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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Friday, March 2 2001

More teachers remembered (fourth in a series on our teachers)

Thanks for several who wrote to fill in the gaps in my grey matter yesterday. Wayne Gay, a classmate, reminded me that the forgotten coach before John McKivigan was "Bucky" Fulmer, under whose leadership, Wayne reports, "We had an untied, un-scored-on season, I believe." No wonder he moved on! I still haven't heard who the Latin and Spanish teacher or teachers was or were, though Valery Ellis Marana remembers that Edith Parrish taught Latin some time later. Our freshman Latin teacher may even have been the principal, Elmer Smith (about whom, more later).

I'm finding this series more rewarding than I'd expected. And I've also discovered that some of the teachers whom I "failed" in my review some years back rate more good points than I'd remembered, now that I'm trying to give each one at least one positive recollection.

Continuing...The most popular faculty member at our time at Blacklick Township High School and, in my general impression the whole history of the school, was Webster Mahan, the history "prof." Like Miss Parrish, he had good discipline in his classrooms, but he was more easy-going and, generally, the most fun to sit under. He peppered his talk with Tennessee Ernie Ford-isms like "pea-pickers." Mr. Mahan seemed to respect and like all of his students, which seemed to me a sometimes difficult task. There was a required history course every year of high school, and he taught other social studies courses like geography. I remember especially him assigning us the task of drawing sketches of our dream houses and, I believe, our dream car (which every boy was always working on anyway). My house had a bowling alley under the huge garage...my house was probably in fact Jay Leno's house.

The next faculty member in importance, because everyone had to have him for some classes (and his courses were not rehashes of stuff we'd already covered in junior high), was our science teacher, John McCann, who came to BTHS either before the end of our first year, or the beginning of the second year. Don Ellis reports, via Valery, that at least Mr. McCann substitute-taught in our science department the first year. Mr. McCann was a fairly easy-going man, older compared with most of the faculty, with a ruddy complexion and a bulbous nose. He started holding science fairs that got his department and the school some wide recognition. He had been in industry in Johnstown for some years before turning to teaching; I remember that he was an expert on electroplating.

The music teacher, already mentioned in passing, was Mrs. Rhea Taylor, whose parents (McAnultys?) were Nanty Glo pioneers* and whose husband, the late John Taylor, was the solicitor for both Nanty Glo and Blacklick Township (solicitor is the "lawyer" for the public or governmental entity, one of whose jobs is keeping the elected officials law-abiding...but I digress). Mrs. Taylor's duties encompassed the whole school district, not only high school, though most of the effort was concentrated there. She taught us songs and how to sing in music classes, and tutored all of the band members in weekly one-to-one or small-group sessions. She had a keen sense of humor and loved to laugh and tell and hear jokes. Her talents seemed endless, as was her productivity, with an annual spring band concert, a variety show giving anyone in the whole district who wanted one a part, monthly PTA entertainments and Big Bend School assemblies, the annual May Day festival, and more. "More" included both junior and senior bands marching in every Twin Rocks and Belsano parade and the senior band before every home football game during the season, travelling to the away games and performing at the half-times. The township's parent associations were always honoring her with flower bouquets, and now (I think for the first time!) I really appreciate why! Among other things I loved her for her dream of making me a star...one week when I arrived for my band tutorial she said she and John had been discussing me in bed the previous night, her wondering how she could get me on the Ed Sullivan Show! It was a silly but yet half-serious suggestion. She and I co-produced the all-district variety shows in my junior and senior years, and she often used me as a singing soloist or master of ceremonies at events and asssemblies. (Click here for a photo of "Mrs. T.")

More tomorrow.

*Mr. Mahan's family and the family of Paul Adams, discussed earlier in this series, were among the earliest settlers of Blacklick Township.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Rim shots

  • I'm so depressed... I went to the doctor today and he refused to write me a prescription for Viagra. Said it would be like putting a new flagpole on a condemned building.
  • A neighbor was bit by a stray rabid dog. I went to see how he was and found him writing furiously. I told him rabies can be cured and he didn't have to worry about a will. He said, "Will, what will? I'm making a list of people I'm gonna bite."

Sent by Mike Harrison

Lenten prayer

"O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, faint-heartedness, lust of power, and idle talk."

Ephrem the Syrian, a fourth-century hermit

Sent by Frederica Mathewes-Green
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