Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pesky 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.

14 comments:

  1. Haaa...stuck with you all this time!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Maybe they thought that was the Canadian way :) You are not alone. I've called people by the wrong name and I've been the misnamed ... it all evens out!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kindred spirits, Jenny. Kindred spirits.

      Delete
  3. I once called a new best friend Sharon for six months, until my husband told me her name was actually Joan, so the next time I saw her I asked and he was right. Turns out she'd never corrected me because she preferred the name Sharon.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think if Brother Greg minded, he would have told you! So sorry you were homesick but it made a great story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you're probably right. He always gave this little smile when I'd address him. Only later did I realize why . . .
      Homesickness is really funny . . . later! :)

      Delete
  5. I am somewhat famous in these parts for calling people by the wrong name. He probably enjoyed the change of pace! Astronomy sounds wonderful - one of those things I would have liked to study.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, my reputation for mis-naming is pretty much intact as well. Sigh.

      Delete
  6. Why is it our faux pas always stick with us much longer than our moments of brilliance?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Personally, it's because there are so many of the former and so few of the latter! :)

      Delete
  7. That's so funny! I am horrible with names and even mix my own kids up half the time! I would love to take astronomy. I have my telescope that I confiscated from my son at the age of 13 when I caught him staring into other peoples campers when we were camping! Little pervert haha! I still use it to this day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bwahahahaha! Astronomy was fun! Brother Greg was a great teacher. No matter what I called him! :)

      Delete

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