A Teacher's Karmic Legacy

  • If you’ve been very lucky in life, you’ve had one very special teacher who changed your life.  I was fortunate enough to have that person in my life, and to his embarrassment I’m going to name him:  Pete Silva was my high school drama and English teacher…well, let’s just say many, many years ago.  I come from a soul-sucking small community where the unspoken theme is “Get good grades, go to college, then come back here, because you’ll never make it in the outside world.”  I had bigger dreams, but all my parents expected of me was that I’d learn to type well (ok, that worked out) and take shorthand, then get a “good job” at the local government center typing and filing for someone smart.  I hated that limitation. 


    Pete breezed into town at the ripe old age of 24 and immediately was surrounded with the few kids like me who were voraciously hungry for more:  more culture, more books, more opportunities, more people, more diversity, ad infinitum.  I’ll never forget the first day of…I think it was English class…when he sauntered in, stared around the room until everyone was silent, then announced, “As of right now, everyone has an A.  Prove me wrong.”  When someone else has that kind of confidence in you, all you want to do is live up to their expectations. 


    Pete retired a few years ago and we, his former students, threw him a retirement party.  Every one of us had a different story about how he’d changed our lives and how we thought about ourselves in relation to the rest of the world.  Typically, he snorted in derision every time we praised him, but we had to share with everyone the good he had done for all those years. 


    Pete, your curmudgeon act is very transparent.  You’re one of the good guys who has spent a lifetime creating good Karma.  Your legacy will continue through us, your former students.  Stay grouchy and never change who you are.


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