Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Goodbye Norma Jean...

I can't begin to tell you how sad I am right this second. I just found out that my high school debate coach died after a battle with a brain tumor. Marty Cronin was one of the good guys and the world -- especially that half world of high school-- is a darker place because he isn't in it.
Mr. Cronin once said to me-- after I had come up with some totally ridiculous argument that I couldn't see was ridiculous-- "Michelle, some day I am going to hear a very loud pop and that will be the sound of your head coming out of your ass." I actually treasured that statement simply because it was so outrageous for a teacher to use that language with a student, but he was right. He called it like he saw it and I deserved it. I last saw Mr. Cronin right before I graduated from college in 1999. I had driven down to Gardnerville to judge one of his tournaments and we were chatting in the judges room. I told him about my plans-- bright eyed and unjaded-- and he was proud of me. You could see it. And I treasured that he cared about me even 4 years after I had passed out of his life, and out of his school. Underneath his exterior Mr. Cronin genuinely cared about a lot of things.

Marty Cronin was sarcastic, and brilliant and one of the best teachers I have ever seen. His grasp of politics, history, and social events was amazing and he could TALK about anything. He taught me quite a few lessons, and I value every one of them.

Rommy-- I am so sorry. No one gets what they deserve. If they did you and Mr. Cronin would own a tropical paradise with bright, interested young minds to teach and your children to play with and no crap like brain tumors, or strokes, or embolisms, or pain. You both deserved that.
I keep part of your husband in my heart and so do many, many of his students. He is the reason I'm working to be part of the mentor program at my office. He is the reason my degree was in history. He was the reason I pulled my head out of the fog it was in and got my shit together at the end of high school. He was wonderful.
I am so sad I can't even begin to tell you.
Talk hard, think fast, when in doubt B.S.
M.

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