A couple of weeks ago I talked about my favorite classes. I alluded to a history professor who made history fun for me.
So it should come as no surprise that he’s one of my favorite teachers. Dr. S was from Meridian, Mississippi. He had a deep southern drawl and looked a bit like a bloodhound, but he was smart and entertaining and if he had taught every class in college, it wouldn’t have taken me six years to graduate.
He taught Renaissance and Reformation as well as Ancient History. He never brought notes with him, just his mug of coffee and his glasses. He’d enter the room with a thoughtful look on his hound dog face and ask someone in the front row for their notes from the previous class.
He’d pull out his glasses, look over the notes and then away we went, to the time of the Spanish Inquisition (I learned some really disgusting, yet awesome forms of torture), the Reformation (where the monks were called “pretty boys” and the nuns were “pretty mamas”), the time of Ancient Egypt. I soaked it in like a little sponge and wrote great reports for this professor. He made me want to learn as much as I could. And he did it all without opening a single text-book, or writing a single word on the board.
Sure, he had the absent-minded professor thing down. He was late to class one morning and we all looked at each other in that hopeful “maybe we can get out of class” way, but he sauntered through the door looking befuddled.
“I went to the wrong class. I started talking, but when I realized it was a math class, I got out as soon as I could.”
How could you not adore a professor like that? He couldn’t remember where his class was, what time it was, but he remembered his history and he remembered me. Oh, he couldn’t remember my name, but he did recognize me as one of his “smart people”. No lie. He referred to me and a friend (who also adored this man) as “those two smart people”. I know, he was so right 😉
I loved Dr. S. He retired before I graduated and I picture him on his porch in Meridian, sipping tea, and reading books about the Spanish Inquisition and Alexander the Great. I picture him rambling on and on about history and wish I was there to listen to him.