Well, I’ve returned from my travel back in time. And to answer my self-imposed question from my previous post, it’s Mr. Newland. Last week I went back to my old grade school to speak with the students and help kick off a Kim & Jason FUNdraising campaign. I knew that some of my former teachers were still there, and I wondered if I should call my 7th grade teacher Jim, or Mr. Newland. It ended up not being much of a debate, as the moment we shook hands, “Mr. Newland” was the only response I was able to muster. I don’t know if it was the excitement of going home, the nasty cold weather, or the meeting of 500 kids in 3 days, but I returned home with a nasty head cold that has prevented me from doing much since my return besides maintaining a horizontal position, hacking up things, and complaining to Kim. Since the meds have kicked in, I figured I’d better take this time to put down a few thoughts before I slip into another cold sweat coma. So, yes, the trip was fun and exciting and exhausting, and weird. I did feel very much like a giant, and the gym had been repainted, but the cool Cougar painting still hung proudly on the gym wall. There were some new smells combined with familiar ones, but I really wish I had more time to explore the ins and outs of the school. Most of my junior high teachers were still there, including Mr. Newland, Mr. Loebach, and Mrs. Weberski. Of course everybody is a little older, but their mannerisms and personalities are exactly the same. They were (and are) some great teachers. It amazes me how they can do so much with so little. It was really cool to meet with the three of them and talk about the old days. Mr. Loebach, the science teacher, blew me away when he pulled out a drawing I had done of him as a mad scientist way back in sixth grade. Not only was I shocked that he still has it, but he says he puts it up in his room at the beginning of every year. I’m happy to report that I am a much better artist now. Ironically enough, the other teacher that was still there was my kindergarten teacher, Miss Boubon (she is now Mrs. Smith). For some reason, when I was five, I threw in a “d” at the end and called her Miss Boubond. Amazingly, she doesn’t look any older at all. And I can’t say which was weirder, me telling the kids that she used to be my kindergarten teacher, or her realizing that I used to be her student. To add a final layer of irony to my little story of returning home, the fundraising chairperson took me out to lunch to the Igloo, a local dive still serving up some of the best pork tenderloins anywhere. And our waitress was none other than my first crush, Nickie. Weird, weird, weird. So, those were some highlights. At least the ones my medicine will let me remember. It was a very interesting experience that brought back a lot of long-forgotten memories, but I’m glad to be back in the present. A trip like this helps me to appreciate how good I had it, but also encourages me to see how far I’ve come. And it cements the fact that Mr. Newland will always be Mr. Newland.