Congratulations to Heather! I'm so excited to celebrate the RITA nomination for The Clearing this week with another post about inspiring elders (and another chance to with the fabulous farmhouse prize pack Heather is giving away).
When I was in graduate school (studying Historic Preservation at Columbia University) one of our first year required classes as called Basic Principles of Traditional Construction. We studied things like brick recipes, house framing, and roofing techniques. The professor was a distinguished old (like 85-years-old old) Czech-born architect named Jan Pokorny. He wore a blazer and a bow tie every day and always showed up early for class.
I really enjoyed that class because I love learning how things are built. I loved learning about the different kinds of siding used in Colonial housing and how to make different colored bricks by adding certain things to the recipe. The class also happened to be right after lunchtime, so I often got there early to eat lunch in my seat before the other students started showing up.
One day, Jan came in and started making notes on the board. Feeling a little awkward, I tried to make some small talk and asked him about being Moravian. When he saw that I knew what Moravia was, his eyes lit up. He asked if I was Moravian. I told him no, but that we had close family friends who were.
From that moment on I was his favorite student (well, it did help that I scored highest on the midterm test). He eventually made me T.A. for the class and was the faculty sponsor of our class trip to Prague before graduation.
Jan is no longer with us, but I can still picture his smiling round face, his quirky bow ties, and the neat and precise architectural drawings he used to make on the board. At 85 he still swam laps every day, still taught every semester, still designed and sat on committees and made a significant contribution to the world of historic preservation and the world in general. I am inspired to be as active as possible for as long as possible.
Okay, to enter today, comment with a favorite or inspiring teacher and why. Be sure to comment on all the other posts this week for more entries and check back on Sunday to find out if you've won!