Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Titles of Authority


I attended a wonderful college at Rexburg, Idaho for one golden semester in the fall of 1973.
It was as long as I could manage to be away from my family.
Have I mentioned I'm a wuss?
Well, I am.
I was so homesick during those endless four months that I could have died.
I even wrote an article about being homesick that was picked up by the local paper.
I still think the tear-stains on the paper were the real sell.
Moving on . . .
During my time at college, I studied Physical Education.
Really.
I actually took classes in Soccer, Interpretive Dance, Track and Field, and Swimming.
Did you know they offer college level courses in those things?
Yeah. I didn't either.
It was a fun semester.
To round things out, I had to take some other remedial courses.
Chosen from a list.
And including such things as . . . English Language Arts.
And one or more sciences.
Sigh.
I chose Astronomy.
Because Zoology was filled up.
For an entire semester, I studied the stars.
We even went out in the evenings and, with the help of large telescopes, mapped the heavens.
It was chilly.
But fun.
Our instructor for the class was a man named Brother Greg.
Oh, I should mention, here, that this was a Christian school and that we called each other brother and sister.
Even the instructors.
Soo . . . Brother Greg.
Brother Greg was a wonderful man.
Kind.
Patient.
Let's face it, when you are shepherding a group of seventy or more students around, you'd have to have a good dose of both.
And he answered every one of the questions I put to him.
Smiling quietly and nodding whenever my hand shot up accompanied by, “Brother Greg! Brother Greg!”
I enjoyed my Astronomy class.
I even earned a reputable grade.
And it was then that my world stood still.
As well as all of the stars and planets I had been studying.
Because when Brother Greg handed out our final papers, with our grade prominently displayed, I got the biggest shock of the semester.
Brother Greg's name was Brother Nelson.
Brother Nelson?
Where on earth did I get Greg . . .? Oh. Brother Greg Nelson.
On the very first day of class, when I had been writing things down, I had started to write his name and was interrupted.
Thus, he became Brother Greg.
To this day, I wonder how I went through an entire semester without realizing that everyone . . . everyone . . . in the class was calling him something else.
I know the class was Astronomy, but was my head literally in the clouds?
Because he was such a nice man, he never corrected the weird student from Canada who insisted on calling him by his first name.
And neither did the other sixty-nine kids in the class.
Perhaps they snickered behind their hands whenever my hand went up.
Maybe (and this is a faint hope) they never noticed.
Oh, well, as least my grades were good.
Today, I couldn't tell you a single thing taught that semester.
Except for what I learned on the very last day.
And that, I simply can't forget.



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11 comments:

  1. I'm sure if it mattered to him he would have said something. Shame you can't remember much about what you learned that semester though. Fascinating subject.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I expect you're right. That's what I tell myself. All I remember is that I loved it! Pity . . .

      Delete
  2. Hahaha! I think maybe Brother 'Greg' thought Canadians were super-friendly! If he didn't like it, he would have told you, right?!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Huh. Never thought of that. Yep. We Canadians are super-friendly!!! :)

      Delete
  3. Hi Diane, I have missed your blog... I have been soo busy, I am taking the next few nights to catch up.

    I love your story, that is so cute that no one ever corrected you and even funnier that you never heard him called brother Nelson:)

    Maybe they didn't hear you either:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. My mouth fell open when Brother Greg turned out to be Brother Nelson. I already had a mental image of a Hogwarts astronomy class, and when your enthusiasm caused you to miss Brother Nelson's name, you turned right into Hermione.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Astronomy? Interpretive dance? You almost make me wish I'd gone to college. Brother Greg sounds lovely.
    However, in the Australian autumn of 1973, I was finally getting the hang of managing my newborn firstborn.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Newborn 101 definitely beats Interpretive dance!

      Delete
  6. When I was teaching Journeyman Upgrading at the local college, I had a couple of students come up to me saying, 'Sir?' I stole a line out of 'A Few Good Men,' and responded with, 'If you mention sir to me, I turn around and look for my father.' One couldn't get that off his mind so for the rest of the course I just got used to hearing someone call me, 'Sir.'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was my reaction the first time I was called, "Ma'am". Yikes! I'm a Ma'am?!

      Delete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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