My son recently rediscovered the TV Series The X-Files and has been watching them on Netflix. I spent the weekend camped out on the couch with him following Mulder and Skully tackle government cover ups of paranormal events and extraterrestrial sightings. Turns out it was an international conspiracy. But I don’t want to ruin it for you.
It reminded me of a teacher, Mr. Gephart, I had in grade school. He was an American teaching at a British school in Mexico. He moved to Mexico as a young adult and just stayed. Nobody knew where he came from or much about his personal life. He was a bachelor. Tall and thin. By the time we knew him he must have been in his 50s.
He taught at the school for many years and established traditions. He headed the fifth graders and the seventh graders (Form 5 and Upper School I). The fifth graders always knew coming up that they would learn to march. After recess all the grades lined up to go back into the classrooms. Mr. Gephart was the Master of Ceremonies and dismissed all the classes. When it came to fifth grade, there was always a drill.
Hut two three four
It could go on for five or ten minutes and was fun. All the older kids were watching us and since we knew they had been through it, we always made our best effort to impress them.
That year Mr. Gephart taught us Latin and Ancient History. I fell in love with Egypt and Greece listening to his stories. He brought everything to life. I will never forget the story of Phillippides and the battle of Marathon. I was so sad when he died.
In the seventh grade we had a choice between French and Art. I already had taken two years of French and didn’t like it much so I went with Art. Mr. Gephart taught Art.
A good friend of mine took French but he was so much of a troublemaker, the teacher kicked him out and he ended up in Art. He later said that class made a huge difference in his life and set him on his path to be an artist and designer.
One of our first exercises was to draw a portrait of a classmate using one continuous line, never lifting pencil from paper and never looking at the paper, only at the subject. Then he posted them for the whole school to see. It was interesting how good some of them were.
Toward the end of that year, Mr. Gephart spent several classes discussing things that had nothing to do with Art. It was his life lessons classes. Or his ‘quirky Mr. Gephart’ classes.
He told us he tried magical mushrooms and it had been an incredibly eye-opening experience. And then he told us about the UFOs.
He brought in magazines with pictures of UFO’s. He told us about Roswell, New Mexico and the mystery around what happened there. We heard about sightings and hot spots. He told us people gathered in places where UFO’s were known to frequent hoping to see one. We learned in detail about the “cigar” mother ships that hovered and the smaller ones that could move at an alarming speed. There were clubs we could join or we could form our own. I learned that Wisconsin had the second highest number of sightings after New Mexico. This impressed me because I had family living there.
We heard the other side, too. About all the people, mostly the government, who were debunking it. There was no tangible proof. We learned about hoaxes and people who were exposed for fabricating UFO photos.
But the underlying message, at least for me, was he believed. That intrigued me. Because of that I have always kept an open mind to the possibility.
The truth is out there…..
Kathleen Gamble was born and raised overseas and has traveled extensively. She has a BA in Spanish and has worked in publishing, printing, desktop publishing, translating, and purchasing. She also designs and creates her own needlepoint. She started journaling at a young age and her memoir, Expat Alien, came out of those early journals. Over the years she has edited and produced an American Women’s Organization cookbook in Moscow, Russia, and several newsletters. Her first book, Expat Alien, was published in 2012 and she recently published a cookbook, 52 Food Fridays, both available on Amazon.com. You can also follow her blog at ExpatAlien.com.