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Love Notes

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Love Notes

How Marianne learned to never say "never."

I thought I’d never throw away my school notebooks. Apparently, however, I have discarded several of the 3-ring binders, filled with my brain while it was addicted to teaching. I also know that I’ve deleted oodles of materials from my computer and that almost everything school-related in my document files during the ‘90s has gone to computer heaven. 

I know all these materials have disappeared because of spending most of August scanning my files and disks and rummaging through cupboards, boxes, storage rooms and even the tack room in the barn.

My mission was to find whatever hand-outs, lecture notes or lists I’d assembled during my seven-year stint as Cedar Post adviser/journalism teacher at Sandpoint High School. Those notes would come in handy for the new kid on the Cedar Post block. You can read more about on page 22, Looking for Love at Sandpoint High School.

Sadly, I have very little tangible to pass on to the new Cedar Post adviser at SHS. Still, there’s plenty packed away in the brain, which will be shared, only if he asks. I learned a long time ago that we learn better from our own mistakes and personal struggles than we do from unsolicited advice.

While enduring those challenges, we may eventually seek and welcome guidance. Otherwise, most “you oughta’s” will likely fall on deaf ears. So, I’m also in the continued life struggle of learning when to keep my mouth shut.

I’ve learned a lot since leaving education seven years ago. First and foremost, I’ve learned how fast time can zip by when we’re “having fun” during our “rocking chair” days. Where are those rocking chairs anyway? I know I haven’t sat in one very often. Wouldn’t have it any other way either.

 Seems like just yesterday since I said good-bye to teaching for the last time. When I consider what’s happened in my life during that time frame, I know the calendar is accurate, and I know firsthand that learning marches on with time and definitely outside the walls of a classroom.

One of the major ongoing lessons for me involves the constant reminder that we should never ever say “never” and never ever be surprised at the possibilities of what fate can dish out in this life.

Just when I’ve thought I’ve surely seen it all, my mouth hangs open absolute amazement, sometimes even because of my own surprising decisions. For example, one day I started my own blog. Its sole purpose was to help promote my brother’s cartoons. In its initial phases, I thought to myself, “I’ll never keep this up for more than a few days. My daily blog at www.slightdetour.com is now almost five years old.

You’d never catch me at a political caucus or at anything political, for that matter.  Yet I attended one at the Panida Theater in 2008, along with a lot of other people who had uttered similar pronouncements.

Our family would never move from the farm where we’d lived for 30 years unless we moved far, far away. It just wouldn’t be worth all the trouble, I said. Well, we moved all of nine miles three years ago, and we’ve found it well worth the effort. 

I said many times that I would never, ever ride in a horse show class again. I’ve done it twice in the last year, and who knows how many times I’ll make myself a liar in that department in the future.

When I left my teaching position at Sandpoint High the first time in 1997, I must have announced dozens of times to hundreds of people, you’ll never catch me in a classroom again. I returned just months later. It was good that I had not thrown away those school notebooks. They came in handy. I fell in love with teaching again.

My second departure from SHS occurred on a more positive note. It occurred thanks to official retirement. No need to keep those notebooks or computer files this time. 

Still, I held onto many items. Then, we moved. Then, our storage shed fell down. Then, I must have taken a lot of damaged items in boxes to the Colburn Transfer Station because now I cannot find very many school items.

I never dreamed that there would be any need for that stuff anyway. I also never dreamed that a day would come when someone I’ve known since his “Newest Bulldog” baby picture appeared in the Cedar Post 32 years ago would be advising that very publication and teaching journalism at Sandpoint High School.

Well, another “never” has happened. I didn’t inadvertently lie about this one, but I also never envisioned it. Apparently I never dreamed of such a possibility 32 years ago when I listed expectations for this “newest Bulldog” son of mine. The list included achievements or interests in sports, music, fly fishing, horses, hiking, intellectual pursuits and future editor of the Cedar Post. After all, he was to keep his parents, aunts and uncles happy by taking up strands of their individual interests.

At the time that article appeared in 1977, I never envisioned myself advising the Cedar Post, which had been so masterfully guided for years by my mentor Bob Hamilton. But I did for seven years, and the “newest Bulldog” served as a sportswriter on the staff.

 Never, however, did I really consider he would actually pursue a journalism career. He did.

Never did I dream that his professional journalism experience would lead him from an editorial position on a big Idaho daily directly back home to the Cedar Post.  It has. Now, this Cedar Post alum is returning to his alma mater to take over the newspaper helm.

I really do wish that I could find more of my classroom materials, but that’s okay.

Forty years ago this fall, when I began my SHS career, retiring English teacher and Monticola adviser Ruby Phelps had not yet discarded her lesson-plan books. She handed them over to me. I may have used them a few times, but for the most part, I developed my own program as an English teacher and yearbook adviser. I followed established patterns that first year and then began adding my personal touch, a little each year.

It was a lot of work, and it took many years of attempting to “get it right,” as Bob Hamilton used to say.

The same will happen as this school year 2009-10 unfolds. A young man faces a monumental challenge as he teaches high school students for the first time and advises a long respected high-school newspaper. He may not have access to his mom’s materials, but that is definitely okay.

He’s taking the Cedar Post reins during a transitional time in journalism. He’s been living these dramatic changes firsthand as an assistant sports editor. He’s keenly aware that methods of packaging journalism for public consumption are rapidly changing. Fortunately, he’s had on-the-job experience working with these trends.

He’s also grown up with teachers; about 95 percent of all living and past generations in our family have taught school. He knows and appreciates the Cedar Post’s phenomenal history and tradition for excellence. Moreover, he knows how much work he faces as a teacher/adviser because he watched his mom in action throughout his high school years.

He knows his return to Sandpoint comes with high expectations from staff, students community, and, yes, his family. He welcomes the challenge. He knows where to go quickly if he needs guidance or support with classroom or curriculum management. His aunt Barbara is a respected SHS veteran teacher/publications adviser, and most of the staff either taught him or went to school with him.

Yep, the “newest Bulldog” is returning to his roots after spending the past 14 years out there in the world, educating himself and working as a journalist.

To suggest he’ll never make a mistake is an unrealistic expectation for any teacher. To predict that he’ll do his best to “get it right” and to make a positive difference in the lives of students is a given.

Welcome home, Mr. Love, and good luck. You’ll do just fine, even if you never have the aid of Mom’s notebooks.


 

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Author info

Marianne Love Marianne Love is a freelance writer and former English teacher who enjoys telling the stories of her community. She has authored several books, the latest of which is "Lessons With Love."

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