Friday, October 07, 2011

The School Yard

I spent a lot of time at school. Not just as a student and band director, but as the child of a reacher's aide and an elementary school principal. Many days after school were spent in the workroom where my mom worked (the same elementary which I attended) and more than a few Saturday's were at the school where my Dad served as an elementary principal.

My Dad was not an "ordinary" principal. You would never see him in khakis, it was always a nice suit with a freshly startched shirt and very nice shoes. I can still smell his closet. Hanging bags from the cleaners with the smell of fresh starch. His shoes needed to be resoled constantly because he walked so much that he made holes in his shoes. He wasn't a "sit behind your desk" kind of principal. You rarely caught him there. You never saw the flowerbeds on his campus looking shabby and there was never dirt on the walkways. As for litter, you just did not see any. Inside or out, he would reach down without missing a step to pick it up. It's not that he had a huge janitorial staff (just his right hand man Walter). He just took enormous pride in his school and the people in it everyday.

His faculty and staff were some with great longevity and finding an open position to work at Burnet Elementary was close to impossible. No one would leave because he was wonderful to work for. Don't get me wrong, he was tough, but fair and very smart. He was passionate about children and education and not many men in my life can compare to him.

Now that my "Christian" is in kindergarten and I am at the school everyday, my mind often goes back to those Saturday mornings. I feel the dirt on the sidewalk and think "that should have been swept.". I see the flowerbeds needing attention and thinking "someone needs to clean those up.". And I recently saw a piece of litter dancing in the breeze on the playground and felt my Dad whispering "I love you, Sandy."

Gonzalo Campos
January 10, 1928 - October 7, 2007

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