School is out and it is time for reflection on what was done. From showing Bill Bush how to tread water perpetually at the Y, to teaching teachers how to teach writing in Baton Rouge, I have taught plenty of students over the years. Though I’ve never gotten rich, the memories that I and my fellow educators have the chance to make over the years are a wealth of wonder.
Let’s see…I taught the sheriff—and I think I taught the deputy, too! In fact, more than a few. I cannot forget Jerome Hopewell when I count my cops. There are city councilmen, too. If one ever wonders why Mayor Jacques Roy never lets a project go, consider that I taught him for four years in a row! Tenacity doesn’t grow on trees! Consider the subject. For most of them, it was theology, the mixology of God and grad. I tried to give the positive attitude, the preparation for the pain, and the reality of the unfairness of it all. “But in the end,” I insisted as Gandhi did, “truth and love always win.”
We informed enough doctors to keep me alive to infinity and beyond, including but not limited to Dr. Chance DeWitt, Dr. Lee Roy Seaux and Dr. Michael Redmond. Heart, nerves and sight, just what the doc ordered! Dr. Steven Cavalier stepped up to me at his clinic in the capital and asked, “You taught Dr. Seaux at Harvard?” I responded, “Close. Our Lady of Prompt Succor.”
There are just too many lawyers to count! I instructed the entire Metoyer dynasty, with Numa being my favorite! He was in my CLC youth group. And we have judges, too, in that same brood! All mine. Surely, other teachers helped. This is a Shake ‘N Bake phenomenon. But, I still find it uncanny that I have so many stars!
Speaking of which, Scott Paetty went from the desk by my door to the silver screen. Mark Robichaux sauntered out of our session and walked straight to The New York Times. Scott Smith (and I taught eight of them!) must have gone to the Metropolitan Opera on his way home from the Hope Baptist Church. Television’s pro bass fisherman, Mark Sabbides, sat in my back corner, before he got in his boat. Ricky VanAsselberg threw spitballs in my classroom before he became the ACE’S ULB star. Speaking of pro athletes, there’s MLB player Terry Mathews, who holds the distinction as the student I’ve taught the most—he moved up with me from OLPS to Menard. Beauty queen and Miss Union Parish, Meghan Melder, was in my gifted program before she took that walk down the runway. She went well beyond the confidence and skill I could ever instill.
Is it war you’re looking for? A hero, maybe? I wrote the minister’s letter that sent Major Robert Davidson to West Point. Not only did he get in, he served two tours of duty in Iraq and came back! Being a teacher of love and forgiveness, with a sprinkle of faith and hope on the side, I hope I did right by all of them. Without bragging too much, it appears I did my job…and maybe even did it well.
These days, I am thinking of all the others, at NASA and beyond. Having ended my professional career as a teacher, my greatest joy now comes from teaching the grandbaby how to blow a bubble. Who knows where it will go?