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Thread: My teacher, Bob Summer...

  1. #1
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    My teacher, Bob Summer...

    Not sure how much I've talked about my favorite teacher online. I know I've talked about him enough in "real life" so I'm sure I've mentioned him online a few times.

    Mr. Summer was my 8th grade history/english/reading/homeroom teacher. It's because of his encouragement I got into drama and stepped out of my shell. While I was full of bubbly energy and creativity at home, I was rarely like that at school. I was weird. Mr. Summer encouraged all of his students to achieve their dreams. Not just to reach for the stars, but to touch the stars.

    I first met him because of his charity "Cancer Survivors On Mt. McKinley" in 6th grade we had a walk for life to raise money for it. That season he also took a bunch of his cancer survivor buddies up Mt. McKinley. He was our "hometown hero" and is one of the most respected men in the area.

    2 Years later he got stuck having me in class! LOL I wish I could say I was an excellent student... but my perfectionist attitude kept me from it. At that time I wasn't confident in my papers and they'd always be late. Not due to procrastination so much as I just didn't think they were good enough. Mr. Summer was constantly on my case, and rode me to get my grades up. Even with my bad grades he had the KCHS staff put me in every stinkin AP class. And it pushed me to apply myself and my grades improved in high school. He's a tricky guy! LOL

    I have so many great memories of 8th grade and of him... from when he set his hair on fire demonstrating musket guns... to watching "Last of the Mohecians" to his heart surgery video(yuck). Oh and that great little trick he had during our ice fishing outing... that stupid rubber chicken. LOL

    I still visit/bug him from time to time in his classroom and he somehow always brings it back into a lesson in life or how I need to further my education. All great stuff teachers give. This year he was the guest speaker for the KCHS class of '04 and did a great job.

    Mr. Summer is the most encouraging, generous, and humorous teacher I've ever known--his classroom is a mixture of comics and wise sayings, class work, and junk! I've always looked up to him. And hope to one day thank him while recieving an Oscar/Golden Globe/Emmy/etc LOL

    However, I found out today from one of the other teachers in the district that Bob Summer's cancer has returned. That's all I know and I'm scared for him. Please pray for his family... his wife and 3 girls... they're a great group of people. :(

  2. #2
    Custom Woman
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    Toni, your post about your 8th grade teacher, Bob Summer, is really wonderful. Of course I'm sad to hear that his cancer has returned and my thoughts go out to him and his family. Your post is so beautifully written and deeply truthful. I don't mean to sound "weird" lol, but I found it to be transcendant. There's the easy truth of ourselves and then there's the deep and tough truth of ourselves. You wrote the latter and that moved me.

    I think most of us had a "Bob Summer" teacher or two in our lives. IMO, they are so important and never get enough credit (or salary) relative to the impact they make on their students' lives. They open doors you didn't even know were there. They see things in you that you would have never imagined you had. They push you until you achieve the things they always knew you could achieve. They crack those shells.

    Thanks so much for writing about Bob Summer. It was very eloquent and showed a whole side of you I had only seen bits of before. I have no doubt that Bob Summer would be very proud and happy to see how beautifully you expressed your feelings. Your post made me tthink of the teachers who have left a permanent and deep mark on me. It's a lovely tribte to Bob Summers, a superb expression of how he affected you, and beautiful way of showing your concern and compassion for his cancer problems. I'm sure many will be moved to send out healing thoughts to this obviously wonderful man. Best wishes to him and his family.
    Rgirl

  3. #3
    bugs are smarter than we are bronxgirl's Avatar
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    Toni,
    There has been tremendous progress in treating so many types of cancers, even when they recur. I hope that he does well and can continue to be an inspiration to you and all of his students.

  4. #4
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    thanks to both of you...

    I know there's been progress, and if anyone can beat it Mr. Summer sure as heck can... the man does not understand the meaning of defeat! LOL

  5. #5
    Gotta Have Music iluvtodd's Avatar
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    My thoughts and prayers are with you, Toni. Mr. Summer sounds like a person with a really positive outlook on life. I hope that he makes it through this!

  6. #6
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    here's teh website that (I assume) he made for the group that went up in 1997 (oh the stories he told about that trip... I will never look at mountain climbers waterbottles the same way again! LOL) it took a while to find it, but if you type the info in the right order it comes up on google! LOL

    http://www.alaska.net/~positive/

    keep him in your prayers... dad informed me this morning that Mr. Summer's dad had cancer and came back and he died from it. Not exactly helpful in getting my mind off the worst.

    It's been such a big thing on my mind that I've been dreaming about it at night, and it never ends very well... I don't know what to do. I haven't seen his eldest around town lately and I almost always run into her when I'm out and about...

    then again it IS summer and the Summers are always somewhere(that looks/reads funny ) during this season(and I always get a postcard)

    not only that but if it's cancer most people go outside to Seattle or somewhere like that for the treatments... *sigh* I feel so out of the loop(which is weird because I have so many friends who have teachers for parents) but from what I've been told he doesn't want it getting around town *sigh*

    anyway there are my thoughts of the day... this really sucks :(

  7. #7
    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great teacher. What an inspiring person. I hope he recovers soon. The world needs more teachers like Mr. Summer.

    Thanks for sharing.

  8. #8
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    *sigh*

    why do people I know and love have to be affected by cancer? I know this has been the theme this week, but we prayed for Mr. Summer tonight at church... and his church held a special mass for him. I lost my uncle 2 years ago to "cancer's returned" and now Mr. Summer's cancer's returned and it scares me. I'm literally on the verge of puking.

    The latest is:
    He's in Seattle for treatment. His wife is with him, his 3 girls are with family here in Kenai/Soldotna. Sometime tomorrow I'm supposed to call to get info to write to him. What do I say? It's so weird. I'm a former student who barely has anything in common with his eldest daughter(who will be a senior in high school this fall). It's just weird... I'm still trying to talk dad into calling and asking. LOL I'm such a wimp. I just have no business calling, I hate awkward situations. :( anyway... talked to one of his collegues and best friends tonight and he said that he's basically had 8 hours straight of chemo.... not sure how long but he said he's "out of it" most of the time right now. It's somewhere in teh tummy region, no one would elaborate. Mom figures it's something like his liver(though that's mostly because that's what happened with my uncle)... I hate this sooooooo much... Mr. Summer needs to be hiking in the Alaska mountains not sitting in a hospital room. I want to be able to walk into his classroom this fall and banter back and forth... I don't want to think of him sick... and I certainly don't like one of the major outcomes of all this to happen. I just have this icky feeling inside...

  9. #9
    bugs are smarter than we are bronxgirl's Avatar
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    Toni,
    Call, Say things like I know how hard it must be, and DO things for them. Little things that they may not have the time to do - from picking up some groceries, doing a load of laundry, washing the car, taking the younger kids to a movie to provide a break. It's hard for anyone, but it's worse when someone says,"oh, what do you need" because there are so MANY things you need you don't know where to begin. Even any photographs you have of your teacher that you can share is a start for their morale (and don't be afraid to them them how much their father means to you the way you told us)

  10. #10
    Sal-Kowabunga!
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    Toni,

    What do you mean, it's not your business? You care about him and that makes it your business. Please don't feel weird about asking how to get in touch. Maybe someone in church has an address for him while he's in chemo?

    What do you say? You have NOTHING in common? You were his student. You have happy memories and you can share those as well as your sincere wishes and prayers. And Bronxgirl is right about your photography. Knowing you, you have plenty of pics to share. How about making a photo album for him? And getting people in church and former students to sign a "get well" scrapbook?

    Having an uncle die because his cancer returned would make you afraid that your favorite teacher's cancer returning means he will die soon. That may or may not be true, but I certainly understand how that makes you feel.

    Go ahead and reach out to him and his family. It will help all of you.

  11. #11
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    I know you're right... it's just weird...

    I'm phone-phobic anyway, I don't even like talking to my friends on the phone... I'll figure it out...

    *sigh* :(

  12. #12
    bugs are smarter than we are bronxgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle
    I know you're right... it's just weird...

    I'm phone-phobic anyway, I don't even like talking to my friends on the phone... I'll figure it out...

    *sigh* :(
    You're not afraid of the computer Try that as a way to reach out to them.

  13. #13
    english heretic Kateri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle
    I know you're right... it's just weird...

    I'm phone-phobic anyway, I don't even like talking to my friends on the phone... I'll figure it out...

    *sigh* :(
    I totally sympathise. I'm terrified of phoning people.

    All I can say is that I hate the fact that I have lost touch with people I really liked because I was too scared to make contact, and then soon it seemed too late.
    And then there are other times (more recently) when I forced myself to stay in touch, and was really glad I made the call.
    I'm determined not to make the same mistake again.

    It's really hard to know what to say in these circumstances, but it's worth it to let someone know that you're thinking about them. It might be difficult, but you might end up really regretting it if you don't call.

    I spent half an hour last week trying to think of what to write in a card to my uncle who is dying of cancer (can't really say "get well soon" when he won't, but don't want to be depressing!!) - I ended up just saying that we were thinking of him and my aunt. I guess it just seemed important to let people know they were cared about.

    *anyway* I'm sure whatever you do will be fine, since you mean well.

    k.

  14. #14
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Oh I know I'd regret it... I just have to get up the courage...

    I don't think it'd be such a big deal if I would be getting in touch with his wife... but it'll be his kids that I'll have to talk to and there's more room for awkwardness... it's hard to explain...

  15. #15
    bugs are smarter than we are bronxgirl's Avatar
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    We're here to help. Please PM me.

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