Sunday, March 13, 2011

Takin' a Walk

....down memory lane. I have enjoyed catching up with old classmates on facebook. The other day, one of them mentioned that he keeps in contact with Mr. Wadden, one of our teachers from high school. Mr. Wadden taught Advanced Placement English, and he was "that" teacher for me. The one you remember even though thirty-plus years have passed. The first day of class, he released a litany of expectations for the class that led to at least five students dropping out. I admit, I considered it. It was my senior year - did I really want to work that hard? But I really loved reading, writing and English, so I stuck it out. Mr. Wadden was an amazing instructor. I really think he gave his little speech at the beginning to "separate the men from the boys", so to speak. The class was challenging, for sure, but it was also thought-provoking and lots of fun.

So I got Mr. Wadden's email address from Bruce, and I contacted him not really expecting too much in the way of a reply. Boy, was I surprised! Mr. Wadden remembered me quite well, down to the fact that I transferred classes second semester so I could be with my good friend, Kim. "Didn't you guys call yourselves the Kimmys or something?", he asked. Close - we called ourselves the Kimlers, because I was Kim Kubler and she was Kim Taylor. He also remember that I was headed to Iowa State to major in Mass Communications. I told him about my two degrees and the fact that I have published a book. I added that he is the reason I was able to accomplish that feat, as he provided me with the skills to succeed in college and to be a good writer.

He said that he wasn't surprised that I had written a book because my highest grades were always with my writing in his class. He went on to say a lot if really nice things, which I won't repeat here. But I know that on a down day when I question what I am doing and if it makes difference, I will pull out his email for a boost.

Did a teacher make a difference in your life? Write and tell them so.


Mrs. Wryly said...

That's nice! I had some good English teachers, too, and I can remember every one of them. Would love to have a do-over for any of their classes......

Mark said...

I, too, had Jerry Wadden as an English teacher, but at Merrill Junior High.

He was excellent, as you know! And he did the I'm-gonna-show-you-who's-boss thing on the first day--yep, that was pretty intimidating. I thought, boy, I'm gonna hate this guy. But I know why he did it, and it was a good thing in the end.

He and I used to challenge each other with games of Hangman in front of the class--and somehow, I almost always beat him! (I guess doing a lot of eclectic reading really paid off that year.) At my age, I don't think I could do that kind of thing again.

I'd love to say hi to him if you still have his info. (And maybe challenge him to another game of Hangman!)

Kim Wolterman said...

Hi Mark, what a small world. I don't want to put his email address out on here, so can you please email me at and I will reply privately to that. Thanks.