During my growing up years here in the Tomball area, I was privileged to be under many fine educators. I was always the class angel and all of my teachers had been told time and time again by my parents and all of our adult family friends how calm I was and how I never caused anybody any trouble. I was simply a sweet, little, timid boy who never caused trouble, never played practical jokes on anybody and never got into any trouble at all. (Precious Lord, I ask you to forgive me right now for lying……).
In time I will share many stories of happiness and sadness about my teachers, but for this article, I wish to relate a story about the oldest teacher I knew, Mr. Herbert Buescher. Now don't misunderstand me when I say he was the oldest teacher I knew. It's no disrespect to a fine man, it's simply fact! Mr. Buescher did turn one century old before he left this earth. Yes, that’s a one with two zeros behind it!
I have a memory of Mr. Buescher I will never forget and a respect for his stern, tender education he provided me. I really cannot remember a particular lesson in the classroom, but I do remember a lesson of life he taught me while on the playground at Tomball Lutheran School.
During the late fifties and early sixties we participated in a program called recess. I don't know if recess is still called recess today, or if it's some politically correct statement like "opportunity to participate in social activities" or "social skill development," but for us it was recess.
I was always a well behaved young man. I was always orderly and never disruptive in class. During recess I was always the quiet child sitting on the side of the playground under the shade tree, studying my English or math. (If you believe this please call me, I have a bridge in the desert for sale!)
One day during recess, teacher Buescher had gathered all of us little crumb crunchers around him, as he was attempting to put some order to the chaos of our softball game. He was standing in the middle of our group and I was holding the softball. For no reason whatsoever, I threw the ball straight into the air while standing in the middle of this crowd, not thinking of the fact what goes up, must come down! Well, it came down all right! It came down on the side of the head of teacher Buescher.
The ball grazed the side of his head and knocked his glasses lopsided. My initial reaction was to laugh at the humorous way teacher Buescher looked when his glasses were sitting on the end of his nose and crooked across his eyes, but my laughter immediately turned to one of those childhood fears of "Uh Oh, I messed up and I'm in big trouble!"
I froze in my spot expecting teacher Buescher to soon advance toward me and take me to the woodshed, but he didn't.
Teacher Buescher simply turned toward me with a long silent, stern stare. He pointed his index finger at me and, even though he was standing several feet away, I felt as if his finger was reaching into my very soul. The power of his stare and the strength of his pointed finger struck a fear in me only felt before when my dad would give me a spanking! I was cooked! I was a goner I thought!
Through the glasses on the end of his nose and the sternness in his voice, teacher Buescher had to speak only once.
He pointed and said, "Don't you ever do that to anyone again!"
The impact of his words brought embarrassment to my being. His voice and the correction in front of my many friends on the playground did more to grab my attention than any spanking could have ever accomplished. His words have been with me all my life. He didn't get mad, he didn't scream, he didn't lose his self control. He simply accomplished, with his words, a lesson learned and remembered for all my life and to this day I have never thrown another ball randomly into the air.