Monday, June 6, 2016

So Long, Mr.G

My weekly quilt group meets in the community center. This Tuesday I happened to linger near a bulletin board and was drawn to read a notice from the local funeral parlor.

I have no idea why I read it; having moved twelve times in 43 years I never look at the obituaries because either I already knew someone had passed or I didn't know the person who had passed.

But this time my heart caught in my throat, for I recognized the name of the deceased. I read the whole notice, and was confirmed: my high school biology teacher, Mr. Gasiorowski, was gone. I had no idea he lived a few blocks away from our home of two years.

I loved Mr. G. He earnestly loved his subject and teaching us kids. He told great stories about whatever we studied, intermixed with mentions of his beloved White Sox team, managed by Eddie Stankey. When Mr. G talked about meiosis and mitosis he became so excited, his eyes shining. The mystery of life amazed him.

My 1967 diary is full of small references to Mr. G. Including this story:

Yesterday we had to inoculate a medium in a petri dish with bacteria. We used yeast as the bacteria. As we worked on this, Mr. G went around in case any trouble came up. He came over to me and said “I hate kids. I really do. I hate them!” as a serious joke. I told him that wasn’t a very nice thing to say, and asked why he was a teacher then. “I don’t know. Every weekend, I ask myself that. Every night I go home thinking how much I hate kids. But I usually forget about it after my 5th Manhattan.” I laughed. He made another round of the lab tables, and came back with some sarcastic remark about, “OK kids, lets climb on each other’s shoulders and make like the Tower of Babel.” Everyone looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders as he passed by with his famous last words, “I hate kids.” 
One of several Mr G. sketches I did during class. 
I shared the obit link on various Facebook groups related to my high school and hometown and the comments came flowing in, previous students who all ranked Mr. G among their all time favorite teachers.

Mr. G has left a wonderful legacy.

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