I’ll have to say my interest in history started early.
I couldn’t tell you the first history book I read, but the first biography was one about Robert E. Lee. Mrs. Kindig at the Germantown Library thought a nice southern boy like me should know about the Confederate General, and was frankly quite surprised and a tad disgusted that my dad hadn’t indoctrinated me with the great man’s history.
Born in an historic home – the only home Stonewall Jackson ever owned – in a most historic town – Lexington, Virginia – I had no choice but to have an interest in the past.
Through the years that interest has increased; often times at the influence of others.
I became enamored with the British Monarchy in the fourth grade much to the concern of my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Gingerich, and by the time I was nine had memorized the names of the kings and queens of England and the years they reigned starting with Athelred back in 1014, and running all the way to Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Ok, so I was an odd kid.
At 12, when I read Winston Churchill’s History of the English Speaking Peoples, all 2000 pages, and the fat Prime Minister became my new hero, Mr. Fancher, our 6th grade teacher thought I was the oddest child he’d ever met, but he did nothing to discourage me from reading and was glad I kept learning.
In the 7th grade, it was Bill Longman who sparked an interest in Ohio History, and if not for that man, there’s much I’d not know. He made the French and Indian War come to life and the Industrial Revolution in Ohio make sense.
Then it was High School where I met Skinny Bobby and ever thing I ever thought about world history changed!
Of course we never called him Skinny Bobby to his face, but I’m sure he knew. And skinny he was! Really skinny!
Skinny Bobby with Dwight, and Mel
But he was an awesome history teacher! World History took on a new meaning made sense in his classroom.
Of course American History was already a favorite, and Mr. Coghill did nothing to hamper that.
As I travel back to Germantown and my 45th HS reunion, I’m glad these teachers came into my life, and I’m grateful for their influence.
They inspired me to learn, they made history fun, and they made me better.
We should all do that, strive to make things better.