By Jim Magdefrau
Friends, Romans, countrymen. Lend me your ears. I cometo bury Caesar, not to praise him.
These words have been running through my head for weeks as isolation has led me to a newfound interest in Roman history. Trust me. It’s weird. People were hired to pluck armpit hairs back then.
Not weird is that line from “Julius Caesar.” In the old days, we were required to memorize and then give that speech in English class. Teaching that class was Miss K, or Sharon Kersenbrock. We had to stand up in class and give that speech. It’s not something we were used to. But she instilled that in us, and it’s one of those skills that carried a lot of us into college years.
It was just last week we heard the news that she had passed.
Encouragement is the word that describes her. Especially for this shy, skinny kid from back then who was trying to figure things out. A faithful subscriber to our paper and my column, she always left a kind note with her subscription renewal. Still encouraging.
She talked me into the school play, “Harvey.” I was the cab driver. I was allowed to swear. But not for the kids’ matinee.
When going into college, I took an exam at the start that put me into a different level. I was asked if the test seemed easy. Well, nothing is easy. But soon I was soon reading and writing about Marx, the existence of God and other fun topics. Thanks Miss K.
Even in my 60s, those memories come back. They guide me.
Even our math teacher, Don Anderson, seemed to know when we were studying “Julius Caesar.” He recited a variation on the famous line, “Friends, Romans, country men, lend me your ears. I have come not to praise but to seize your berry.”
Thanks DA. And again. Thanks Miss K.