"HOW SHALL WE THEN LIVE?" Francis Schaeffer

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


My 7th grade core teacher was Mr. Bill Spratling.  ( It should be obvious, we didn't call him Bill.  Maybe nowadays the kids might; but not back then.)  He was in his second year of teaching.  Before he achieved his college degree he had been in the Army; even showed us a couple of pictures.  I recall him being fair but not inclined to put up with much foolishness from his junior highers.

 His favorite punishment for a student acting inappropriately was to have them stand next to the pencil sharpener.  He would take the little catch barrel, pour out the pencil shaving and tell the poor student to start counting.  It was tedious and embarrassing.  The class is sitting at their desks, you're standing up front trying to count innumerable pencil shavings.  Mr. Spratling has assured you he knows EXACTLY how many there are.  In 7th grade you believe him so you count very faithfully. I think I did this twice.  The second time was no better than the first.

I matriculated on to 8th grade and from then on had very little contact with Mr. Spratling.  Seventeen years later, long gone from the community,  I was back in town for some business and happened to swing by my Junior High one afternoon at 4:30.  Kids had been dismissed at 4 but the building were still open.  Being a rabid nostalgist, I wondered down into the basement of the old main building where Mr. Spratling had held class.  The door was open, the light was on so I walked in.  There, much to my surprise, was Mr. Spratling.
I introduced myself; told him I had been in his class those many years ago.  He looked at me carefully and said he remembered me.  He then pointed to a desk where he said I sat.  I pointed to a different desk and said I had sat over there but talking with him it was evident he remembered me.  Later on that evening I remembered that he had CORRECTLY pointed out the desk I sat in the first semester, I had pointed to the desk I sat in the second.  Seventeen years later Mr. Spratling could correctly place me in his classroom.

I wasn't the smartest, nor the dumbest.  I wasn't the most obnoxious, certainly not the nicest.  I wasn't the funniest, wasn't the quietest.  I was pretty much a middle-of-the-road kid. Seventeen years later Mr. Spratling remembered me.

Kudos to you Mr. Spratling.  I suspect hundreds of kids have good memories of 7th grade under your expert tutelage.

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