Sunday, January 8, 2012

Herr Bruderer

"Get him talking," was the whispered advice in our German class. Everybody knew Herr Bruderer would forget to give the promised test if we asked a question about his beloved Switzerland, and let him ramble. When he put his feet on his desk, leaned back with his arms behind his bald head and started reminiscing we all relaxed. Grammar and word order issues were set aside in favor of culture and history. We played right into his hands—it was on those days we learned the most.

I caught his enthusiasm and passion for different lands and I wanted to experience it for myself, although I wasn't sure what it was. I recognized it when I got there.

Colmar, France

It's a feel, an aura: cobblestone paths, unsalted butter, the fragrance of cheese in tiny shops. Buildings built before Columbus, restaurants owned by one family for hundreds of years,
folklored fabrics on carved wooden chairs, flounced light fixtures, embellished gables, dripping umbrellas in painted stands, fur-trimmed baby buggies: this is European art in its natural setting.

Salzburg Festung

Sitting in Herr Bruderer's class at Olympus High, I fell in love with Europe as he talked. A student teacher showed slides from a semester abroad in Salzburg, Austria. I asked her for details, wanting to go, too. "Set a goal," Herr Bruderer said. "Start saving." I did.

If you'd asked me last night if Herr Bruderer was still alive, I wouldn't have known. This morning I saw his obituary and I can't stop thinking about the impact he had me. Everything in my life is because of him.

(To be continued . . . )


Diane said...

My high school swim coach had much the same effect in my life. He's local now, so I'm going to look him up this week- I don't want to find him in the obits before I have the proper chance to say thank you.

VickiC said...

I majored in psych, but memories of a wonderful 6th grade teacher drew me to the idea of teaching. Eventually that was the route I took. One of the best decisions I ever made. I rarely had a day that wasn't filled with fun and creative endeavors. Thanks, Mrs. McHenry.

Christie said...

Who knew that he was the one who got you to go on a trip that changed your whole life, and mine, too? That is one influential decision there.

Nancy said...

Every story I write,every comma or apostrophe I insert,every word I look up in the dictionary takes me back to the 10th grade at Prospect Park High School and Mr. John Thompson.

He was my English teacher that year and he influenced the direction my life would take in the reading and writing department.

I am now 83 years old and he still stands behind me when I am writing. He corrects me and often suggests a different,more carefully chosen word to use.

He gave me lists of authors to read and that started me on a lifetime of always having my nose in a book, learning something new and interesting every day.

I know he is long gone and I never had the opportunity to thank him properly so I will do it right now.

Thank you,Sir...

The Grandmother Here said...

Do students today call their teacher "Sir" I wonder? Respect is a very good thing.

nicole b said...

Hi Marty, My friend and neighbor Sherrie Kasteler referred me to your blog and this post specifically. Herr Bruderer is my father-in-law and my husband and I were so touched by your sweet post about him.

Herr Bruderer's daughters went to Olympus also, and I'm wondering if one of them may have graduated with your or if you had known them. What's your maiden name? Carol graduated in 67 and Bonnie graduated in 69. I'll be showing the rest of the family this post tomorrow.

Anyway, it's such a small world, and I'm really grateful for the chance to read about your experience with him. I also spent another half hour reading your love story! Wow, it's a great story.

I happen to be married to the youngest of Herr Bruderer's kids, who is 20+ years younger than the older kids. With a generation gap within the family, we sometimes have missed out on some of these stories and things, so again, I can't thank you for sharing it.

Nicole Bruderer

PS I noticed as I read your site that you are Marta's mom--I don't know her but I love reading her blog. I thought you looked familiar and it clicked when I saw your children listed in the sidebar. Writing runs in the family!