Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Too Many Semicentennials

The fifties are piling up in my life. And in some cases, fifty ain't nifty.

In 2012 I celebrated the 50th anniversary of my graduation from Hiram (Ohio) High School in June 1962. That was weird enough--though it was fun to see some folks I hadn't seen since that graduation. Even weirder: That tiny high school has not existed since the class of 1964 graduated. The district consolidated with nearby Crestwood Schools (Mantua, Ohio), and not too many years passed before the community razed the school buildings in Hiram. The last time I looked I saw only empty lots--no sign of the wonders that had once occurred there. (Perhaps I exaggerate--but remember: I'm reminiscing!)

Hiram High School, RIP
This spring (2016) is the fiftieth anniversary of my graduation from Hiram College--June 1966.I go to reunions now and then--but not recently. Personal reasons. I had some great, great friends at Hiram College, and I'll long remember the fun on the tennis team, in the dorm, with my frat brothers and sisters ... some absolutely wonderful professors (and the other kind). I also remember horrible mistakes, cruelties (executed by and on me), missed opportunities, foolishness of every variety. The Me of Then sometimes haunts the Me of Now.

Hiram College Tennis Team, 1966
This fall will mark the 50th anniversary of the commencement of my teaching career--a career that would, off and on, consume some 45 years of my life. In most ways they were the best years of my life. I had wonderful administrators, amazing colleagues (from whom I routinely stole ideas), terrific kids (okay, a few of the other variety). Most of my career I taught at the Aurora (Ohio) Middle School (later, Harmon Middle School), and I have to say that despite the warning of my supervising teacher during my student teaching at West Geauga High School ("Don't ever get stuck teaching in a junior high!"), I loved my three decades of doing precisely that. Many (Most?) of my Facebook friends are from those years. Scary statistic: The first kids I taught in 7th grade are now in their early 60s.

Later, after I retired from public school (January 1997) I taught ten more years at Western Reserve Academy, just a couple of blocks from our house in Hudson, Ohio, and I had a great time there, as well. Wonderful colleagues, great kids, academic freedom (pretty much)--all these made the gig attractive--as did my part-time status, which freed me from many of the quotidian aspects of boarding school education. I walked (or biked) to class, shot off my mouth for 50 minutes, walked (or biked) home. What's not to love?

(Grading papers, that's what!)

Western Reserve Academy
And in just a few years--December 2019--Joyce and I will celebrate our fiftieth wedding anniversary.  Astonishing. I--by far--got the better of this particular deal, a statement with which all who know us both concur. I am the weaker vessel--in just about every way. But she has kept me afloat for nearly a half-century--afloat and sailing in some of life's most remarkable waters. I could not believe it when she agreed to marry me; I cannot believe it now.

With Joyce, my grandmother Osborn,
my uncle Ronald Osborn
December 20,1969
I should mention the age of fifty--but that occurred so long ago (November 1994) that I barely remember it. All I do recall is that I was already thinking about retirement then and was looking forward to some carefree years (decades?) to follow. Well, cancer interfered ten years later (2004), but I am still afloat, and still grateful for all--all--that I've experienced. The light, the dark, the gray. All have been my most effective teachers.

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