Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Memorial Service

Someone I have known for quite a few years recently died. Mr. P was ready to go; he was very ill with cancer, his bad leg bothered and pained him most of the time and he dearly missed his wife of over 50 years. At his memorial service today, his nephew encouraged us to remember our encounters with him, not to morn his passing, but to celebrate his life. And, to share it with someone. So, I am sharing it with you, my readers.

I am not good at writing about stuff like this. Lots of thoughts and memories of my brief associations with Mr.P and his family are rattling around in my head, but anyhow, here goes.

This man, Mr. P., was a teacher. I was never in his classroom, but I was a student of his. He was principal of the elementary school I attended. We thought it was kinda cool, that he only had one leg. He'd lost a leg in a motorcycle accident and, in the silver lining of losing his leg, met his wife, one of his nurses. Anyhow, during his tenure at Lesser Known Spanish Explorer Elem. School, when I was in grades 2-3-4, we knew what was allowed and what was not allowed at Mr. P's school. He was what I guess you could call an old fashion disciplinarian. I do not ever recall getting sent to his office for anything while he was principal. He'd talk to you like the father that he also was, and if you needed something else to reinforce the lesson, he provided a swat or two. And everyone knew this. It was like having your Dad running the school. He set the boundaries and expectations for behavior and that is what the vast majority of us followed. We learned there were boundaries, behavioral expectations and consequences for going over the line. When I entered Grade 5, we had a new principal, a new principal with, shall we say, newer ideas for dealing with misbehaving children. And we misbehaved. The principal saw me on a regular basis for one thing or another. My name was known by the school secretary. But the lectures, if you want to call them that, and punishments she dealt out were not much to motivate us to not stay out of mischief. Oh, a swat from Mr. P., no one wanted that. But write a note home to a parent about why you were sent to the office? No big deal.

I learned another lesson from Mr. P a few years later. Starting my senior year of high school, I got a job at a local coffee shop. Mr. P often came in for coffee during the afternoon after his administrative school day ended. Sometimes he came in with a fellow principal, but more often than not, he came in with Mrs. P. They almost always sat at the counter, she had hot tea and he had coffee. I learned about iced coffee from him. Oh, but I also learned that it is nice for a married couple to see each other sometime during the day, quietly talk or just sit quietly and share companionship while having an afternoon cup of tea or coffee.

He also told me, after I'd become an adult ( outta college and starting my teaching career), that it was ok to call him by his first name. You teachers out there know that this can be awkward at first, calling an adult who was one of your teachers or administrators by their first name. But Mr.P, like most of them, TOLD me to call them by their first name.

Another lesson I learned was to be involved. Mr. P. was involved in several service clubs and with his church. He and Mrs. P rarely missed church, sang in the choir and were one of those backbones of any church who quietly, without fuss or accolades often took care of things that needed doing.

We all need role models in our lives. Mr. P was a role model for me. I am thankful that Mr. P and so many others care enough about me and the others around them to be such role models. Where would we be without them ?

The P's believed in heaven. I am sure they are now up there, spending more time with each other. RIP Mr. P.