Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘high school memories’ Category

I think I have written about my high school years quite a few times. For those that have missed those way past posts, here’s another.

I, like many of us, belong to a Facebook group for people that graduated from my high school in the 1970s. Yeah, I’m an old lady! I joined it about five years ago when it was set up for the purpose of getting together for a multi-year reunion, which finally happened about three years after the group was set up. Well, on Saturday evening, someone posted about the death of one of our former teachers. We had amazing teachers. With very few exceptions, our teachers were not only very well qualified and more than capable. They were excellent teachers and most of them chose to stay in our district and at our school when they had the opportunity to move to affluent areas with fancy new schools. They felt a duty to our population and we, the students, were the beneficiaries of that duty.

This time it was Sal Orlando who was an English teacher. He taught Senior English and, for many years, also taught Journalism. I was not lucky enough to have him as a teachere and I was actually disappointed about that. My siblings had told many stories about the amazing Mr. Orlando. He threw things at people that fell asleep, things like chalk board erasers and chalk. He had a reputation for being really tough on his students but also keeping things light with his jokes and sarcasm. Kids knew he really cared about them as people and as students. I didn’t take Senior English because I had taken four years of Journalism which actually gave me way more English than was required for graduation as each year counted as a year of English plus the three years of English I did take! And he would have been my Journalism teacher except that the year that I first began Journalism as a freshman, we had a new teacher who was also the newspaper advisor for the three years I was on the paper staff. So I didn’t have the privilege of having Sal Orlando as a teacher but we did have many exchanges out of the classroom, most of them teasing each other about why I wasn’t his student or he my teacher.

He was just one of the many revered teachers at that school. I’ve written about Mr. Henry and Mr. Flanagan, and Ms. Paszkeicz. I’ve written about Rudy Del Rio (who was my Journalism teacher and newspaper advisor) and about Mr. McCready.  I’ve written about Mr. Keneally and Mr. Matalone. Those are just a few of the many teachers who were giants to us; legends in their own time. And losing them is a real loss for most of us as many of us are still in touch with at least a few of these teachers. It’s also a reminder that we, their students, are getting old and are at that age where we see the names of so many of our teachers and our fellow students among the dead. Last month it was the death of Mr. Matalon. Today it was Mr. Orlando. I don’t want to know who will be on that list of fallen tomorrow.

I was fortunate to have such amazing teachers. I wish all teachers were like them and that everyone could have that experience.  Everyone should get to know their teachers like I knew mine and everyone should have that feeling that their teachers care about them as students and as people.

They were giants. They were legends.

Read Full Post »

Earlier today, I read a blog which talked about the Eric Burdon and War song, Spill the Wine. I commented that I recalled the song well and that it was a favorite when it came out in the early 70’s.

“I was once out strolling one very hot summer’s day
When I thought I’d lay myself down to rest
In a big field of tall grass
I lay there in the sun and felt it caressing my face”

I remember walking home from high school (we lived within bus riding distance and we rode the bus except when we manufactured reasons to stay after school and miss the bus), my sister and I, listening to music on the radio my sister smuggled into school every day. Every day we would hear Spill the Wine played by the same DJ. It must have been a favorite of his, too. It’s one of those singable, danceable songs and we would do just that…sing along and practically dance home while it played. Once in a while a car would drive by and they would honk and wave at us while we pranced home singing. Unfortunately, one day one of those cars that honked at us was driven by our dad. He had gone to pick our younger sister up at the middle school so he decided to drive by our walking route and give us a ride. He was very angry that we were “parading” down the street like clowns. That put a stop to our walking home for a long time. We would have to ride the bus or call our dad to come get us. No more prancing along to Spill the Wine or any other song.

Read Full Post »