It’s coming up on 8 years since Ann and I retired after teaching a total of 70 years at Tomah High School. Eight good years, with travel, grandkids, church work, pinochle club. Hobbies of jogging, bicycling, flying RC planes (when I don’t wreck them), crossword puzzles.
We have four books out there, three science books and a memoir book of growing up on a farm in Crawford County in southwestern Wisconsin, attending a one-room country school, Seneca Seasons: A Farm Boy Remembers.
The Seneca Seasons book is what they call a niche book, of most interest to those who lived and grew up in the time frame of the 1940s and 1950s. We go out and do a lot of book talks concerning the book and that era, a PowerPoint of about 300 slides, stories of the farm, school, Church, and family. Some of the slides are the 51 sketches by artist Fred Weiner.
Folks often come up to us after our talk and say things like “I remember things just like the way you described.” Many of them attended a one-room country school, some taught in such a school. That makes sense because if you lived in rural Wisconsin in that time period, you would have many shared memories. We’ve presented Seneca Seasons talks to many libraries, senior centers, Sons of Norway, and church groups.
With a background in science teaching, we do about 25 programs a year for schools, Museums, Boys and Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts. These are gee whiz, high interest, kid participation, Mr. Wizard type, demonstrations with brief explanations of the principles involved. We’ve done these programs for groups as few as 10 and as many as 600.
The current physics teacher at Tomah High School is Oakley Moser, a former student of mine. He is very good at his job, a Kohl Award recipient, and science department chair. We do programs together at the Deke Slayton Museum, the Parenting Club at Winnebago Park, and our latest venture, a monthly 5-minute Science Lab television program for LYNXX-24.
We have another venture. Ann and I traveled through Israel in October of last year, 2017. It was a marvelous trip through the Holy Land, and we put together a PowerPoint of that trip that we’ve presented to Church groups in our area. It has been well received and no rocks have been thrown at us!
Jerusalem, the Old City, Via Dolorosa (Stations of the Cross) Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, tomb of David, the Western Wall, Bethlehem, Nazareth, the Dead Sea, Megiddo, Masada, Sea of Galilee, Church of the Annunciation, Capernaum, Mount of Beatitudes, Sea of Galilee, Haifa, and Tel Aviv. We discuss the political situation, the West Bank, and the views of three major religions.
Retirement has been very rewarding for us thus far. Health is everything and we been blessed with good health (knock on wood). We continue to write a weekly science column for The Tomah Journal newspaper, a monthly account of Knights of Columbus, and periodic pieces for The Country Today agricultural newspaper, The Catholic Life magazine, Monroe County Herald, and a number of monthlies.