April 10, 2007

Bar Harbor, Part 1

Greetings! I don't know how many posts this will take me, because I am going to take you on a trip or two with me and my grandpa. It started out with Grandpa telling my mom he would like to go out to Bar Harbor, Maine, in August and would Rick like to go. I had just completed my first year of teaching and was trying to decide what to do for the summer. I ended up teaching summer school, so I only had time off in July because summer school was two weeks in both June and August. Grandpa suggested that we could leave in August just after I completed teaching summer school.

We set off for Bar Harbor. This was my first trip out east, but it was Grandpa's 38th or something like that. We had a great time. We talked a great deal and I learned a lot from him about his life and history. He shared his philosophies and I learned a lot about him, Grandma, and the early days of Morgan's Service in Clarkston, Michigan. Grandpa's name was Richard Morgan, but everyone knew him as Dick. As I grew up, though, it always amazed me that people who seemed like "old people" would come into the station and refer to Grandpa as "Mr. Morgan" and Uncle John as "John." The respect that my grandpa received was awesome.

In Bar Harbor, we had a great time. We ate lobster for nearly every meal. We tried a few different lobster stands, but there was one he was fond of. We enjoyed a lot of fresh Maine lobster. During the first trip out, I had a lot on my mind. I had completed my first year of teaching at Vestaburg Middle/High School, but Lansing Waverly had offered me a dream job for a journalism teacher: four classes of journalism and one of English 10. It would be an awesome job, a huge school with a great reputation, and nearly a $5,000 raise. Grandpa and I talked about it at length on the way from Michigan to Maine. He offered thoughts and listened to what I had to say. Basically, I felt that I owed it to Vestaburg to continue what I had started.

I was pushing the English and journalism curriculum and raising expectations for students. This being 1995-95, we had gone to using PageMaker 4.0 to lay the yearbook and newspaper out. Actually, we used two ancient Macintosh computers and one Gateway. The Macs were not much good, as they were old. But they were able to run PageMaker. I had a bootlegged copy of the program for a PC, which we ran on the Gateway (which we had borrowed from a teacher who didn't want to use it in her classroom!)

We were down watching lobstermen bringing lobster in and moving it back out. It was early Friday morning. I called the human resource manager at Waverly and her secretary pulled her out of a meeting. I was pretty sure they were going to offer me the position because I had gone for two pretty intense interviews and felt good about each. But, there is always that sense of doubt ...

"Hello, this is Rick. Your message said to please call on Friday morning. Here I am."

"Rick, we would like to offer you the position."

I still didn't know for sure what I would say. It was a great offer. It would have been better if they had gone with someone else.

Long pause.

"Are you there?"

"Yeah. I'm calling from a wharf in Maine. I found a pay phone." Remember, this was 1996 ... not everyone had cell phones yet.

"Unfortunately, I am going to have to turn the offer down."

Shock. "Really? Are you sure?"

"Yes. After thinking a great deal about it, I realize that I still have work to do at Vestaburg. Thank you for the offer and opportunity, though. I enjoyed the process."

When I got back in the Jeep, Grandpa smiled.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As time went on despite some pain
They traveled to Canada as well as Maine
Talkin' deeper issues, the boy's old enough
Seein' what really matters, even learned how to cuss,
Lookin' up to his very own HERO...


The place now sits without the man inside,
but they all remember what he'd done with pride
Tellin' stories rich, long into the night
And the boy who was a favorite, it keeps his heart light...
Lookin' up to his very own hero.

And a comment: your story is so nice, and so vivid...can't wait for Part 2...