Archive for the ‘school’ Category

Yesterday I told you about Mr. Clark, my seventh grade math teacher. He was pretty awesome. Today, I’ll tell you about Rudy Del Rio. Well, he was really Mr. Del Rio and I called him that all the time but with other students, he was Rudy. And when talking about him to students, he was Rudy. I think he got a kick out of the students that called him Rudy. He would kind of “half laugh” when anyone did that. He was a good guy. He taught Civics to the seniors but I was lucky enough to have him for four years of Journalism. He taught me a lot. He inspired.

And up until about five or so years ago, I was still in touch with him even though I graduated from high school in 1974. I still have his email address and I know he lives in Bend, Oregon. I just haven’t had occasion to contact him although I’m thinking I might do so the next time we go to Bend. I think I’ll email him and see if I can have a cup of coffee with him…or more likely a beer because Bend is home to some really good breweries!

I remember him walking into a classroom, always easy going but once in awhile he would have something serious to talk to us about so he would walk in…all five foot zero inches of him…and for some reason, his goatee which made him look super cool on most days, would make him look somber…my mom said he looked evil…and we could do nothing but pay attention and hope it was not one of us that had gotten him upset! Not a big man in stature, he was respected.

I don’t think I would be who I am today if it were not for Rudy Del Rio!

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I sat in the waiting room and looked at the clock on the wall.  I had now been there for over two hours and I was the only person in the room.  There had been no one ahead of me and no one behind me in line.  Me.  Just me.  And this quick walk-in task had turned into a two plus hour task.  Had I known that, I would have stopped for a bite to eat.  It was now after 2 PM and I had nothing in my stomach.  No food.  No coffee.  No juice.  No nothing.  How much longer would this be?  By the time I finished, it would be time to go get my grandson from pre-school and I would have no time to get anything to eat and I was already feeling shaking from not eating.  How much longer.

Or maybe a better question would be: Why?  Yup.  That’s the better one.  Why?  That was a tough one to answer, yet very easy at the same time.  I have been doing this for as long as I can remember.  I have missed it in the past six or so years but now I wanted it again.  Volunteering.  It is a way of life for me.  I remember going for a walk when I was first married.  I had decided to get out of the apartment and go for a walk on a sunny October afternoon and I had ended up walking by an elementary school during recess.  I had watched the kids playing on the playground and for the rest of my walk, I had thought about calling the school district to see if they needed volunteers.  I could watch the kids on the playground during recess.  I could watch them cross the street after school.  I could do a lot of things to help those kids.  So I had called the school district and instead of ending up volunteering, I had ended up with a paying job as a classroom assistant, after a long two month screening and testing period.  But I had loved working with the kids.  I only did it for about seven months then the end of the school year came along and over the summer we moved way far away, on the other end of the county so that job was gone and I missed working with the kids.  Then my own kids came along and I was bitten by the volunteer bug.  PTA.  Girls Scouts.  Cub Scouts.  School Foundation.  You name it, I did it.  I was the Room Mother.  I was the Den Leader.  I was the Troop Leader.  When we couldn’t find a Scout Master for our Cub Scout Troop, guess who did it?  Yup.  Moi.  When we lost our dad that played Santa Claus for our elementary kids each year, guess who dressed as Santa?  Yup.  You guess it.  Me.  When they needed a PTA president and no one would do it and I was a single mom with no help with my three kids in two different schools, I did it.  When they needed a president for the fund raising foundation at the elementary school, I did it.  When they needed one of the parents of a child in the Gifted program to represent parents at the School District Meetings, I did it.  I could go on forever.  I did it all.

In fact, at one point, I was listed on the program for a theater production at my kids’ elementary school under the heading of They Can’t Say No.

And here I was again.  Waiting to get my TB test for clearance to work in my grandson’s pre-school classroom.  And waiting.  And hungry.  And thirsty.  And 58 years old.  And wondering why I was even doing it.  Then I remembered.  For Anderson.  For my grandson.  I would sit here and wait as long as needed so I could help his pre-school class or help in the office if that is where they need me.  Yup.  It’s for him.  It’s for me.  It’s so that I can see his smiling face and his proud face when he saw me helping.  I remember that face and that smile from my own kids.  I was always the mom that could be counted on and, even when they did not say it out right, they liked it.  To this day, my kids talk about how I was the mom that went on every single field trip during elementary, middle, and even high school.  When I was needed, there I was and they felt some comfort knowing that.  They liked it.  They liked seeing me in the middle of the day helping out at school, wherever I was needed.

Yup.  I would sit and wait.  And be patient.  And I would know that it would all be worth it.

So I did just that.

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