Part 1, Part 2


I like to imagine Mr. Gray grading our essays in the evenings in his bachelor pad over a bowl of Top Ramen. Of course he had a pad; this was the 70’s and he was a bachelor. They all had pads. I imagine him laughing over mine. I imagine him laughing so hard that he had to stop and clean up the Top Ramen that he inadvertently snorted though his nose.

Thirty plus years has brought me not only a great deal of retrospect, but also a softening of the edges and a greater understanding of human nature. I don’t think he was really Mr. Haw. He was just Mr. Haugh, doing a job that, perhaps, no one else wanted to do. Clearly he was stiff and strict and “by the book,” but these days I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps he was tired of high schoolers and their antics. I don’t believe he was a young man at the time, and of course I have no idea what kind of personal life he had. It never occurs to children that their teachers are people before they are teachers. Maybe he was dealing with very difficult personal circumstances and our wild abandon of protocol was the last straw, as it were, for him on that particular day. I’ll never know why he seemed to be a bitter and angry person but perhaps, just perhaps we deserved to serve every moment of that detention. I suspect this is so. 

Whatever the case, I sincerely hope that Mr. Haugh was able to find joy and peace and health and happiness during his lifetime, and I would like to thank him for some great essay fodder then, and blog fodder now. The indignation and rage have long since faded and been replaced by nostalgic memories that are a little blurry around the edges

Thank you, Mr. Haugh, for giving me those memories that still make me smile decades hence. I sincerely wish you all the best, wherever you are. You had a job to do, you did it, you did it well, and I offer you all due respect. Tardily, but respect and good wishes nonetheless. And thank you Mr. Gray, for instilling in your students a love of the written word that has remained a burning fire within me until this very day.

Perhaps I flatter myself, but I really do think Mr. Gray must have enjoyed my essay. He gave me an A+. 

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