Growing Up Lapeer: Teachers

All teachers have the opportunity to shape young minds and hearts, providing building blocks that students can use to construct a lifetime of experiences.

I was blessed to have many terrific teachers, most of whom I can still name from second grade to graduation. While attending Lapeer High School from 1968 to 1971, it was my privilege to sit under the tutelage of many talented instructors. (I’ve never used the word “tutelage” before, so this is important.)

Although I was unreasonably terrified of Mr. Schadel and dropped out of the band before my senior year, he was an amazing director and teacher. For those who understood and loved him, he was nothing less than an idol. Richard Schadel is one of those iconic figures who will always be synonymous with music at LHS.

I enjoyed the wit and humor of Mr. Miller in Biology class. He always had an impish grin, like he was about to purposely say something students wouldn’t understand, and thoroughly enjoy it.

Mr. Loeding was a great teacher. I think he was the tallest teacher I ever had. I have seen John many times over the years, usually because of our common interest in model trains.

Mr. Kinzer taught American History. He smiled a lot, and obviously loved his subject and being in the classroom. In the early 80’s I was a substitute teacher for Lapeer Schools, and I often had Mr. Kinzer’s daughter in class. Time warp.

Mr. Rezzleman might have been the most unique teacher I ever had. He was another one who had a wonderful sense of humor. He didn’t laugh out loud, but when he said something funny, he grinned and said, “The uhh…” as if the sentence would continue but never did.

Mr. Rezzleman explained variables in algebra by calling them blurbs. “This blurb plus three equals seven. What is the blurb?”

After moving back to Lapeer in 1981, I was walking up the front steps of the old post office and Mr. Rezzleman came through the door.

“Mr. Rezzleman!” I said too loudly.

“Mr. Parsons, how are you?” he said with that familiar grin.

“You remember my name!”

“Why wouldn’t I remember your name?” Mr. Rezzleman asked.

I didn’t meet Mrs. Belant, JB to all of her kids, until my senior year when I had Drama class. She is another iconic figure, one for whom I will always be thankful.

I remember acting out a scene from a play in class. The setting was a hotel suite. A father and mother, dressed for a wedding were panicking because their daughter, the bride to be, locked herself in the bathroom and refused to come out.

“Mimzy! This is your father! You come out of that bathroom this instant!!” I hollered, banging on the invisible door.

“Robert! Calm down!” the mother pleaded.

I stomped over to a chair and plopped down. “Ok! Ok! I’ll be calm! You go downstairs and marry the short fat one!”

The class laughed. Maybe that one short scene helped pave the way for what happened later on. I met my wife, Mary, as a result of having JB for Drama class and auditioning for a musical.

All teachers have the opportunity to shape young minds and hearts, providing building blocks that students can use to construct a lifetime of experiences.

This year, Mary and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary.

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