"Grieve not, nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you there." ~ Isla Paschal Richardson
Today was a very hard day for my High School and the Alums. A man who had been there since 1972, taught so many students and remembered EVERYONES name died today. (Example: my mom had him in the 70s and he would say "Hi Gloria" to her everytime he ran into her a the grocery store..seriously!) His name was Mr. Sauer and he was fabulous. He was no ordinary teacher. He taught in a way that got the kids excited about learning. He taught through music, movies, questions and life.
He loved music. The best classes that we had involved Carlos Santana, Pink Floyd and Grateful Dead. Yes. He even took his best students to concerts and music events. (I was included in a couple.)
Man. I don't even know what to think right now. This teacher changed my life. I was always very insecure about the fact that I was depressed and he made it seem like I overcame something, which in all reality, I did. When I was 15 years old I got up in front of my Psychology class and talked about my depression. After this class a dumbfounded teacher who had no idea I had this secret came up to me and asked me if I would be willing to talk to more classes of his. This went on for 5 years. I became proud of the fact that I was helping people through his classes.
This teacher, Jim Sauer, changed a lot of people's lives. He made students feel like they mattered. He retired in 2009 and I was expecting many years of gardening, teaching at the college level and running into him at Country Kitchen. That wasn't the case.
This morning he died. He left behind his amazing family, all of which I went to school with. I remember his youngest daughter (who is still in high school now) erasing her dad's chalkboards during parent teacher conferences. My heart goes out to her. Losing someone so suddenly hits me way too close. I guess what I am trying to say is...
Dang Mr. Sauer. You made such a huge difference in everyone's lives. I wish I could have said goodbye, but I honestly thought you would pull through this and I would see you at UW-L next year teaching a random class. You made a huge difference in my life and by the looks of all the Facebook Statuses, others too. See you on the other side man... I hope you are having some coffee up in heaven with Richard Wright, Johnny Cash and some of the Grateful Dead members.