. The three of us used a ton of TP on this huge tree in front of his house, wrapped bushes, the mailbox, etc…. it was a beautiful job!

Once everything was finished, we stood in the middle of his lawn and sang “Happy Birthday” at the top of our lungs. He came to his bedroom window and laughed. After the last note was sung, we turned and ran to our car … but we didn’t get far. As we sung Happy Birthday, a cop car had pulled up in front of the house. Ronnie and Margaret ran away first and I was probably making faces at Steve or giving him the finger or something. All I remember hearing is Ronnie yelling, “It’s a cop!” I then felt a very firm grip on my shoulder and was told to get in the back of the Warren Police Cruiser.

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As the officer closed the door of the cruiser, I could see Steve’s mom running outside yelling, “It’s a prank! It’s ok! They’re ok! It’s just a prank!” Margaret, Ronnie and I sat in the back of this cop car and I kept thinking, “We’re never going to get to go to graduation!” “We’re being arrested for TPing!” “What the hell am I gonna tell my folks?!”

The cop in the car went one by one and asked us our names, our addresses, our phone numbers, and probably a bunch of other things. I don’t remember much of it, but I know I laughed when he got to Ronnie, because he totally started rattling off all his info as fast as I have ever heard him talk! The cop told us that we could go to jail because of vandalism or something and I thought, “It’s TP! Are you serious!?” When the other cop returned the vehicle, he played “good cop.” He told us that he had all our information. He wanted us to go out and clean up as much as we possible could. They were going to drive back by the house later and if it wasn’t cleaned up “we know where to find you!”

Steve got quite a laugh out of the whole thing. I think the cops asked if they wanted us to clean it up and he probably told them yes. It was a huge birthday backfire. I also remember coming to school the next day and waiting for people to razz us. A few people had heard what happened, but surprisingly, no one really said anything. I thought we were totally in the clear. During band class, we were in the middle of a song and all of a sudden, our band director, Mr. Shaner, cut us all off and proudly yelled, “Hey! Did everyone hear what happened to our TP Bandits last night?!” The band erupted with laughter and Margaret, Ronnie and I were red with embarrassment!

Yeah … I’ve had a few encounters with the police …. some were more fun than others!

Psssst! Did you hear the latest?

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Dreaming about band class is not uncommon for me. It happens often. Many times it is a recurring dream – I blogged about that recently at the following link: https://nostalgicitalian.com/2019/06/19/recurring-dreams/

Yesterday, however, the dream involved something that I had pretty much forgot about. The dream took place before a football game. I know this because we were all in our marching band uniforms. As we walked into the band room, (arriving early – because “if you’re on time, you’re late!”) there was a music stand by the door. On the music stand was some sort of printed “newsletter” which was typed out using an old typewriter. You remember the old typewrite font??

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Every student anxiously went to the music stand to grab a copy and read through the latest “gossip.”

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I woke up and laughed. How had I forgotten something that all of us band kids looked forward to each week? Band Gossip was always a lot of laughs. Let me explain:

In our band room, there was a cabinet where you’d put your music folder in after class. There were slots for each folder. When the librarians added a new piece of music, they’d slide it into the slot for you to add to your folder.

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On top of that cabinet sat a shoebox. The shoebox was decorated with some sort of paper covering and had a hole cut out in the top of it. Written on the top in magic marker were the words: “Gossip Box.”

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Throughout the week, students would stuff the Gossip Box with Gossip. Some of it really was gossip, much of it was inside jokes and silliness. Students were only allowed to use first and last initials in reference to a person. Sections of the band were referenced, as was the band director. Prior to each football game, an announcement was made that “all gossip had to be in the box by the end of lunch.” Whoever was in charge of it (I don’t recall) went through the box, got rid of any repeats, weeded out those things that were cruel or mean, and then typed it up. Prior to football games or concerts, a new issue of “Band Gossip” was put out for every one to read.

I remember things like:

  • K.P. is the Stay-puffed Marshmallow Man.
  • The trumpets are fine!
  • Brass is Class!
  • I love the Muppets.
  • J.S. Show us how to get down!
  • Hey, H.S. Can’t wait to go to homecoming with you.
  • T.S. needs a new baton.
  • K.R. and S.J. are always up to no good.
  • Get outta here, B.H.!
  • S.K., Make sure you practice measure 19!!
  • Go Abes!
  • Ever notice the way J.K. wears Blue and Gold socks?
  • T.T. Watch that flag pole!
  • M.M. Rock your solo!
  • B.B. is spending a whole lot of time with D.S.
  • What’s in your locker, K.H.?

Pages and pages of stuff like that. We ate it up. All those little nonsense things written on whatever scrap of paper we could find, in hopes that it would show up in the next issue. Our director often had to tell us to put the gossip away so we could prepare for the game/concert.

It’s funny how something that I hadn’t thought about in over 30 years, can show up in dreams. In it I giggled and laughed with Steve, Joe, Margaret, and Stacey as we read the gossip about ourselves, our sections, and other band peeps. It was like it was 1988 all over again. I saw people in that band room that I haven’t seen in years. The grease board where our director wrote announcements was hanging in its place. The parkas were draped over chairs in case it rained. I had the sheet music for Rhapsody in Blue in front of me so I could run through my solo. Our Drum Major, Ronnie, stepping up to the podium to conduct us through the warm-up. Amazing little details in an amazing little dream.

When I woke up, I reached over to the bedside table and grabbed a pen and piece of paper and wrote “Band Gossip.” I had intended to save this for a future blog, but the images were so vivid, I sat and wrote this before work. I hate when I forget a good dream, and didn’t want to forget this one. In a way, that’s why I blog so many memories. I have a history of Alzheimer’s and dementia in my family, and by writing them down, I hope to preserve them for friends and family.

For my LHS classmates, I would love to know if I left out any details. What pre-concert or pre-game things do you remember. Share your memories or stories, please. I would love to hear them.

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Recurring Dreams

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As someone who works as a sleep technologist, I am often asked about dreams. Why do we dream? Can dreams really tell the future? What do dreams mean? The list of questions I get asked about dreams is a long one. There are many schools of thought about dreams. Take a psychology class and just the thoughts of famous psychologists alone could fill a book! The most common question I get asked about dreams is in regards to recurring dreams. “Do you ever have recurring dreams?” Yes. Yes, I do. “Why do we have those?” I have no idea. I wish I did.

I’ve never been one to put too much faith into “dream interpretation.” To me, it seems like it is often just someone’s opinion. Sometimes they make sense, but most of the time they just seem like some generic thing – like a horoscope. I may be wrong, and maybe there is something to it, but I really haven’t found it to be that way.

Recurring Dream #1

I have been having this one dream off and on for years, probably since I was about 10 years old. My brother and I are out in the backyard. Sometimes it is at our first house (at least I think that’s where it is), most of the time, however, we’re at my mom and dad’s. The old dog house that was there when we moved in is still in the back corner. The swing set is in the middle of the yard. It is no bigger than an average backyard.

While we are outside, the wind begins to pick up and dark clouds roll in. My mother will stick her head out the sliding glass door and call for us to come in because of storms. As I look up in the sky, a funnel cloud begins to form. (FYI: My grandmother told me all kinds of stories about tornadoes, which left me forever terrified of them) It is at this point that my brother and I begin to run toward the house. As we run, the yard begins to get bigger and bigger. It is like I am running and the house is moving farther and farther away.

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My brother is running behind me and I am holding his hand. I keep looking behind us as the funnel cloud begins to turn into a tornado. It is windier and we are fighting to get to the house. We get to the swing set and we are being pulled off the ground by the funnel. We are literally hanging on to the bars of the swing set so we won’t get sucked away by the tornado. My mom is screaming to us, but cannot get to us. As I lose my grip on the swing set – I wake up.

Recurring Dream #2

This is one that I have a bit more frequently than the tornado dream. I mentioned it on Facebook once and was surprised that I wasn’t the only one to have this kind of dream. This one is the “band dream.”

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While there are many variations of it, they are always very similar in nature: (1) I forgot my instrument at home and my band director is going down the line making every one play individually. (2) I have my instrument, but didn’t practice the piece and the band director is going down the line making everyone play individually. (3) I have my instrument, but don’t have my music folder. (4) I have my music folder and my instrument, but I suddenly cannot play the song we are working on.

The variations can also take place in different places: (1) Sometimes we are rehearsing in the band room. (2) Sometimes we are on stage at a concert. (3)Sometimes we are playing at band festival. (4) Sometimes we are on the football field and we are in marching band. (5) Sometimes we are marching in a parade.

Our band director was a man who I had great respect for. I think we all did. He was a good leader and taught us many lessons. He was strict and stern. You always tried to be prepared for class. Sometimes you weren’t and he knew it. I remember this one song that had a simple chromatic scale at the beginning of it. It was a fast tempo song, so if you didn’t practice it, you could easily blow it. We all started the song, started it again, and again until finally he pulled out the grade book and made every one of us play it. You either played it right and passed or played it wrong and failed. I failed it.

In the dream, all the old band classmates are there. I can’t really look at them and say what year it is. Many times its just all the people who were in band at one time or another. There is often things going on that are just weird – like bubbles coming out of clarinets or water coming out of the tuba. Many times we are rehearsing songs I remember playing while in band. Other times we are working up songs I have never heard. Sometimes famous people are in the dream rehearsing with us. There is no specific or common ending to the dream.

While this dream can often cause me to feel anxiety, I usually wake up from the “band dream” chuckling at the absurdity of what was in it. I also wake wishing that I could go back to those days when I still played well. I can barely make a sound on my trumpet today. I miss playing in band. It was, one of my favorite things about high school.

Sweet Dreams

I probably have one or two other recurring dreams, I just forgot them right now. I’ll remember them after I have them. I don’t know what makes me dream these same dreams. I don’t know what prompts them. I have always found dreams to be very cool. They can be very real! They can make you feel real emotions. Every once in awhile, they can be a little too real.

Other times, a dream, which you can’t explain, can make you look back at it and wonder. I had one of those too. When I was going through my divorce, I had a ton of stress. I woke up crying one night after having a dream. I dreamt my mom was talking to me. I was upset. She looked at me and said, “It’s going to be alright, honey. You are going to come out of this and things will be just fine.”

She was right!

What are your thoughts on dreams? I’d love to hear them.

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Let’s Take a Quiz and Thank a Teacher … or two.

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The following “quiz” has been published in books and can be found all over the internet. It is attributed to the cartoonist Charles Schulz, who drew Snoopy and Charlie Brown for many years. An inquiry to the Charles Schulz Museum has proven that the quiz is NOT something he said, however, it does make an amazing point and is a good starting point for today’s blog.

Here’s the first quiz:

  1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
  2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
  3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America contest.
  4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.
  5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
  6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The facts are, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:

  1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
  2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
  3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
  4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.
  5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
  6. Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.

Easier?

The lesson: The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

When I look back on my life, there are many teachers that have made a difference in my life. Some of them are no longer around, and some of them, I am lucky to still be in contact with. Today, I salute some of them.

Mrs. Waters – Kindergarten.

Back when I was a kid, you didn’t have all of these levels of preschool to go through. Kindergarten was your first stop. It was the first time you were away from mom and dad. I wish I could remember more about kindergarten than I do, but what I do remember is that Mrs. Waters was one of the sweetest ladies and she was always smiling. I remember it was either Mother’s Day or Father’s Day and we had to each paint something for Mom or Dad. I had a floppy “paint shirt” which was one of my dad’s old shirts and I remember she took a picture of each student in this shirt and sent a black and white 5X7 of it home. Sadly, it is probably long gone. I remember before she took the picture she came over and fixed my hair and said, “we want mom and dad to see those beautiful brown eyes of yours”. Probably the one and only moment from kindergarten I remember.

Mrs. Cook – Second Grade.

Why is she so important? We moved in the middle of second grade. I was leaving all of my friends behind and starting new. I remember my dad taking me to school that day and we were in the office as the National Anthem was playing. I was taken down to the room and Mrs. Cook walked over to get me at the door. She brought me up in front of the class and had me introduce myself. I know this is hard to believe, especially with all the public speaking have done in the past, but I was scared to death. All these kids were looking at me. She helped me by asking me questions, letting me answer, and then asked the class if they had questions. I don’t recall if they did, but she made that whole experience so much less stressful for me.

Mrs. Gallop – Fourth Grade.

She was fun. I would have to say that my love for reading probably came from her. I remember how reading was such an important part of class. I recall her reading us “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing”, “SuperFudge” and “James and the Giant Peach”. She was so animated as she read to us each day. She loved reading and we loved hearing her read. One of the first chapter books I got for my sons was “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing”. I remember in “James and the Giant Peach” there was a swear word. To be honest, I don’t recall what it was, but she warned us. She tried to play it off. When she read it, there was shock then giggles. Mrs. Gallop swore!!! She kept reading as animated as ever. When I took my sons to see the play at the Flint Youth Theater not too long ago, I remembered sitting around on small pieces of carpet listening to the story.

Mrs. Kellogg – 7th Grade.

I just loved her! She was no nonsense, and yet enjoyed a little nonsense at times. I was lucky enough to have her for 7th and 8th grade for English. She was tough and I learned a lot about writing because of her. She also was instrumental in getting me to be proactive about working. Yeah, I was not very self-motivated at this point in my life. We were supposed to be doing some quiet reading, and I think I was staring off out the window or something and she called my name and said, “Don’t just sit there like a Willie Lump Lump! Get your eyes on the book!” Well, Willie Lump Lump was a Red Skelton character, who I knew because my dad let us listen to old radio shows. I laughed at this and a special bond was created. I never wanted to disappoint her, and I took initiative to get my work done.

She is also responsible for a yearly tradition for me. We read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in 7th and 8th grade. I have read it every year since. I kept in contact with her long after she retired and sadly, I lost her address in between moves. She passed away before I had the chance to reconnect with her. She was a fine example of a caring teacher.

Mr. Harvey – 9th Grade.

I was probably the worst algebra student. I got sick and missed about two weeks of school. When I returned I had no clue what we were doing. I tanked quizzes and tests and we were closing in on the finals. He asked me to stay after class and asked what was up. I told him that I was just lost. He told me he was worried that I was not going to pass the class. He offered to stay after school with me to reteach some of the things I was confused about. Needless to say, there was a lot I was confused about and he realized it right away. He asked why I didn’t ask for help. He worked with me and I squeaked by with a D. Not a proud moment, but it would have been an E for sure if he hadn’t gone out of his way to help.

Mr. Benefield – 9th Grade.

Remember that scene in Stripes when John Candy says as a kid he “swallowed a lot of aggression … along with a lot of pizzas”? That was me. Gym class was not my favorite because I was overweight and never felt like I could do what everyone else was doing. Mr. B was fair. He knew when I was slacking and all he had to say was my name and I would kick it up a notch. Gym class was not like your other classes where there were 25 kids – there were double that or more in gym. If he was calling me out – it wasn’t because he was being mean, it was because he knew I wasn’t giving all that HE knew I was capable of. Side note – he was one of the best damn football coaches our school has ever had!

Mr. Balos – 12th Grade.

Ok, I had him for a senior elective class called Life in America, and it wasn’t a very hard class, but I still learned a lot from him. First of all, he taught us the importance of history. Granted this was entertainment history, but it was still history. Second, he knew that hard work had to be balanced with a little fun. He always wrapped up class five minutes before the bell and told us a “story”. These “stories” were jokes older than he was. While there were many kids who either groaned or stared off dumbfounded because they didn’t get the punch line … I was always laughing like hell. He once said “A bad joke is ALWAYS worth sharing”. It is – throughout life, some of the most awkward situations I have been in were always made a bit less stressful because I told one of his “stories”. I also learned a lot about golf from him and I can hear him every time I get on the tee … “the ball is seven feet long”.

Mr. Yanoulaki – 12th Grade.

As I stated already, I sucked at math. I was lucky enough to have Mr. Y for math in 12th grade. I want to say that the class was called “Math for Life” or “Math for Everyday Living” or something like that. It was the class I felt everyone should have. In it we talked about figuring out gas mileage, how to balance a checkbook, learning to calculate volume and measurements, how to calculate percentages, and a whole lot of other things that I use every day. He was very energetic – it was like he had ADD. He was always moving from the time he walked in to class until class was over. Many people tried to take advantage of him and make fun of him, but I really thought he was great. He was such a genuine man. He knew when people were toying with him and often just ignored them. Sometimes people would push him a bit too far and it would make him angry. Respect is something that many of my classmates did not have. He could be very fun, but when it was time to work – that’s what we needed to do. It was when someone decided to try to get him talking about something off topic that he’d get mad. He did not have any issues having someone removed from class because of things like this. I think many just pushed him so they WOULD get kicked out. I have remained in touch with him after all these years and he is still doing well and as energetic and healthy as ever. His nephew is my chiropractor and we’re hoping to get together for coffee one day soon.

Mr. Shaner 9th-12th Grade.

Mr. Shaner was my band director. If you are looking for my stance on Music Education in schools – here it is. “I LEARNED MORE TO PREPARE ME FOR LIFE FROM BAND CLASS THAN ANY OTHER CLASS IN SCHOOL”. There. I said it. I learned the importance of preparation. I learned the importance of punctuality. I learned the importance of practice. I learned the importance of team work. I learned the importance of organization. I learned the importance of patience. All of my time management skills came directly from band class. I learned about discipline and work ethic. I learned the importance of cooperation and respect. The list goes on and on. The lessons that I took from band class in itself can be an entire blog.

I recall one day in 9th grade, I was running late for school. I grabbed a pair of khaki pants from a basket that was in the laundry room. I walked into school and TS said “Hey, man, you know an iron can get those wrinkles out of your slacks”. Now some people might think this was mean. I didn’t take it that way. Instead, it made me aware of little things like looking good. It was a simple nudge to take an extra minute to dress right.

It was not odd for him to call someone in the office and ask if everything was ok if they looked like something was bothering them. Sometimes he would get wind of a situation someone was dealing with and he would be aware that there was a lesson in it for everyone. He would just tell some story in class with the lesson at the end and it did two things – it helped the person in the situation AND it helped the rest of us in case that situation ever popped up in our lives.

I remember one time Steve and I were goofing off during a rehearsal. It was the day before festival, so it was not the time to be fooling around. He stopped the band and asked us what was so funny. Because we did not have an answer he pointed to the door and said “I’ll see you after rehearsal”. We sat at the end of the hall and pondered how much trouble we were going to get into not only with him but with our folks. He sent Kelly, the band president down to the end of the hall to get us. He looked at us dead in the eye and said “I did not want you to go with us to festival tomorrow, but the band as a whole voted and said you should come”. He proceeded with the rehearsal. The following day, I was the first to arrive in the band room. He greeted me with a smile and I was completely confused. He was SO angry the day before. I asked if he had a second and he said to follow him to his office. He sat down and looked at me, like he had no idea why I was there. I apologized for my behavior the previous day and told him it would never happen again. He stared at me for a few seconds and got up quickly (which scared the hell out of me). He extended his hand and said, “It takes a lot of guts to admit when you are wrong. It takes a real man to apologize. Thank you for taking responsibility for your actions. I have a lot of respect for you.” He took it a step further and made sure the entire band knew what happened. He said he thought that they should know that I cared enough about them to apologize for my actions. Talk about respect? I have the utmost respect for that man and all of the lessons I still carry with me to this day. I am glad that we have remained in contact all these years later. He was a major influence in my life and in the lives of many students.

Christine, Michele, and Angie – College.

It would not be fair for me to write about teachers if I did not mention these three ladies. They were the instructors in college for my sleep program. Each of them taught differently and with different styles, but they still got the information to me. You know that saying “Learning can be fun”? They made it fun. But wait…it was college. I was late to the college party as I didn’t go until I was over 40. Everything I had seen about college had big classes with serious teachers who took no BS. While we learned, we laughed. There were plenty of funny stories and we learned from them. And each one of them cared for their students. Never once was I turned away if I had a question about something we learned in class. If I didn’t understand, they would go over it and over it until I DID understand. Sure there were other classes I had to take in college, but these classes and these three wonderful ladies – who I also call my friends – helped me to walk across a stage with a college degree … something I NEVER thought I was capable of doing.

There are many more teachers I can mention (and knowing me, probably will in future blogs), I want to say thanks to each and every teacher who was a part of my school years. You made a difference. You should be applauded and commended for the work you do. The many hours of your own time that you spent grading papers. The extra time you took to help that one student who was struggling. The money that you spent out of your own pocket to get something for your class. You may never know the influence that you had on a student, but I am here to tell you on their behalf that you did make an impact and to thank you.

If you are a teacher in the classroom setting today, whether it is grade school, high school, or college. You are one of the most important people in this country. YOU matter. YOU are helping tomorrow’s scientists dream. You are helping feed the doctors of tomorrow wisdom. You are shaping our future. I thank you!