Sunday, September 14, 2008

Teaching at Harding High School - Part Two

After the first day I started working at Harding High School, I discovered that Frances Crest was a teacher is the same building that I had been assigned my first class. It made me feel good to have someone that I knew at the school. Frances was only a few year younger than me. Her office was just around the corner; she was glad that I was at the school so we started coming to school a little early to sit in her office every morning to talk and have a cup of coffee together. We were also able to go to lunch together; we spent as much time together as we could. She helped me adapt to the jungle that I was in! It was good to sit with her during the teacher meetings so she could translate the school lingo for me and answer my questions about what was going on.
Everything went very well for the first three weeks in the opening of the school year. One day Mrs. Pattie Greth, the School Administrative Secretary, called me into her office because she needed to talk to me. She shared that all of the teachers were talking about Francis and me and were assuming that we were having an affair since we were together so much and it was beginning to cause some trouble among the teachers. I just sat there and then broke out in laughter! Pattie wanted to know what I was laughing about and then I told her that Frances was my brother Howard's oldest daughter. I shared that after her father, my brother died, we had been there for each other. I ask Pattie not to say anything until we had our next teachers meeting and I would take care of this situation. In the next meeting I stood up and told the staff that I wanted to thank each of them for helping me to get started off well at Harding. I told them that there was one teacher that I found to be extra special; one that I had been close to since the first day and that we were together as much as we could. I shared that Frances was my niece and that we had been very close since her father, my brother Howard had died. This took care of that rumor and I never heard anything else about it. No one but Pattie ever mentioned the suspicions.
Garald Harvey, Jim Silvers, Joe Bryant, and I were in D Building together. We all were vocational teachers. One day we were having lunch in my office when Gerald brought in a dozen ears of the best silver queen corn that I think I have ever eaten. As we were eating our fill, Joe ask Gerald what kind of corn it was and indicated that he wanted to grow some the next summer. Gerald did not bat an eye and said it was Iranian sweet corn; Joe wanted to know where he could get some seed. Gerald told Joe that you had to plant the shoots from an existing plant and let it grow for at least one year before it would produce corn. The next day, Gerald brought a big bucket full of big healthy shoots and told Joe to plant them ten inches apart it in his garden. Joe did that, taking the best of care of the plants. He shared with us that the stalks were growing and spreading all over his garden. He was thankful the plants had taken off and was sure he would have enough corn to share with all of us. The second year Joe was telling a friend about his Iranian corn and took him out to his garden to look and see how well it was doing and told him he had so much that he could share some shoots with him at the end of the season. His friend looked at it and told Joe that it was Johnsongrass and that he better start digging it before it took over all of his back yard. Joe had a big laugh with us and Gerald brought Joe a bushel of Silver Queen since his garden did not produce. This is an example of what we did to each other. Each of us could enjoy a good joke even if it was on us. With all that was going on at Harding High School, it took some things like this for us to keep from going insane and loosing our minds.  Listen to me tell this story.

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