Ed

Ed

More than once I got the question if he was my brother.   Not that I ever saw the resemblance.   Perhaps it was the blonde hair.   Could have been the pudgy physique.   Maybe it was the attitude. He was “Ed”.  At least I called him Ed.   Never seemed to mind I addressed him in the first person familiar.  It was the 70s and there was some loosening of the rigid hierarchical structure of high school, but not that much.   Officially he was Mr. Baumgartner.   Closest I ever saw any of my cohort get to informal address was ‘Mr B’.   Not me.  To me he was Ed. I had a bit of a problem with authority figures, a condition that has abated little over the years.   Other teachers demanded formal address, but I suspect Mr. Baumgartner knew he’d lose me by requiring such a stiff barrier between us.    So to keep the communication lines open,  he never flinched at my calling him Ed.   Never let it be about him.   Good man. What he did with a whole school district I experienced in 1979. It didn’t take much to understand that more than a few teachers at Palisades were generic functionaries.   The nightmare ones directed their energy towards their abhorrence of teens.  Others were perhaps once enthusiastic teachers, but years inside the system ground them down to where they longingly looked at the calendar in anticipation of retirement.   Hence ridding themselves the responsibility of supervising these out of control hormone monsters. Then there were the young hip teachers.   The ones desperately trying to be our friends.   These were fun people but suboptimal...