December 19, 2004
In another stack of photos, I found some from high school, mostly friends doing their goofy things, but some of teachers that really made an impact on my life. Ralph Goodwin was one of those teachers.
Goodwin was a science teacher; I believe he taught computer science in our high-tech classroom full of TRS-80s, but he also taught a senior seminar on leadership. Ralph was someone that Kip and I liked, so we gave him no end of grief. Kip and I were both in his leadership class during our senior year, and Ralph obviously knew his stuff. The course was a combination between a touchy-feely theater course and one that addresses the pedagogy of leadership. I’m not sure how much I learned about being a leader, something Kip does better than I, but I did learn about myself.
Mr. Goodwin wrote in my yearbook:
|“||Jerry, (one half of the Jerry-Kip complex. The better half?) Each of you are special people, but together you are “hell on wheels!” I never did share my favorite three curse words with you! You should not feel ignored; you have much to offer — much to share. I wish you continued success with your music — and everything else! Remember “ILAC”! It’s true if you believe it’s true. Good luck and God’s speed! Love, Mr. G. Psalms 27.5 — ’Booma Hey!||”|
“ILAC” stands for “I am Loving and Caring.” It was part of an exercise that required us to wear badges all day long that expressed that fact. I don’t remember the bit about the curse words, but I’m sure they were fairly mild, knowing Mr. G. I’m not sure what “‘Booma Hey!” means, but Psalm 27.5 reads:
For he will hide me in his shelter
in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
he will set me high on a rock.
At the end of our senior year, Kip and I heard that Mr. G was taking a job up north, and we were not able to say a proper good-bye. So, we tracked him down at home — “home” was a friend’s house where we barged in about 11:30 one evening to find a sleeping Mr. G on a sleeper sofa surprised as shit to see the two of us grinning like fools. Despite our total lack of propriety and decorum — ideas that we seemed not to be aware of anyway in those days — we chatted with him on his bed for a few minutes to say our good-byes.
Looking back, Mr. G was one of the high points of my high school experience: a caring teacher doing his job. He had the perfect sense of the professional and the personal that’s so important in a strong educator. Mr. G earned and kept his respect as a teacher and was able to make personal contact in a way that most other teachers cannot, or will not. I hope he’s doing well.