|Rolfe Alumni Essay|
|An Old Man Remembers
Lyle taught at D.M.T., Rolfe, and other area schools for a total of 39 years. He passed away on July 28, 2000 after a lengthy illness. Obituary.
Young boys like to talk about what they're going to do when they are men — old men like to talk about what they did as boys.
I remember that on my first day in Kindergarten I was the only kid that didn't cry. I remember that I learned to tie my shoes, and I found out all about coloring and learning to play with others and all about taking a nap.
In first grade, I learned to read and I found out all about "Dick and Jane" and "Run, Spot, run." And I learned more about coloring and pasting, and I learned to recognize my written name. One night I missed the bus, and I almost cried.
In second grade, I find out there is no Santa Claus and that my mother colored the Easter eggs, and I almost cried.
In third grade I begin to learn a little bit about table manners in the lunch room.We boys begin to flex our muscles on the playground, and the girls learned to jump rope and played "school" at recess time. I find out about S's and U's and so do my parents, and I wonder why there is so much fuss about learning.
In fourth grade, there are no more S's and U's, and I discover that A's and B's are better than C's and D's, and the F's should be avoided altogether.We boys learn how to play baseball and the girls learn how to giggle. In the spring, we have boyfriends and girlfriends and I learn all about superintendents and principals and how to avoid them altogether. One day my teacher spanked me, and I almost cried.
In the fifth grade, I have a new girlfriend. She smiled at me one day and winked her eye and I began to sweat under my armpits and I blushed and wondered why. I have my first real dreams of being an All-American ball player, of hitting home runs, scoring baskets and touchdowns. Then we choose up sides to play a game and I'm the last one chosen — I almost cried.
I’m in the sixth grade now. The girls like the boys, and we boys say we hate them, but we act like perfect fools in front of them. That's the grade that my teacher sometimes becomes my mortal enemy. We become little-league heroes and our fathers are proud of us. I idolize a high school star and try to emulate him. I have a fight with my best friend and he knocked me down — I almost cried.
Junior High — and I've finally arrived! The excitement of having lots of teachers and especially of now having your own coach. There's the honor roll for some and the ineligibility list for others. There's the fear of parent-teacher conferences and, of course, report cards. There's a constant "Walk, don't run" and "Don't budge in the lunch line," and I discover that some days the cooks are my mortal enemies, too. There's the thrill of my first Junior High roller skating party and "Oh, my gosh, I wonder if she'll skate with me?" There's Junior High athletics with the winning and the losing and always "Work harder, work harder, and win that big one for the coach."
At last I get through eighth grade and it's time for the promotion exercises. I get all gussied up in the best I've got and as that old Junior High Principal hands me my diploma I think that maybe he
really wasn't all that bad — and I almost cried.
I'm finally a freshman and I hope they're ready for me in High School. I wonder now what subjects I'll have and who my teachers will be. She smiled at me today and winked an eye and once again I begin to sweat. She surely is cute. I hope I at least make the J.V. team and the band. This is the time for ragged jeans, tennies and floppy sweat shirts, and rushing in the door and yelling "Hey, Mom, what's for supper?"
Now I'm a sophomore. I'm thinking more seriously now — girls, sports, hair and grades. Oh yeah, what about my driver's license and using the family car? I can be more selective now in choosing subjects, and I take certain classes because I like certain teachers. I enjoy making the varsity squad and checking out of study halls, and writing my initials on the rest room walls. I hate the hot lunches sometimes and also the trips to the principal's office. My parents sure worry about my grades. We were going steady, but we broke up and I almost cried.
I make it into my junior year. There's football, basketball, track, earning letters and the thrill of winning and the agony of losing. I become concerned about such things as student council and class officers. I argue with teachers and suddenly I become very, very intelligent. I find that there's not enough time in the day, and my future suddenly becomes very important to me. I think I'm in love and life is really worth living. It's the night of the junior-senior prom and, "Hey, Dad, may I use the car tonight?" Then we were beaten by Laurnes, and I almost cried.
My senior year and this is it! I've waited a long time for It. I learn about "senioritis" and being my own man and doing my own thing. I've got my own car, am going steady, and there's music, athletics, drama, and oh yeah, there's those darn report cards. It's time to chose a college and a career. This is the last semester with basketball tournaments and happiness and tears. Sometimes I wonder if the work was worth it all. It's my last swing show and my last junior-senior prom.
It's graduation time now and as I sit and listen to the man address us, I notice that my shoelace is untied. As I bend over to tie it I remember that it seems like it was only yesterday that I learned to tie my shoe and learned to read "Run, Spot, run" and "See Dick, See Jane." Then I received my diploma and I almost cried.
I go away and years pass by, and then I come back to my old hometown. The trees have grown and the old buildings are gone. People are moving about and kids are going to school.
I remembered my childhood — the fun with my friends, and I almost cried.
Memories gripped me as I revisited my old home and I felt weak inside. I ran the same hills, climbed the same trees and wandered in the same old woods. I sat for hours, counting the flowers, and reminiscing my childhood days. I re-lived fierce Indian battles and re-traced the trails to my old hideout. I went down to the brook where I used to pretend I had a wishing well. The longer I sat, the more I remembered. It hurt, but it helped. I cast my memories aside, I walked away, and I almost cried.