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.