Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Gibson's

When I started teaching in this county in 1971, one of the first families I met were the Gibson's.

Their youngest boy, Gene was a senior in my first ag class. That boy and and his classmates taught me more than I ever taught them. You had Gene, Rau, John, Greg, Hurst and more. Some came to be doctors! But these were good farm boys ready to take on life. I looked younger than some of them. I went to the bathroom one day and Mr. Wilson the Janitor took me to the office saying I was skipping class. We still laugh about that.

Gene and Keith wanted to build a pulling tractor like I did. I encouraged them to bring in the their retired Massey Harris 30 tractor and they stuffed a 396 Chevy under the hood and it became Monumental Massey.

Like a fool, I let them test drive it on SR 28 in front of the high school. They had it going 60 MPH with a wobbly front end. Gene's hat blew off in under 100 feet. I said boys we better fix that front end before that thing kills somebody. Naw Mr. Winkle, it won't be going down the the track that fast with a load on it!

Gene and Keith's parents would invite me for dinner all the time. All the families did then. I ate in so many houses. They wanted a good teacher for their children. The meals were often simple but the hospitality was so warm.

Old Hooter would help me weld up something for my pulling tractor and teach me more about welding so I could teach my students. He could weld about anything together. He taught me to weld a cast iron manifold in sand with a Nickel rod on reverse polarity DC welding.

Gene and his brother are some of the best farmers in this area. One day I talked brother Keith into running for school board. He is still on the board with two of my other students. I am very proud of them. I think they have done a good job, a really good job.

Blanchester was considered the worst school in the county when I started there. Now they have the least debt and highest grades of any school in the county!

We took the state money and built the biggest new school on the smallest piece of ground at that time anywhere in the state. It was like 80% paid by state if we followed their rules. We cajoled and negotiatied with them and got it done. We took our tax money and kept our independence.

The saddest thing was burying the old Jefferson Township School. It is just an empty park now no one uses sad to say. So many good students came from that building and saw their memories buried under earth.

Blanchester made me a better person. 17 years of teaching, 12 years of bus driving and 10 years on the school board. I got to hand diplomas to four children. That is a career I am proud of.

The Gibson family and all the other good families around there made it happen.

The skylight was the brainchild of my dear teaching friend Kermit Zimmerman. He taught science and wrestling and I taught Ag and FFA. We learned how to share students to participate in events. Can't get it to upload at them moment.


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