The last few days, in Southern Illinois, have been Autumnal Splendor.
Our temperatures have, cooled off, and have become seasonal. Each Fall I return to the thoughts of my youth and the challenges and happiness of those years.
I often reflected, when I was a child, how the beginning of school was so hot…but the temperature became cool and chilly…soon after out academic year start.
I think, of an obscure memory, of a girl in my class named, Robin, and her desire for us to hide in a grove of trees and proceed to know each other…better?
We were in second grade…and I did not accept her offer…but I, then understood, that there was a difference between boys and girls…that would govern much of my life.
I thought that my first grade teacher, Mrs. Kittinger…was beautiful. She was so nice to me and had such a sweet attitude toward her students…that I have remembered her for, well over, fifty years.
Mrs. Molinarolo had lived in Japan. She had learned how to speak Japanese and how to count in the language. She was a tall woman and a considerate person and I liked her very much.
I still remember some of the Japanese, that Mrs. Molinarolo taught me, and how to count in the, lovely, language.
There was a Molinarolo Liquor Store in the little village of Muddy, that sits, evenly, between Eldorado and Harrisburg, Illinois.
Bernie Watson was my English teacher. When I first met, Mr. Watson, in a different teaching scenario, he was very strict, and seemed to misunderstand me. However, when he became my English teacher…her was a wonderful influence.
Mr. Watson’s, father, was the school custodian at Hillcrest School. He was a dignified gentleman and all of the students respected him.
My school bus driver was, Doc. Irvin, and he was a colorful and friendly person.
Current, Illinois Republican Senator, Dale Fowler, and I rode Doc’s School Bus.
I first rode Doc’s Bus when I was in first grade and I carried a, metal lunch pail, that had the, popular television show, Gunsmoke, embossed, on both sides of it.
Doc, immediately, gave me the moniker of…Gunsmoke…and I carried that title throughout my educational experience at Eldorado Grade Schools and High School.
Mrs. Bramlet, is one of my two favorite teacher or professors of my life. She taught me Speech as a freshman. No instructor, in High School, was more encouraging of me and endeavored more to cause me to excel in a discipline that I had a talent in.
Mrs. Bramlet, was a Gem…from the State of Tennessee, and she had a, commanding presence in the classroom. She was over six feet tall. She often spoke of her first days at university were someone told her that they were surprised to see that she was wearing shoes…since she was from Tennessee. She responded that…she was wearing her first pair!
Mrs, Betty Bramlet…wanted me to audition for school plays and to join the Thespian Club and…even asked me to be the announcer at the Homecoming Game…and I accepted the assignment…but did not have to do it due to the regular announcer…returning.
I, knew, instinctively, that I was important to Mrs. Bramlet…and I never forgot her.
Mrs. Bramlet contracted an illness that first put her in a wheelchair…that she taught from…and then took her life….in a most untimely fashion.
My favorite Professor, at university, was Dr. Carol Burns. I had a Composition 101 class with Carol and she inspired me to seek, additional university course work, and to become a better writer.
At the time that I was taking Carol’s class, 1984, we studied the book, 1984, and we wrote an essay…weekly.
After an essay that I wrote, Carol asked me to speak to her after class, whereupon she told me that I should aim higher than an associate degree…and that I had the academic ability to accomplish any academic pursuit that I chose…including law.
Carol’s constructive criticisms were a, both a burr in my saddle, and a ‘kick in my pants’ to inculcate her advice…and become a better writer.
I absorbed all of Carol’s advice…and became a better writer….and I received an A in the course.
Jo Ann Argersinger taught a Cold War class…while she was chancellor of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She was, not only an outstanding professor…but she was, also, my friend and I was a member of the search committee that brought her to the university as chancellor.
I wondered, at the time, 1998, as to her ability to teach the cold war class and accomplish all of the duties of the chancellor of SIUC?
I knew that Jo Ann was having problems with the president of the SIU System, Ted Sanders, and I worried, a lot, about her continued viability as chancellor.
That being said, she taught a academically challenging course…and I had to study, hard, to succeed.
Mary Jane and I were the Argeringer’s guests at The Bistro, in Carbondale…before a women’s basketball game that as near Thanksgiving. Jo Ann, was so excited to have visited with several, university donors, that day, and to be associated with SIUC.
We attended the women’s basketball game with Peter and Jo Ann…and she was so involved with all facets of the experience…including the uniforms…and she was terminated…a few…short…months later.