Thursday, June 22, 2017

Mr. Wendell

In 1985 Steve and I were living in New Hampshire. We had jobs but not careers. Steve's parents had come for a visit, and we were talking about the future. It was a stressful, stomach-churning conversation because we were talking about change, about what we were going to do with the rest of our lives. I had more or less decided I wanted to teach high school English, but Steve just wasn't sure what he wanted to do, and that was causing a lot of turmoil all the way around. However, a few months later, we had taken a leap of faith and moved to Fredonia where we were both enrolled education classes. When Ben surprised us a year later, my plans changed gears a bit, but Steve soldiered on. He worked at the college library and did some substitute teaching to make ends meet as he finished his student teaching, got his master's degree, and landed a job at Silver Creek Elementary School. Every school day since the fall of 1988, he's been packing a lunch, grabbing his school bag, and making the drive to Silver Creek. Over the past twenty-nine years, he's had triumphant days, I-can't-do-this-job-for-one-more-minute days, and lots of regular old teaching days. But even on the worst days, he stuck with it, never giving in, never giving up. He made not just a living as a teacher, he made a life for himself and our family, and he's touched the lives of hundreds of students, including this year's valedictorian at Silver Creek. Well, two hours ago Steve left for his last day of teaching; today is his final day with his final class. At morning's end, he'll wave the students off to the busses for the last time. Teachers stay the rest of today and have to report tomorrow as well, but then he'll be done. Forever. Once he catches his breath, I'm counting on him to start staking our claim in the new territory of retirement. But for now, I want to say this: Well done, Mr. Wendell!


  1. Oh Mindy, This was wonderful. Please tell Steve congratulations for us. They say that the most used app for teachers is the one for count down days. :) Praying for your new adventures. I have decided that every life change takes a lot of faith in God, except now we have a memory book of how he answered and took care of us before. God is so good. I was sad not to come and meet the ladies, but Dana and I would love to come for a drive and meet you both this summer. Just from your writings and from what the kids tell me, I know we will be kindred spirits. :)

  2. Thanks so much, Monica! I'll pass along your congratulations to Steve. Change is hard for me, but I just love your words about having a memory book of God's faithfulness in the past. I think that the fact you used the phrase "kindred spirits" is proof that we are indeed kindred spirits! Looking forward to meeting you and Dana in person soon!