In several entries here I've mentioned teachers. Today I came across three small books that I've apparently had for some time. They are books of poetry written by a couple of my high school teachers. One book, Selected Poems 1959-1988, was written by my senior year English teacher, Mr. A.R. Nooncaster. The other two, Candles at Noon and Triumphant Moment, were written by Elaine Ledbetter, my Chemistry teacher.

The photos I've included here were taken from a website created by R. Malcolm Brown, Jr. about the 40th reunion of the Pampa High School class of 1957. No, I wasn't in school then, but I found it incredibly interesting that these photos, from 1957, were of teachers that were still teaching at PHS in 1977. In the picture above, Mr. Graham, on the left, was my junior year history teacher. Mrs. Torvie, next to him, was still teaching English in 1975.

I don't think they make teachers like they used to, or maybe I'm just suffering from Good Ol' Days Syndrome.

Mr. Nooncaster is on the far right. They probably
had to seat him, otherwise, at 6' 5", his head would
be out of frame.

by A.R. Nooncaster

When I am dead, my foes will say,
Without a qualm, without delay,
That I was moody and aloof,
Too sensitive to bear reproof,
Demanding much and quick to flame
At others with a lesser aim,
Impatient, hard, and sometimes rude
To those I should have wisely wooed,
Volatile and vehement,
Explosive in an argument,
Too blunt in speech, too prone to see
The failings of humanity,
And in other ways perverse,
My friends, I fear, will say much worse.

Mrs. Ledbetter, with the camera.
Mrs. Morgan, Miss Dozier and Mr. Bowman.
Miss Dozier was my sophomore English teacher.
Mr. Bowman was one of my Driver's Ed instructors.

My Gifts

by Elaine Ledbetter

Each time I pause
To think upon the vast array
Of gifts bestowed
Unearned, unsought upon my way,
I bow in deep humility.

The more I have
The more I owe. How great my debt!
God, prick my heart
With pointed pain should I forget
My trust and use them selfishly.

Mr. Rice, far left, was my sophomore year Algebra
II teacher

1 comment:

  1. I have a story about Mr. Graham that I've told often, but needs to be repeated. It had a profound effect on me.

    One day, Mr. Graham was admonishing the class to return books that had been checked out from the library for a history report we were all assigned. Apparently there were several books overdue and people were waiting for them. Mr. Graham was looking directly at me as he delivered this lecture and I felt compelled to reply ... "Don't look at me, I turned in my books!"

    There was a short pause, and you could see Mr. Graham either gathering energy or fighting to control his anger ... in either case, he unleashed on me. The only thing I specifically remember was the opening ...

    "Mr. Turner. MUST you have a smart ass remark for EVERYTHING that is said in this classroom!"

    ... and then he proceeded to really let me have it ... "distracting the class" .... "arrogantly demanding attention" ... "I am not here to entertain you" ... for what seemed to me several minutes.

    The class was stunned. I was very ashamed. Mr. Graham just did not react that way and I was truly shaken. I went up to him after class, apologized and begged forgiveness. He accepted my apology and told me that I had great gifts, and he felt it was necessary to address my classroom behavior because he feared I would not use my gifts appropriately.

    I still don't think I have fully used my gifts, whatever they may be, but I truly admired Mr. Graham and can honestly say that a single episode in my junior year high school history class gave me pause to think many, many times ... and still does.