Sunday, July 23, 2017

Concerned About How Old I look

hightowerBy Toby Hightower 

Lord willing and the creek don’t rise; I plan to attend a couple of high school reunions down in Southern Illinois where I once taught in the early fifties.

I am a little concerned that I no longer hear very well, but my main concern is how old I look.  I do not want to face my former students and have them imagine that I have had a face lift or some kind of plastic surgery that makes me look so young. You need to understand that I am soon to be ninety-three but folks tell me often that I do not look a day over ninety.

I did go in for a face lift estimate once but I was told that the doctor was not up to that kind of heavy lifting, so I just thrust out all three of my chins and try to go with the flow.

A strange thing happens  to many of us when we pass ninety. We start being proud that we look old, and we delight in cranking up a thousand yard stare and a look of complete confusion. It seems to get a little easier to do with each day that passes.

I hope that my students remember me as a person who wanted them to get the best education possible.  I think maybe I took myself a little too seriously and I handed out some fairly harsh punishment for minor transgression.

It still bothers me that a few students do not have happy memories of their high school years  and to them I offer an apology for sometimes poor leadership.

If I am able to go to the reunions, it will be a very happy time for me because I can not think of any student that I do not hold in high affection and esteem.

I especially hope to see the students who put the dead rats in my car or the one who sent me a slim scratch pad designed for narrow minded bigots.

My years at Vienna have a very special place in my memory. With the help of a very kind faculty, I was generally able to stay on good terms with my students, and I now smile with genuine pleasure at a few instances when things did not go so well.

Thank you, Robert, for the narrow minded memo pad. Even to this day, I often ask myself if I am truly a narrow minded bigot at times and I suspect the answer is yes.

Vienna was not just a job for me; it was more like a mission. In no other job in my career was I ever able to recapture that sense of mission  and zeal.

Zeal to a person of my age has finally come to mean mostly a nervous disorder of the very young and innocent, and I can report that I am almost entirely over the symptoms that I displayed in my youth.

Finally, in my old age, I have come to realize why so many of my students seemed to need sleep when they were in my classes.

It was a long time ago but I hope it is still a pleasant memory for all of you who were students. It truly is for me.

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One comment

  1. Jerry K. Jackson

    I heard a lot of good things from my older brothers about you. I am sure that the high schoolers will be glad to see you at the reunions. We had two teachers come to ours and we were happy to see them. Pray that you will be able to attend.
    Jerry K. Jackson