Posted by: Maryann McCullough | August 31, 2013

Story for September 2013


For most of my life, August has been my gear-up, get organized, put the toys away time. I’ve spent from kindergarten through graduate school (some 20 years) answering the school bell followed by another near 30 where I was essentially the one who rang that bell. So it is no surprise that the internal clock in my now-retired body continues to send those same back-to-school signals, even though there is no need to sharpen my pencils. No backpacks to purchase. No seating charts or lesson plans to prepare.

 And I am not really sad at this realization, just feeling somewhat bereft. I am not a new retiree as I already claim a near decade of days without alarm clocks and serious agendas. But there is just something about August

It has not, however, been ten years of movie magazines and soap operas. I have written and shared my stories in a variety of ways. Some have made their way to anthologies or magazines. More however have just entertained friends and family who read my blog. I have searched backwards and sideways in compiling a genealogy search which now totals more than 3500 individuals, with records and stories and photos. It’s been a worthy decade.

But it has not been ten tears of teaching, either.

The truth is that I was one of the fortunate ones who look forward to Monday; one of those who smiled as a new week began. Generally speaking I was blessed with good students who judged me as someone who gave them their money’s worth. Not necessarily popular, I was “appreciated.”

 I’d had an early apprenticeship to the field of education. For a week in 1956, I was pulled out of my eighth grade classroom to fill in for Miss Feely, the kindergarten teacher at Saint Luke’s School. Of course, teaching was an obvious professional choice. College-educated women of my era generally became nurses or teachers, so I did not break any ground there. My choice of math was different in that it was a man’s subject some 50 years ago. Superintendents could even say (as they did to me) “You have excellent credentials but we feel a man would be better in a math position.”

Fast forward to 1983 and I am teaching math to about 140 sophomore boys at Brophy Prep in Phoenix, Az. Bless Fr. Gene Growney, S.J. for his more enlightened approach to hiring math teachers.  And kudos to Sr. Joan of Xavier Prep who welcomed me, nearly two decades later, to the next phase of my career – this one involving similarly bright and responsible students, only these students wore skirts.

 I do enjoy reviewing my slide show of faces from those years. I miss them in the way one misses the toddler days of one’s all-grown-up children. Not really wanting to do it over again, but missing the way it felt when one was doing it.

 And so, as September school bells ring, I will not ask for whom they toll. I’ll smile as I remember years past, yet know, they do not toll for me.












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