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Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Story: Bilbo (10th Grade)

After reading about Donnette's teacher from her 8th grade, I could not stop thinking about the one teacher who still impacts my life regularly.

In 10th grade, I decided to take German. This one decision affected my entire life! My teacher was a short, smiling German with a wonderful fro. If you have ever seen Lord of the Rings, and recall Bilbo Baggins, you've basically seen my German teacher, just perkier with permanent smile lines all over his face.

Knowing his history, you would never know how on earth he could smile as much as he did. He was born before WWII. During the three years I spent in his class, he intrigued and horrified us with stories of Russian soldiers raiding his house, and by some good fortune, though his mother and siblings were hidden safely in the basement, the thin curtain hiding him was never parted and his life was spared. One time he was on a boat, and suddenly the captain shouted that they were sailing through a mine field. Again, his life was miraculously spared. The stories go on and on...some horrendous, some hilarious. That wonderfully thick German accent kept us mesmerized daily.

As I sit here thinking about this man and all he went through I am still baffled that of all things he could have done with his life, he chose to become a teacher. Even more amazing, I think he smiled every day of his life. Why? He told us he had made a choice. How much better would this world be if despite all the challenges some face, we all made a choice to just smile every day?

This man was not only a teacher, he was a mentor and after I graduated became a dear friend. Though I haven't heard from him in years, I think about him almost daily and hope that I can one day have an impact on someone the same way he likely impacted thousands of students over the years he taught.

This is week 12 of Mommy's Piggy Tales where we recount tales of our youth to preserve not only who we are but to give our children knowledge of their history and heritage.


  1. What an amazing teacher! How lucky you were to have him!

    I took German all four years in high school, and I just loved my German teacher! He taught us German songs, we played games, and he was just the sweetest man! Thanks for jogging my memory.

  2. What an inspirational teacher! The only foreign language option we had was Spanish. I had a very small high school. And yeah, my parents made me get a job. If I wanted the name brands, then they told me I had to work for them. They couldn't afford it. I only worked about 15 hours a week :-)

  3. Very cool! I love it when teachers become a part of our growing up--there are so many of them that I barely remember, and that's kind of sad!

  4. How great to have such a wonderful man in your life! Being a teacher really can be an amazing job if you do it right, you have the opportunity to impact so many students! And then as students they may take that and share what you have taught them with others! Such a gift and truly a higher calling!

  5. What an amazing man that God placed in your life to impact you and the rest of his students. I can only imagine how real he must have made history for his students and his vast experiences have blessed many. we didn't have foreign languages when I was in high school.

  6. Wow! Your description of him is just delicious. Those that have walked through deep waters are and can rejoice still are amazing people to be around.

  7. Yes, I think the teachers that make the most impact are those that do MORE than just teach, but touch us inwardly in some way. I have one of those in my past as well, although not a WWII survivor.