Thank you, to Mr. Jack Fitzgibbon

Thank you, Mr. Fitzgibbon!

We all remember one special teacher, and my daughter's favorite here in Westfield was Jack Fitzgibbon. Always Mr. Fitzgibbon, for some reason, even two decades later.

When I see Jack he asks about Cathy, and she in turn asks about him. He took interest in her, when she was brand new in town and knew no one, and he recognized her potential. That's all I know.

Cathy, herself, would have to tell you why she still remembers him so fondly yet today.

This all comes to mind now, thanks to the Sons of Erin, and all of the St. Patrick celebrations. We saw Mr. Fizgibbon over a corned beef dinner one night. The famous Bill Buzzee corned beef dinner. And, after he cooked 700 pounds in one week he probably wishes it was someone else's famous corned beef.

I ran into a couple of our son's teachers that week, too. Mr. Quinn, who actually recognized Chris a dozen inches taller than he was a dozen years ago. And Mrs. Smith, who claims she really had a good year with Chris at Ashley Street School. I think she was humoring his mother.

Now, I remember a lot of my own teachers, all probably too dead to remember me.

Grace Visnow, of the resting rug era, first grade. Miss Hackman, who had a hunchback. Miss Sittler who had a twin sister, and a telephone in her room. Miss Zugschwerdt, which we had to learn to spell, and who had a dress she wore, daily, with numbers all over it. Math was her thing. Miss Carlson with the flowing red hair who let us draw huge murals of Africa. All of them.

Heck, I even remember Mr. Counterman, the custodian. I proudly told my parents that he was really Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It was Longfellow Elementary School, afterall.

I also remember my home room teacher and my history teacher, arrested together in a public bathroom downtown doing something I was too young to know about at the time. They didn't come back to school after that.

And the Spanish teacher with the ring through her nose. This was in the fifties, folks, not the nineties. These three were exceptions.

I remember throwing up on my red snowsuit (Miss Hackman's room). I remember Ernest wetting the floor dancing in an assembly program. I remember being terrified when Bobby Dew brought a knife to school (about fourth grade).

But mostly I remember the good things. And, the teachers.

I only regret that I never stopped by to say thank you, personally, to my teachers back at Longfellow, East Junior and East High in Sioux City, Iowa.

And I never bothered to tell any of my kids teachers thank you, either.

So, I do so today. You're all doing something that a lot of us could never do. Or, would never want to do. I thank you all.

If you weren't my teacher, or Cathy's, or Chris's, and if no one has ever thanked you either, just remember that a lot of us do remember you, have thought about you, and should have said thank you.

Even if we didn't.

So thank you. Mr. Fitz. And teachers everywhere.

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