Sep 5, 2011

I have been talking via the phone to a friend I haven't physically seen since  circa 1993. Her name is Glenda and we talk nearly everyday. She contacted me when I was first in the hospital back in December of 2010.  We became friends at Modesto Junior College back in 1989. We both were "older" students, with a similar sense of humor; back then we had husbands who just didn't get us, and we were politically active...especially when the first Gulf war started. I became the President of the campus Environmental Club (much to the dismay of the college president) I maybe was a bit radical and pushy back then, but in my defense I had radical teachers that took me under their wing.

 One such professor was Jim Higgs. He taught English and Critical Thinking, and he was a self proclaimed political instigator. Glenda and I reminisced about the good old days of protesting and Jim's name came up. So when I got off the phone I decided to look him up...maybe he had a facebook page and we could become friends. I am sad to say I did find him on the net but it was his memorial. He died in 2000 from Lou Gehrig Disease. So sad he was a ball of fire when I knew him and opinionated...if you look up opinionated in the dictionary you will see a picture of Jim. Back then he drove me crazy. He was a tough teacher and at the same time we spent hours working on political events together, so we were also friends. He was a terrific person and I am sure he is missed around campus.

After that I decided to check out the MJC faculty site...maybe there were still some of my teachers there. I did find a couple, but the one who got me excited is a professor who used to be a classmate. His name is Optimism really is! Back then I asked him why he chose that name and he told me he read a book that was influential in his life and that name was the in the book. He actually had his name legally changed to Optimism One. I remember he was younger than me and was such a free spirit. Remember, I was an older student...I think around 35 back then so I was a late bloomer to this free spirit stuff, but I knew I wanted to live that then husband wasn't so happy with this new free spirit wife so we divorced in 1990. Anyway, I left an email in Optimism One's faculty email box.
I hope he remembers me and doesn't think I'm some spammer. I sure would like hearing back from him.

Now that I am blogging about that.. I wish I had stayed in school/college longer. I did go onto San Francisco State and have a degree in Social Science...alot a good that did for me. I wish I had continued and got a masters and maybe a PhD. I would have been a great teacher at the college level...there are too many restrictions K thru 12...heaven forbid we teach these kids to think for themselves! I would have been in trouble all the time with the principal. But let me teach at the college level...I would have made Jim proud!

Well, I can't go back and change the past, but I want to live my life to the fullest from now on. I want to be that free spirit that somehow got lost somewhere. I want to make a difference while I'm here. I want to inspire others and help make this place better for future generations. Dang somebody get me a megaphone and a soapbox! For now I better eat dinner.

P.S. I couldn't find a picture of Jim but I did find one of Optimism. It's on a site called "Rate the Professor." I can see by the comments of some of his students that he definitely learned alot from Jim because of the snide comments. It's amazing that students want to be spoon fed an education and can't stand it when the professor wants them to do the work without a whole lot of structure, example; back then including Jim's class, we were given a syllabus at the beginning of the semester; we did not have turn in weekly assignments and were tested only a couple of times which meant it was up to the us to do the work, incuding the reading assigments. That meant the tests were worth more. We were only tested 3 or 4 times a semester so we  better know the material because there were fewer tests to base an average grade. If the student was a slacker he/she would probably fail. The professor was trying to teach students to be self-disciplined (which I think should be taught in high school to prepare them for life, whether they go to college or not)  I think any student of both Jim and Optimism are lucky and probably came out a more self-aware person :)

Eat your fruits & veggies!   xo Inge

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