Students teach teachers, too

Lynn Moncus

On May 28, some 75 people gathered for a Forrest Community Reunion in the Forrest Firehouse. Such reunions are special occasions for those who are still members of the community as well as for those who have lived there in the past. Friends and relatives just enjoy several hours of visiting about the past and catching up with the present.

I am privileged to attend because I began my teaching career there in the fall of 1955 and could have had no better “teachers” than those lively students from the Forrest area. They taught me just how much I didn’t know as a new college graduate and just how much I needed to learn in the event I chose to continue in the profession.

Five of those students were at the reunion and were kind enough to spend some time with that beginner. They included Jerry Caton, Sandra Beevers Bates, Kay Conklin Hagler, Norris “Sonny” Conklin and Danny Mitchell. We exchanged a number of memories and spent much of the time laughing. I was more than a little overwhelmed as I did my simple arithmetic and figured that we are all now in our 70s. Of course, I was seeing those young kids of so long ago and was feeling the return of some of my youthful dreams as a teacher. I wanted to tell each of them how very proud I am of them but knew I would become too emotional and would embarrass all of us. I have a feeling they know anyway.

Much to my amazement, Mrs. Mary Sours, who chairs the committee in charge of the reunion, called on me to speak after our meal. Perhaps that was better than my having to worry about what to say, but I felt that I was stumbling around trying to come up with the right words for such an occasion. Because I knew most of the people there, I could speak as one country person to another because we had all eaten that same grit throughout our lives. As I mentioned, we are almost as close as family members because we have been neighbors for years. After all, I began life just down the road at Ima and have known people from Forrest for as long as I can remember.

We surely owe Mary Sours and her committee a major vote of thanks for organizing the reunion, sending out the invitations, and seeing that all of us had a wonderful time for those few hours together. We need to attend reunions whenever we have the opportunity because we have the chance to visit with old friends and to make new friends as the younger generations introduce themselves.

As I think I mentioned in that little talk, I never did learn any more about algebra, but I believe I learned a little more about English during the 34 years I tried to teach it. I still owe the Forrest community a debt of gratitude for allowing me to begin a career I so enjoyed. I could have begun in no better place!

Lynn Moncus is a Tucumcari resident and can be contacted through the Quay County Sun at 575-461-1952.