Monday, January 10, 2005

I'm O.K. Your O.K.

When I was in the 4th-6th grade, I belonged to a group of eight kids. We were called the T.A. Kids, which stood for Transactional analysis. I think back on things that made a real impact on me or changed my life forever. A wonderful man named Dr. James (Jim) Cleary headed it up, from what I remember they tested our entire class in the fourth grade and me and 7 others scored the highest on the test. We were then brought into a classroom, and for three years. I felt special, and appreciated like I can't explain. He brought out in each one of us our talents, the things that made us US. We the eight of us, along with Dr. Cleary went on wonderful trips of imgaination and real learning. My specialties were Art, and History. With Drama and Creative Writing thrown in. I grew up in a very small farm town in South Georgia, so imagine my eyes when we would go to Atlanta in the camper to the High Musuem, or to a Shakespere play. We took many trips. I remember going to "Andersonville", one of my favorite trips. He had us each with special people when we would go. I got to read from an old journal of prisoner of war at Andersonville. I remember a rocket scientist even coming to speak with us. But I remember he was way over my head. Those three years were magical to me. I wish it had lasted. The eight of us were very tight. Best of friends from 4-6th grade. Then the 7th grade came, and Dr. Cleary stayed at our old school. And we were left to ourselves to start the 7th grade. Many changes that year. I didn't feel as special. The eight of us were still close but not like we had been. We were all growing apart in different ways. Not sure why I'm thinking about this today. But guess it's on my mind. The T.A. Kids also had a newspaper we would publish for the entire school each week. I was in charge of the art, and music sections. Usually I would make some cartoon illustration. I wish I had a copy of just one of our old papers. We would each also have to write an article about something going on in the world. One of my favorite comics back then was Charles Schulz, "Peanuts". Marcie was always my favorite, I think I identified with her the most. I remember the old cartoon where Marcie gives her teacher some flowers. Not to be outdone, Peppermint Patty says to the teacher. "I thought about doing the same thing Ma'am but I never got around to it. Could you use a vase of good intentions?"

Maybe this is one thing I’m thinking of, Dr. Cleary is gone now, I got cancer and died when we were all in high school. I never really got a chance to tell him how much he changed my life or thank him. We've all had intentions of doing something good but then failed to follow through. We may want to make a phone call to check up on a friend, or visit a sick neighbor, or write a note of encouragement to a loved one. But we don't take the time. I used to visit Dr. Cleary every once and a while. He was still my confidant, and I could tell him anything. But I never said thanks, not that I can remember. But anyway thanks Dr. Cleary, thanks for changing my life and opening my world up to a new way of thinking, one that told me I'm ok and you are too! One where warm fuzzies were welcome and cold pricklies were sent packing.

"Good intentions are no good until they are put into action."


barbpinion said...

He might be gone, Derek, but this entry introduced your readers to the wonderful man he was. Thanks!!  Hugs. *Barb*

musenla said...

In our lives there usually comes someone who makes a lifelong impact;  Dr. Cleary seems to be that person for you.  Wonderful memories, great learning experiences; I'm glad you had them.

deabvt said...

Dr. Cleary sds like a good man.

gbgoglo said...

He knew, Derek.  He knew.  Neat entry - thank you for sharing it.  Hugs, gloria