Sunday, September 8, 2013

Generations

"O Lord, what is man that you do regard him, or the son of man that you do think of him? Man is like a breath, his days are like a passing shadow." (Psalm 144:3-4)

Life in 1958 seemed timeless but my years have been passing away so quickly that I am barely able to even remember parts of them. I cannot recall the taking of this particular photo of Ted and me, but I am able to recall a few memories of other things we were doing during that particular visit with my grandparents in Milan. 


Don and Ted in Milan, Quebec, in September 1958


Life in Pierrefonds during 1961 was good. Most of the surrounding area remained undeveloped and Ted and I spent countless hours exploring the neighbouring fields and forests. Summer vacation seemed to last forever.

Ted and Don in Pierrefonds, Quebec, in 1961


For as long as I can remember, our family always gathered at Uncle Rod's and Aunt Jean's home on January 01 for New Year's Day celebrations. Over the years changes slowly occurred. Older relatives and friends passed away but new members of the family came into the world and took their places.


Side date reads Feb 1959 but actual date taken was probably on January 01, 1959. New Year dinner with Uncle Rod and Aunt Jean. Left to right: Roderick A. Sr., Roderick A. Jr., Jean and Murdo.


I don't remember too much about Uncle Murdo and Aunt Winnie. They married later in life and had no children. Murdo was one of my grandfather's brothers and he died suddenly in 1961 or 62. Aunt Winnie moved away soon after and I never saw her again. 

"There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of later things yet to happen." (Ecclesiastes 1:11)

The Bible verse mentions things but the same is true about the people who do the things. After I am gone, no one shall be left to remember Uncle Murdo and Aunt Winnie. 

In time, the same shall be true about me.


Aunt Winnie and Uncle Murdo. Date unknown


The Bible tells us about the birth of Jesus, but one verse in those accounts speak to us about a mother and her new born son. 

"But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart." (Luke 2:19)



1924 - Katherine Morrison (my grandmother) holding recently born first son, Stanley Morrison. (my father)


88 years later and 4 generations apart not much changes in what we do or in how we think.


2012 - Kimberly Robinson (great granddaughter) holding newborn son Jonah Robinson (great-great grandson)


"In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider; God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him." (Ecclesiastes 7:14)


The Oddblock Station Agent

One more


Old and Older on Christmas Day 2005.

Today? By the grace of God we're both still around.

The Oddblock Station Agent


Addendum December 09, 2013

Dad passed away around 16:00 on Saturday, December 07, 2013. He was 89 years old.



Addendum December 27, 2013


Again, the Bible reminds us, 

"A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains for ever." 
(Ecclesiastes 1:4)


Christmas 2013


Addendum April 09, 2014

Why add more stuff to this post?

Maybe for no other reason than I don't know what to do with some of this stuff that has accumulated over the years. 

Partly true, but also to serve as a history of the generations in our family.

"What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun."
(Ecclesiastes 1:9)


This photo of Kiera was taken in late spring 2010 shortly after she started walking. That day was also her first visit to the park for an up-close look at the river. That was Grandpa holding her hand.


Nothing like a sleigh ride in winter! This scene was recorded during winter 1954-55 in Milan, Quebec. That was me in the box being pulled by my grandfather.


Baby in the box almost 60 years later. David took this picture of Audrey placed inside one of the wooden crates that I made.


Addendum August 21, 2014


1992 summer day at Sandbanks.

The Sunday after I posted this photo, I was again thinking about that recorded day and event that once took place. In spite of the many changes that have occurred in our lives since, my father is the only one who is not with us today. 

Twenty-two years passed since this family scene was recorded. I also realized that if twenty more years pass and I am still here, then I shall be 80 years old. This is frightening to contemplate... a sobering reminder that our time here passes astonishingly fast and that we are eventually swept away by time no matter what happens.

One third of my life has passed since this upper photo at Sandbanks was taken.

The following photo was taken at Sandbanks by Kimberly this past weekend.

Summer 2014: Kiera and Jonah with their cousin Marshall at Sandbanks.

"For all our days pass away under thy wrath, our year come to an end like a sigh. The years of our life are threescore and ten, or even by reason of strength fourscore; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone and we flay away."
(Psalm 90:9-10)





Tuesday, August 13, 2013

August 13, 2013


"A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever."
(Ecclesiastes 1:4)                                                     


Today is Mom's 79th birthday but she is no longer aware that today is her birthday or what a birthday is. Mom is no longer able to comprehend what age is. 

Alzheimer's Disease is a much hated disease; it robs the afflicted of everything. The accursed and dreaded disease also robs the rest of us of the person we once knew; wife to Dad, Mom to us, Grandma to our children, Aunt Carol to nieces and nephews and Carol to everyone else.

We cannot pick and choose the afflictions that come upon us but they come upon us nonetheless and we are compelled to live with them.


This may be one of the last photos taken of Mom and Dad together. As her mind and memory faded, Mom started calling Dad, her father.


December 25, 2009, Christmas Day. Kiera with her grate-grandmother. This was the last time that Mom was able to come out of the home and visit with us. I'm not sure if she ever understood that the baby she was holding was her great-granddaughter.


July 2012. Outside in the nursing home's garden patio.


A liitle more than a year later in 2011. Mom was interested in the "Little girl" but she did not seem to have any idea who Kimberly and Kiera were.


Once upon a time Mom was young too.


Compare this scene to the preceding one; 57 years later neither of us are young, but Mom really was not sure who I was.


Mom had parents too, a long time ago in Milan, Quebec. Mom with her parents and Ted.






"For all our days pass away under thy wrath, our years come to an end like a sigh. The years of our life are threescore and ten, or even by reason of strength fourscore; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away."
(Psalm 90:9-10)


We may wish that our lives could have turned out differently, but that was not the way life was intended to unfold. God gave us the absolute freedom to make our own decisions, and those choices we made have determined the routes we have travelled through life.  

Life is a gift from God.



The Oddblock Station Agent




Monday, August 12, 2013

Grandma's Purse


Question:  What could be more interesting than Grandma's purse?


Jonah: I wonder what else is in there?


Answer:  That depends upon who you ask.


The Oddblock Station Agent


Addendum August 26, 2014







Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sunday morning, July 14, 2013 at 09:15


Yesterday was a beautiful summer day and today is starting out the same way. I was grateful to see yesterday and I am grateful to have lived to see today. The God of Israel has been merciful.

I am sitting in the back on the deck, under the gazebo that David brought over and set up last Saturday. The air is already warm and I can feel that today will be hot. Last Sunday when I came home from Pierrefonds, I walked around the back to quickly see the gazebo – I was hoping to sit out here last Sunday and have a cold beer – but that never happened. Last Sunday evening I was in the hospital recovering from a heart attack and the angioplasty to remove the blockage. God truly spared me and restored my life to meto allow me to stay longer.



“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)

Last Sunday I passed through the valley of the shadow of death and did not know it. When I went into cardiac arrest, I had no time to think or react – and then nothing – not even conscious awareness of the dark. Just nothing, as if time had stopped and me along with it. Not until the medical group were able to bring me back was I aware of the darkness that had enveloped me – and it was a bit of a struggle to come out from that darkness.

No pain, no fear, no awareness, just nothing. I wish I could say I saw angels, or saw light, or heard voices, but just nothingness.

“The Lord will keep me from all evil; he will keep my life.” (Psalm 121:7)

I testify here and now that the Lord keeps my life. He has restored it to me and preserves it. When I went into cardiac arrest, I had no time or chance at all to cry out for mercy and to be saved. I had no concept at all of being at the edge of death. God had compassion upon me anyway and saved me. He kept me from evil and he kept my life. I cannot express my gratitude to him.

“But Jesus also answered me, “...because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29)

God is God of the living. I truly don’t understand all the scriptures and I won’t even pretend to know the power of God. I can only know what I have seen and know from what Jesus has spoken, that I might know from his word.

These pages that follow shall tell of my second chance at life; a second chance given by God.


The Oddblock Station Agent


Friday, August 2, 2013

Saturday morning, July 13, 2013 at 11:25


Last Sunday afternoon, July 07, just after 17:05, my life truly changed forever. I walked into the Credit Valley Hospital and suffered a near fatal heart attack a few minutes later. I came home last Thursday and at times feel as if nothing has occurred, but now I know what title to give this new volume – “The Second Chance” 


I am not the person in the photo, but from what I was told, this is similar to what I went through.


The last words written to conclude my July 05 entry say what I am thinking now. I am truly grateful to be here a week later to enjoy this time. God’s favour has truly been upon me and I am grateful. I cannot claim any reason for His favour – I am not deserving, yet God has been kind and gracious to me anyway. I wish to declare and acknowledge His goodness in all things.

The inside cover holds my hospital identification bracelet and records the date I was admitted.

This has been quite a week and I’ll write and record events as I have heard about them and remember them, later on when I am alone and have time to reflect. Kimberly and family will be coming later.


The Oddblock Station Agent

Friday morning, July 05, 2013 at 08:48



Life is always unpredictable, and so is driving at any time. 

I was taking Kie to work and we were stopped at a red light. As soon as I accelerated to go, the car sounded like it had no muffler. At first I thought it may have been the car next to me and then I was certain it was my own car – from the gas pedal responses.

Anyway, the car is in the garage now and they will check it over and then let me know the “good news” later. I just hope this won’t be too expensive.

Yesterday I had someone come over and clean out the eaves troughs. Job was well done and I was happy with his work. Today is a steady rain and water is coming down as it should now.

I just heard from the garage. The entire exhaust system needs replacement – and that will cost me around $874.00 – which probably means more. I am glad, even grateful the problem came now near home and not on Highway 401. I am planning to go to Pierrefonds tomorrow. Better to have a car problem near home than when on the road.

This morning David was planning to bring over the gazebo but I asked him to wait for later. Not much point in doing that in the rain. I was also supposed to have breakfast in Centennial Park and then get my hair cut. Those plans changed because of the car. Again I say, life is certainly unpredictable, but I am grateful for this day that God has given.


The Oddblock Station Agent

Tuesday morning, July 02, 2013 at 08:20




Usually when I start a new volume I feel a sense of something new and different – like a new start – but that is not the case or reality. As I start this new book, I come with a sense of uncertainty. Each completed volume speaks of days gone – many books piled up eventually speak of a life that has gone too.

The words that I have written in each volume are a record of my thoughts and feelings as well as a reflection of my beliefs and faith. I realize that what I have recorded becomes a record – one that can just as easily speak against me because of all my failings.

I am grateful today because God has given me another day of life. As I look around at all that is changing and that has changed in the world, I become aware of how much God has blessed me with Kie; the one person who has been with me for more than 33 years. I could never have made it through some of these challenges without her at my side.

“In peace I shall both lie down and sleep; for thou alone, O Lord, makest me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8)

And this will be my request of the God of Israel.

Three years ago this date was my last day of working for my employer. I am surprised at how quickly the three years have passed. Little has been accomplished as I look back.

When I left the office three years ago, I was looking ahead at four years – when I was expecting to turn 60 and start collecting my C.P.P. payments. Now that doesn’t seem so far away. So far, Kie and I have managed to survive okay, but I do notice that money is tighter as our expenses creep higher.

Maybe I left working and career four years too soon, but I cannot change what has been. I can only try to make the best of what lays ahead – and only God knows what is ahead. As I look back over my life, I can see God’s goodness in all things - even in those that were painful. Our time here and our lives here are short, but God’s goodness endures for all generations. This is the hope of the future after we are gone – that succeeding generations are given the same gift without change in conditions and circumstances. Fallen human nature does not change and neither does God’s plan of redemption for the individual and the world.


The Oddblock Station Agent

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Poem to be read on the 50th



The following poem was written by Fred Knutson for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary.
That was on June 20, 2003, ten years ago.


A Poem to be read on the 50th to Carol & Stan

I’ll write a little poem
For this very special day,
‘Bout two very special people
With 50 years of ‘makin hay’.

If my words is ‘country tuned’
You’ll have to please forgive,
I’m a country boy at heart
And will be as Long as I live.

Now if you’ll journey back with me
‘Bout half a century,
You’ll find yourself in Milan,
A little place in God’s country.

There is a little church
Below the railway track,
Where the Presbyterians gather,
Once a week to make ‘a pact’.

But today is a Saturday
And folks is in a stir,
Because Macdonald and Morrison
Got weddin’ plans for sure.

Folks from far away
Has come with folks in town,
To witness that special moment
When ‘this woman’ weds ‘this man’.

There’s an air of anticipation
As through those doors the guests do file,
Then from the front the groom he comes
And his lovely wife comes down the aisle.

And now the joy which all will share
For the most part all their life,
As the minister asks that livin’ word
“Will you take her as your wife?”

We’ll have to guess as time has passed
And Carol and Stan have stood the test,
That the answer that he gave
Must have been a ‘Yes’.

And the heavens heard the sound
Of a simple melodious voice,
As a feller by the name of Henry Mouland
Sang a love song of their choice.

Of God’s presence there was no question
For even a lad of ten,
Could tell something special had happened
In that little glen.

Now here we are some later
In a bustling, larger place,
Fifty years have passed
In such a seemin’ rapid pace.

In between that sweep of time
That Stan worked at the Gazette,
And graduated with a well-earned handshake
Havin’ well his contract kept.

While Carol kept the house at home
As fine as one can do,
Raised four kids of whom she’s proud
That you’ll agree, there here with you!

This is a rare and wondrous thing
When folks ‘so splitten’-up’ seems odd,
But Carol and Stan have stayed together
And the reason we know – “It’s God.”

There’s just one question with you I’ll leave
For in my mind it stands aloof,
Cause I never lived to see the day
If Uncle George jumped over the roof.

So now as with a thought I close
The very best to all who’s there,
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY I say
As you move ahead on the wings of a prayer.

That the God alone
Who’s been with you,
Will yet deepen
Each day that’s new.


From, ‘the little guy in the doorway’
Fred Knutson
(Written for June 20, 2003)


Ten years later:

Today my parents mark 60 years of marriage, but their lives are very different today.

June 01, 2013, two days after Dad's 89th birthday. Dad's health declined rapidly this year and he is no longer able to walk. Today there are more signs than I wish to see that possibly indicate the onset of some type of dementia.
 
July 18, 2012. This is one of the better recent pictures of Mom but not the most recent. Mom has suffered from some form of Alzheimer's Disease since we first began to notice early symptoms in summer 2000. Mom has no longer been able to live at home since August 14, 2008. She no longer seems to know who we are. Tragically, she cannot even remember that she is married and has been for past 60 years.


Addendum December 09, 2013

 May 30, 1924 - December 07, 2013

Dad passed away around 16:00 on Saturday, December 07, 2013, after being admitted to the hospital two days earlier. Dad was 89. 

What surprised me most was the doctors discovering that Dad had very advanced cancer all through his body. This past year we had no idea he was suffering from cancer. His own family doctor missed this also.

The saddest part is that Mom has no idea what has occurred. She is no longer capable of understanding what happened. Alzheimer's Disease has taken away from her just about everything except her life.






Saturday, May 4, 2013

Search for a Hidden Place


On certain days I can remember scenes from a time so very long ago. Only fragments remain but each fragment retains a distinctive and unmistakable clarity. Too few pieces though to compile a complete picture or to recall the entire story. 

Maybe the missing parts have been faded by the passing of years. Perhaps the sketches I try to rediscover when I close my eyes and let my thoughts wander are only fractured memories of the dreams of a young child; a time when spiritual imagination compensated for the lack of wisdom and the inability to make sense of the world.

An age of silence is difficult to believe, a time when noise was considered nothing more than the moaning sounds of cold November winds blowing through bare tree branches. 

Imagine an era when the waters that flowed in streams and rivers or rested in ponds and lakes were not poisoned; a time when a man’s thirst could be satisfied almost anywhere by drawing water with cupped hands.

If possible, try to conceive of a time when most travel was by foot and major routes were no more than wagon trails; a time when miles of tree and brush-lined stone walls divided parts of the land into rectangular patterns, and footpaths crisscrossed the countryside.

Remember with nostalgia when villages were once small enough to walk through in a matter of minutes and all faces were familiar; a time when large cities were merely thought of as very distant, far off places because they were.



Such eras and places once were and the time that has passed since then may not be all that long ago; however, until there is such a means for one to go back, then the time elapsed is forever, and that is, forever gone. 

Lost! 

Impossible to find and return to! 

Then again, that is the nature of this one-way journey through time that we call life.


The Oddblock Station Agent

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Telephone




I hate the telephone and the problems it brings,
Each time the accursed thing rings.
It has to be answered, so THEY tell me.

Well-trained I’ve been, coerced if you will,
To yield to the call of that awful pill.
Far better too than a dog has learned,
To respond right away to its owner’s call.
It’s given that a dog loves its master,
I on the other hand loathe my interrupter.

Dragged and shoved, a slave I’ve become,
To an unwanted millstone of unwanted intrusions.
Intended to serve me? Really? Such delusions!

My only wish today is that the next call be,
A wrong number; for someone else; no, not me!
With all my being, the phone I fully detest,
Even more each whistle, the hated thing’s a pest.
And only to know once again it’s for me, but,
Never to know, “Where did THEY get my number?”



Written July 1998
The Oddblockstation Agent


The Last word:

  

The telephone I always dreamed of having at work but could never have... one that does not work.


                        

Friday, February 1, 2013

Some Days...


Some days start out like this and then they just go downhill.

Have you ever had days like these? 


The date written on the back of the photo was May 14, 1956. Yes, that was me making the fuss. Almost forty-one years later not much had changed and I was still making a fuss about some things in life.


“So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

Easy to say and easy to write, easy to memorize and later recite but…so very difficult to live and do.

This evening I did not even have a chance to finish writing the date on the on the page when the person in the car parked next to me knocked the side of my car with the door of her car. Not just once but several times. Worse, there was no apology or even so much as an acknowledgement than an offence had been done. That person displayed a complete lack of consideration for others and, in this case, others meant me. Yes, I am annoyed!

I am extremely annoyed by all the petty meanness that people are showing toward each other these days. God knows my anger at what I see. God also knows that I just want to give up and give in. I am too weary of trying to be kind and considerate to others; not that I am to any great extent. Doing good things for people is a sure way to get stepped upon and spat upon. Some days I can only throw my hands in the air and wonder, “What is the use of trying anymore?”

What was it really like in Jesus’s time? We know from the Bible that times were violent. We also know that people went hungry and begged. Again we also know that people were rich and poor. Human nature has not changed since then but knowing all this does not make the pains of life and living any easier to bear.

Why is it that people who know they are dying want so much to live and hope for tomorrow? Is it because those of us living in the ignorant bliss of self-denial of our own mortality have not truly found anything truly worth living for and, therefore worth dying for?

Yes, we can easily say, perhaps too easily say that we are Christians, and we can just as easily say that we will follow Jesus, but will we just as easily say the same when real difficulties in life come along? Will we truly trust in God when our worlds and lives start to fall apart? Some days come when I do not know the answers.

The Bible informs us that sin is the cause of every evil that we have to deal with in the world. Some days I wonder if God can truly heal this broken world and all the broken lives and all the broken souls within it. Forgiveness and restoration are, I conclude, what the message of Christ Jesus the Lord would ask us to believe. Some days I ask how we can find the faith to truly believe.

Our lives have to reflect what we truly believe but there are some days when I do not know what I am reflecting, if anything at all.

Lord Jesus, forgive me for these days and my lack of faith.


(Written February 06, 1997)
The Oddblock Station Agent


Addendum May 24, 2014


58 years later and not much has changed; only the players.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Teachers


Good or bad, collectively, teachers have a significant influence upon our lives, and some teachers in particular leave us with imparted knowledge and impressions that remain with us for our lifetime.

My graduation from high school was in June 1971, which invariably dates me, but at the same time indicates that a considerable number of years have passed and upon which I believe shall permit me to make my distilled comments that follow. 

The following are my selections.



The Best High School Teacher I ever had


Mr. Marriott taught the woodworking half of the year-long course that was then known as Industrial Arts. 

I had already possessed an interest in woods and making things out of wood, however, in that particular woodworking class Mr. Marriott opened up a whole new world of possibilities to me that I never knew existed. During those 6 months I learned about different types of woods; softwoods, hardwoods and exotic woods. 

Mr. Marriott taught me how to use, sharpen and care for many types of hand tools, including unusual and obscure hand tools. In time, Mr. Marriott also introduced me to powered tools with safety always being front and foremost in his teaching and then he taught me how to use those tools; table saws, lathes, jigsaws, jointer planers, belt sanders, drills, routers, and perhaps a few others. 

Of course few wood projects are complete only after cutting and assembly. Mr. Marriott taught me about wood finishing and explained in detail about the various types of abrasive papers and wood finishes that were available
 
The curriculum he taught from may have been what was required, however his teaching of this subject came from his genuine love and knowledge of woodworking.

Today I have my own woodwork shop with an assortment of hand and powered tools and a supply of many types of woods with which to work. 

I can never turn on my table saw without being reminded of safety first...always. 

Thank you Mr. Marriott.


The Best Elementary School Teacher I ever had


Mr. Saunders was my Grade 7 teacher and he certainly had a remarkable gift for explaining and teaching.

I was one of those students who had absolutely no interest whatsoever in school or any of the subjects we were required to learn. Simply put, I was floundering and headed for academic failure.

Mr. Saunders made time to bring a group of us in early to school prior to classes to teach us mathematics until we truly understood the subject. One problem area that I had was understanding equations. He persisted until I understood and knew what an equation was and how it worked; something I have never forgotten to do and still use at times today.

Mr. Saunders also taught me how to write; to take ideas and thoughts and present them on paper. He would not hesitate to tear pages out of my note books and make me write and re-write the stuff I had written. He wouldn't quit on me until my writing made some semblance of sense. Little did I imagine or realize at that time how writing would one day completely change my life.

Mr. Saunders was honest and would never hesitate to call garbage, garbage, including the stuff he had to teach. In the middle of teaching he once tossed a textbook into the garbage can and then explained to us that the real world we would eventually face was far different from the unreal nonsense in the textbook he had just tossed away. He never used that textbook in our class again.

If Mr. Saunders had not been my Grade 7 teacher, then I probably never would have made it through high school. 

Thank you Mr. Saunders!


The Best School Teacher I Never had

Mr. Ramsay was a history teacher in the high school I attended but he was never one of my course teachers and I was never one of his class students. That being said does not mean that Mr. Ramsay did not teach me anything and that I did not learn anything from him.

Mr. Ramsay possessed an interest and knowledge of movies and films that everyone one in the school knew about. Without exaggeration, he could easily have rivaled the late Elwy Yost for film enthusiasm and knowledge.

Mr. Ramsay spent countless hours outside of class times overseeing and looking after the school's audio-visual needs. He could usually be found in the "A/V Room" which was probably his unofficial office. In addition, he oversaw the Film Society and the group of us who became involved. Under Mr. Ramsay's constant guidance the Film Society rented and presented after school movies. We learned about the business side of presenting films and we also learned how to correctly use the required projection, sound and lighting equipment.

In summer 1970 Mr. Ramsay selected me (one of two students chosen to represent our school) to attend a special two-week summer course that the National Film Board of Canada was hosting. During those two weeks The National Film Board graciously permitted us almost unrestricted access to their resources, including equipment and film, artistic talent and teaching.

We had a course outline to follow and the very first day we were all given Polaroid cameras and film and instructed to travel around Montreal for six hours capturing photos that depicted contrasting images of order and chaos. Later, we were gathered to display our results and discuss our recorded subjects. 

Mr. Ramsay and I spent most of those six hours walking around and through the streets of Ville St. Laurent, (Including places where we were probably trespassing) grabbing photos of scenes that we thought depicted our understandings of either order or chaos. We also strolled around to the rears of factories and warehouses, and at one location stumbling upon a group of workers who were hiding out to avoid working. We spent time just talking to them and eventually they showed us inside a warehouse where we also grabbed a few photos. The highlight of my day came later when we sneaked into a railway yard, quickly took photos of tracks and equipment and then quickly departed.

Mr. Ramsay always encouraged us to shoot rolls of film and make our own movies. He was never critical of our chosen subjects but willingly offered advice about improving lighting or how to frame a scene for better effect.

Again, I was never a student in one of his classes and he was never one of my official teachers. Nonetheless Mr. Ramsay was my high school mentor and a friend who inspired artistic purpose in a confused teenager. He taught me that high school could also be meaningful and constructive outside the classroom; because it rarely was that in most classrooms.

I owe Mr. Ramsay a debt of gratitude that I can never repay.


The Worst Teacher I ever had


As I mentioned at the outset, I graduated from high school in 1971, however, my marks were poor and certainly not good enough to for gaining acceptance into higher education. I chose to return to high school for one more year to try to raise my marks.

Mr. Welch was a teacher in one of the classes that I was repeating. In the first fifteen minutes of that very first class he found out that I was repeating the course. In front of that entire class he humiliated me by calling me a failure and yelled at me to get out. When I tried to explain my reason for being in the class he just kept yelling, "Get Out!! Get Out!!"

As instructed, I walked out and never returned to that class. 

If I was a failure as a student, then Mr. Welch was the greater failure as a teacher.

I learned two things from that abbreviated class:

1. To first listen to what another may have to say in response to a situation.

2. To never inflict upon another that same lesson I learned from Mr. Welch.

Thank you Mr. Welch but you were a horrible teacher.


If I have any regret today, then it is having waited more than 40 years to write these words and to thank these teachers for the influence they had upon me.


The Oddblock Station Agent