Feminists I Have Loved (Platonically) Part 1

November 24, 2010

I don’t know how much longer I will keep posting on my blog. However, there are stories I always meant to tell and while I am still alive I will maunder on about them to my three or four readers…David, Trucie-woo, Waxing Strange, perhaps Pete, though I don’t know if he is still reading. Mommy? Not many left. Before I get to the first feminist, I will talk about the science fiction high school class we taught.

First, I met with the vice-principal, My Ylvisaker. Later, I learned that Kip referred to him (with genial good humor) as “Mr. Evilseeker.”

I had been laid off from my job as a high school teacher in Seattle. Angry, I vowed to leave the state and we drove to Oregon. I visited Hood River. Fortunately, they didn’t hire me. It is a cold and dangerous place.

Then I visited Tigard, a suburb of Portland. Mr. Ylvisaker told me their alternative education program, Alternative Futures, needed a replacement teacher. It was clear that he had no idea where he would find someone strange enough to fit in with the other two teachers, Kip and Maria. It only took me a few minutes to communicate that I was weird enough.

He said, “We also have a “mass media” program. Can you teach that?’

I didn’t tell him that my wife and I had given up on television, and thought it healthier to raise a child with books instead of the tube. I silently vowed to buy a television set.

Then I met with Kip, an engineer from Tacoma who became a high school math teacher. In those days, engineers made blueprints by hand and pen rather than with CAD programs on computers. Kip not only printed well, like an architect, but Maria and I agreed that when Kip  wrote on the chalkboard, he displayed “happy writing.” Just a few lines on the board cheered up the entire classroom. We never figured out how he did it.

Kip introduced me to his cats. I learned that he and Maria and a journalism teacher had created a program called “Alternative Futures” to prepare young people for a changing future. I later learned that Kip had fallen in love with one of his students, Karen. It is a big no no for high school teachers to diddle their students. I knew one teacher who was fired for kissing a student. However, as one of my fellow male teachers said to me once in the teacher’s room, “When I look at those fresh young female bodies, I am terribly tempted. However, when those fresh young female bodies open their mouths and speak to me, all temptation disappears.”

The year I arrived, Karen was gone. She had traveled to Ecuador to learn Spanish and do good deeds. Everyone knew that Kip and Karen were in love, but they didn’t cross the lines. When I met Karen, later, she was cute, but no bodacious. In fact, I realized, Kip had fallen in love with her mind, though I am sure he liked her body well enough. She started college; Kip got her father’s permmission to “court her;” eventually they married. I think I attended the wedding. I lost all touch with Kip.

To be continued…

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11 Responses to “Feminists I Have Loved (Platonically) Part 1”

  1. Karen O Says:

    Hey! You forgot about me as one of your regular readers!

    I get your new blog posts in my e-mail. That’s quite convenient.

  2. modestypress Says:

    Karen, the Friendly Neighbors invited us over for Thanksgiving Dinner. (We are snowbound and can’t get over to see the Mommies and Random Granddaughter.) We are thankful (in the atheistic paradox that evangelicals cannot grasp–without being thankful to an imaginary God) to be reasonably healthy for our age and to be reasonably safe in our semi rural isolation amid a semi-hurricane/blizzard with trees falling, roads icing, and power going out for our wonderful and tasty Thanksgiving prepared by our neighbors.

    By the same token, I am grateful that a wonderful person such as you still reads my semi-demented blog and amused that the main reason you do so is hoping to feed your addiction to seeing atheists converted. And amused by the knowledge that the conversion of one adult disbeliever (and it’s very unlikely to be me as you well know) would satisfy your craving for what? One day? One week? One month? Do you envision your imaginary “Heaven” and as unending series of “conversions?”

    I love you anyway, just as you love me even though I am so–nasty, is too strong a word–but “difficult,” like a wayward and lovable child.


  3. I empathise – blogging can often feel like you’re writing in a void. But I enjoyed your piece – it really brings Kip to life – and I love that idea of his ‘happy writing.’ I really feel for his dilemma with his student(not that I’ve experienced a smiliar situation – must make that clear being an ex-teacher, who may one day, for some unforseeable reason possibly connected to mental illness, wish to return to the classroom.) It must have been a difficult position to be in, but I’m glad things worked out well for him.

  4. Karen O Says:

    Did I tell you yet that I’m a grandmother now?

    Little Forrest was born on Oct. 25, & he was 9 lbs., 9 oz.!

    He’s a cute little guy & I am enjoying holding him, watching the funny faces he makes & listening to the funny sounds he makes.

    In a couple of weeks, when Emily goes back to work part-time, I will babysit Forrest. Kinda looking forward to this, but kinda nervous, too.

    • modestypress Says:

      Karen O,

      Although I am banned from worldmagblog, I sometimes sneak a peek, and I read about you becoming a grandmother now. Congratulations!

      I am sure you will be a wonderful grandmother babysitter, and I am sure that you will do a wonderful job of telling Forrest about Jesus.

      As I believe human babies are dependent upon their parents for care, they are essentially the property of their parents. I raised my daughter to be an atheist. Her partners’ parents raised her to be a Methodist. They are going to take our granddaughter to various church services as she gets older and let her decide for herself what to believe. I don’t know if I will still be alive during this process, but if I am, I may whisper a subversive word in her ear. She will decide to believe whatever she decides to believe, and perhaps start a new religion or become a Wiccan or something.

      • Karen O Says:

        Actually, Emily & Ryan do not want anyone telling Forrest about God & Jesus.

      • modestypress Says:

        Oh, oh.

         I have enough problems in my own family.

         My wife and I are going in for marriage counseling in a few days.

        I stay out of other families’ issues as much as possible, though I might have a blog post or two on that topic sometime.

  5. Norwichrocks Says:

    I’m fascinated by Kip. And Karen. And his happy writing.

    I had a brief affair with my philosophy and logic tutor at university and, oddly enough, his handwriting was incredibly neat, too, though far from happy, unfortunately.


    • I’ve read that philosophers have a tendency to have spectacularly awful deaths. What’s the point of philosophy if it does not provide good wooing and a happy death? I dropped out of grad school where I was studying English literature (high point was doing a book report to a graduate seminar on Milton about Frank Kermode’s Milton’s God, where he pointed out that the Judeo-Christian God is a bully.

      About that point I decided that becoming an English professor (which I probably would not have achieved) would be the night of the barely living dead. So no I blog, something undreamed of about 1965.


  6. Happy writing! I need to learn that.

    I remember the story of Kip and Karen from earlier on your blog, but I still like it. I think it is actually possible for men to appreciate women for who they are, even when the women are young and dewy and perky. It may be rare, but it’s not impossible.


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