Mr. Johnson was nothing like Mr. Bradley, my GT and Algebra teacher at Kennedy Junior High. We loved Mr. Bradley. He was in charge of the computer lab. He taught GT Math, which turned out to be computer programming. He was also the advisor for the Computer Club, which met on Wednesday after school each week.
On Atari 400 and 800 computers, Mr. Bradley taught us BASIC programming. We made the computers compute the date of Easter when given a year. We made the computers flash colors on the screen. We made the computers say the phrase, “Hello World!” over and over, filling the screen.
Mr. Bradley helped us remember the rules of Algebra with mispronunciations of phrases. “Plusk or Minusk” is the only phrase of his that I still remember, but there were many little phrases to help us remember the rules of Algebra. He was creative and entertaining in what could be considered an incredibly boring class.
Mr. Johnson was nothing like Mr. Bradley.
Mr. Johnson was nothing like Mr. Godfrey, my beloved English GT teacher at Kennedy Junior High. We loved Mr. Godfrey. He was the trickster and the sage. He was Pan and Zeus. He was The Green Man and The Shaman. The image of his curly red hair and signature cane are burned into my memory with the fires of love and respect.
I’ve told you about Mr. Godfrey before, but I’ve yet to tell my favorite Mr. Godfrey story. In conservative Utah, any teacher who even suggests that there might not be a God is considered a radical. Looking at his actions now, Mr. Godfrey wasn’t all that radical, but to us, he was the epitome of thumbing one’s nose at authority. I had lost religion in seventh grade, so by the time I was in Godfrey’s class, I was eager to hear what this guy had to say. The rumors had been so great.
Matt Strebe, the tall geek, had an Evil Stepfather named Bud. Despite his Evil status, Bud considered himself a religious man. When he heard what Mr. Godfrey had been teaching to his stepson, Bud decided to come in and give Mr. Godfrey a piece of his mind. Instead of calmly talking to the teacher during Parent-Teacher Conferences, Bud had a much more Evil plot in mind. Much to Matt’s embarrassment, Bud came barging into Mr. Godfrey’s classroom during Matt’s class.
“I have a bone to pick with you!” Bud bellowed out to Mr. Godfrey. At that moment, the cover for the fluorescent lighting above Bud’s head fell from the ceiling. It crashed right in front of Bud, shattering into a million pieces. For the first time in Matt’s life, Bud was silenced. Mr. Godfrey calmly looked up from his book and said, “Let that be a lesson to you.” Bud left without picking any bones.
Mr. Johnson was nothing like Mr. Godfrey.