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MARY’S MEANDERINGS: Remembering Mr. Spicer

Yes, I think it’s very important that all teachers are recognized for their life’s services.

Mr. Spicer (Miro) was my 9th grade Math teacher, the class of 1943, who taught in Jenny Lind Junior High School from 1939 to 1949. I think it’s very important to know that he spent 3 years serving his country in the U.S. Army as a medic and that he won county and district championships as a coach of 25 years.

I certainly think he was deserving of being inducted into the Greenwood School’s Hall of Honor and to have the Greenwood (1966) Staff’s Annual dedicated to him, and that he proudly held different positions of teaching until his retirement in 1974, and in community work after his retirement.

I “study” this photograph of Mr. Spicer, as a speaker, who had just been congratulated by a crowd of 400 or more; along with Martha Ann (Powell) Styles and myself, his former students at our Jenny Lind School Reunion in 1997

I witnessed more than one paying Mr. Spicer the same compliment I had paid that day.

“Mr. Spicer, you certainly haven’t changed much. You look so good. You don’t look 87 years old” were some of their words. Thanking each and every one of them, he took it all in stride.

Earlier in our conversation, I made the same remark.

“Mr. Spicer, you really don’t look 87 years old,” I said.

“What do you attribute it to?” I asked.

Without hesitation or a testimony of what in long detail, he answered, “I eat a lot of butter beans and cornbread.” (As if he were serious.) Or was he? I never forgot his response.

Further into our conversation, I let Mr. Spicer know that I thought he was a good math teacher who taught the class of 1943 the science of numbers and their operations and that I was well aware of the fact that he was the teacher that introduced us to the compass…an instrument for describing circles and the protractor…used for measuring angles…that his teaching wasn’t the reason for my lack of knowledge of either. I just did not “get the hang of it,” but thankfully muddled through the rest of the chapter of “Compasses & Protractors” and thanks to him, passed to the 10th grade with B’s on my report card. We both laughed.

Soon after our Jenny Lind School Reunion, I saw Mr. Spicer at Furr’s Cafeteria where he was seated having supper. We exchanged a few words after saying hello, but not wanting to interrupt his meal, I glanced down and guess what he was having for supper? That’s right. Butter beans and cornbread!

Sometimes, it’s easy to lose sight in what’s really important in one’s life and the memories that remain over the years of a teacher admired by a student that he taught 50 or 60 years ago. Those memories could be serious…they could be humorous…or they could be both.