Today I received a phone call that made me flash back to 1982. I was in the sixth grade. I had a new history teacher named Jack Black. Mr. Black was a unique man. I can’t remember him all that well, but I think he was a first year teacher that year. He was very tall, with dark wavy hair. Most of the kids made fun of him. He was a loner type, which made the mocking even more intense.
I happened to get along with him just fine. And so did my dad. As a matter of fact, my dad invited him over for dinner one evening. Although I don’t remember many things about Mr. Black, I do remember that he requested that we serve Strawberry Quick with dinner for him. I have no idea why I remember this so vividly, but I do. My mom made spaghetti that night and I remember thinking that strawberry milk and spaghetti wouldn’t taste very good together. But Mr. Black seemed to enjoy it.
My other memory of him was that he would call me his star student and I remember my dad taking me over to Mr. Black’s apartment for a visit one time. He lived above the Homer Post Office.
Now back to today and the phone call.
I received a call that made me speechless. It was from Mr. Black’s attorney. Mr. Black had passed away two weeks ago and he left me a gift in his will (no, I am not getting a bunch of money, if that is what you are thinking). Now I haven’t talked to Mr. Black for at least 20 years, so you can imagine my shock to hear this news. His closest relative is a cousin who is 75 and in a nursing home. He never married and had no children. And he was still living above the Homer Post Office when he passed away. He was only 54 years old.
I only share this story because there is a lesson to be learned here. The way you treat people and the way you make them feel is something they will never forget. (And I’m not trying to say you should be nice to people so they will remember you in their will) You never know what acts of kindness can do for someone. All we did was have him over for dinner, but I guess that must not have happened to him too often.
I only wish I would have known he was sick or even that he had died.
Rest in peace, Mr. Black.