Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Camouflaging fear and loathing as 'moral values

Timothy M. Gay
Camouflaging fear and loathing as 'moral values
Minneapolis Star Tribune
November 23, 2004 GAY1123

One of my favorite teachers was a wiry little man with thick, horn-rimmed glasses who taught fifth grade. It's been 40 years, but I can still see his crooked grin and hear his voice cracking with excitement.
He made learning fun, constantly getting the class to act out skits to reinforce one lesson or another. His eyes were keen and his heart was big: He always made sure that kids from broken homes or the wrong side of the tracks got starring roles in our productions. He helped implant in me a lifelong love of history. I was out sick with the flu for a couple of days that year; he waited until I returned to resume class readings of a Civil War book that he knew I loved. He was everything a great teacher is supposed to be: unfailingly kind, considerate and dedicated.
He was, also, we learned much later, gay. But because this was the mid-1960s in a small town, he didn't dare live as such -- especially since he doubled as the school's principal. Only in his twilight years did he follow his heart, moving to a city to live as a gay American.