I felt like I was back home. 39 years ago (Tuesday Feb. 22, 1977) I had been married for about half a year. My sweetheart and I had set up housekeeping in a 10’X16′ ice house. That crazy girl was driving six times a week to Shepherd College (now university.) I was in my 1st year of teaching at John J. Cownwell Elementary. My principal was Stephen Keener. I was privileged to teach with an incredible and supportive staff including Linda Conway, Sandee Adrian, Linda Larson, Aurey Saville, and Petey Nixon.
Our president was Jimmy Carter, and the #1 song on the rock charts was “New Kid In Town“ by the Eagles.
I asked the students how they knew about Hampshire County’s National Teacher of the Year, Rae Ellen Scanlon McKee. Did they know that Pres. Bush landed in Slanesville to make it official. Did they know that she attended the predecessor of John J. Cornwell school. Did they know that her daddy, Edgar Scanlon was the 1st principal of John J. Cornwell (I think.)
I had so many wonderful memories of teaching in this beautiful community. All the old stores– Haines, Burkett’s, Levels– they’re gone. But the ridges, the orchards, the fields were as beautiful as I remember them. Many of the wonderful folks I remember have gone on to glory.
Anyway, back to the present, Rob Coleman, 3rd grade teacher at John J. Cornwell Elementary, invited me to bring my bug show to his school. Maybe 50 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students gathered in the classroom where I began my teaching career. I shared my passion for bugs, and my hopes that the young people will explore the potential for entomophagy. I asked the students to be skeptical of claims I made on behalf of eating bugs. But I also suggested, “Even if some of the claims are true, then shouldn’t we learn more about bugs. Can they help feed a rapidly growing world population? Can it help us protect our world– using its resources more wisely? Can it help us live longer healthier lives.? I like to imagine that one of these students will pioneer research which wil yield important scientific breakthroughs.
I told the students I couldn’t offer them samples. But I told them they could check my webpage to order their own. There are so many and varied insect based products now available.
The teachers were good sports. I doubt the students will remember much of what I shared. But I bet they will remember that their teachers Rob Colebank, Angie Foster, and Stacey McKenzie were eating crickets and mealworms.
How about some rock & roll trivia. What tune featuring bug solos stayed on the chart for 17 weeks in 1967? Tommy James and the Shondells performed it?
I love being retired. I love being able to “goof off” and reminisce at one of my favorite schools. Keep up the good work John J. Cornwell. You have much good history behind you. And… bug appetit!
Answer to rock and roll trivia: I Think We’re Alone Now.” Crickets get to solo breaks around :52 an again around 1:45.