Monday, July 13, 2015

Big Hersh

Minneapolis Patrick Henry High School Speech Team, circa 1956, seated: Big Hersh. Photographer unknown.

Big Hersh was a venerated and feared teacher. I was recently at Fourth of July celebration and his name came up, one of the people there had taken English from him. She had some good stories. By the time I studied under him, about ten years after the above picture was taken, Big Hersh had slipped out of sync with the times. His teaching career started in the early thirties when he was employed as a principal/teacher/coach in a small town in out-state Minnesota; he came to Minneapolis a few years later where he taught, drove cab,  and raised a family.

The late sixties were a time of turmoil and our school was not spared from the unrest of the times, indeed, I was responsible for some of it. Still, Big Hersh never lost faith in me. After graduation, I would visit him from time to time. Each time I stopped over he began talking to me—continuing our conversation as if I had only stepped out of the room for a moment. He finally did retire in the early seventies, I don’t know how he made it through those last few years when the students were often high or drunk, or otherwise out of control.

He would talk to me about his early days, how the students were respectful, and how they had a thirst for knowledge. “We had scholars then.” he once told me.

By Professor Batty


Blogger Jono said...

I often wonder why things changed into what they are. I understand that things always change, but did we do something wrong?

Blogger Professor Batty said...

It was a lot simpler time.

Blogger Jono said...

That's it? I was looking for a whole philosophy and you give me, "It was a lot simpler time"? Sigh. Well, yeah, it was.

Blogger Professor Batty said...

The big deal was the lack of modern distractions. When this picture was taken many families didn't have TV, teen-age culture was almost non-existent and there were board games, not video games. They had the time to be scholars.

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