Gone in a ‘blaze’ of glory

Published 10:12 am Wednesday, July 16, 2008

“Teachers will not have a major impact on the way kids use their minds until they come to know how their student’s minds work.” — Debbie Meier from “Schools that Work.”

This brings to mind our own high school. I’m hoping someday to see a bench out there on the grand east side entrance. Not a wooden bench but one of those cast out of whatever metal they use to make them. And I would like to see two people seated on the bench. One for sure ought to be Richard Eberhart, the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who graduated from Austin High School sitting there with a book in his hands.

And sitting beside him could be “Blaze,” the student who graduated in ‘93 and left his mark on just about all the sidewalks on the east side when the sidewalks were fresh — most of them in peace signs.

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I have been trying hard to find the true identity of this “graphic artist.” I think one of the former assistant principals said he may have passed away. I don’t want to believe that. A custodian once said that “Blaze” was a girl. This brought even more excitement to me.

I’m thinking Richard could be holding a book in front of him and “Blaze” could be sitting on the bench looking and listening to Mr. Eberhart with a skateboard resting on his or her lap.

While I’m at the school I would like to take a few seconds to thank the former superintendent who has moved on and in doing so probably prevented a gun duel at some point between two of the board members in the superintendent’s hallway. I think the likelihood of that has diminished.

From what the papers tell me the new superintendent is used to coming into an environment where difference evolved between board members, staff and superintendents. And in a roundabout way it was probably a lesson the previous superintendent will share with her students who are hoping to advance through the education system so they can monitor their own hallway.

Bruce Anderson, the interim superintendent, said his job is to “set the table” for the district. I like his choice of words. However the article by Katie Johnson said he “is a man who loves metaphors” and I don’t know if I will ever understand metaphors. Mr. Anderson also pointed out his experience has been “encouraging, informative and enjoyable.” Then he talked about working toward “that process of collegiality.” I looked that up in my thesaurus. It means “power-sharing.”

I’m looking forward to attending school board meetings again, even though Skyler has graduated. I suspect they are receiving more attention then the “flare-up” at the city council and the never-ending lack of certainty with county commissioners where there is room for two new commissioners.

I would like to thank Richard Cummings for his long service. Mr. Cummings and I served together in Miss Martini’s algebra or advanced algebra class and he knew the correct answers.

I am still scratching my head about the decision to take down the only pieces of history unless Knauers smokehouse is still up in back. I think we should get all the people on in ages to deliver some “civil disobedience” and position ourselves on the bridges in shifts. It was interesting to read about the Oakland Avenue project in another paper how Jon Erichson “pitched the idea” of mining park land near the Cedar River to take out materials for filling in the Oakland Avenue East underpass.

The underpass, bridgeless would be graded to a “more gradual slope between First and Fourth streets.” So where will the water go? The article mentions how the Park and Recreation Department used a grant to plant wild prairie grass there but the project hasn’t been successful. Weeds have overrun the site.

Way back when Frank Skala, my great uncle, had a fit when the land was filled in for Tempo which is now where Austin Packaging sits and he hated to see the low-land dredged. How do you build around a mistake? And is the tiling of fields an answer.

Rochester was successful in curbing its flooding. They were able to build ponds I believe that dropped the water down. But Austin is flat and I’m not sure how we do that here and I’m not an engineer.

“Happiness is a butterfly,” said the Master. “Chase it and it eludes you. Sit down quietly and it alights upon your shoulder.”