Thursday, February 10, 2005

Honoring an old adversary

I pulled my one entry today for grossly misprepresenting itself as something worth reading. I am not my own worst critic. That honor belongs to Capt M. D. Stremba, a high school english teacher who insisted I had better in me. In his honor I pulled the bland and inane piece. That isn't to say this is not inane and not worthy of the time and effort it took to write it. It's just that I feel the need to honor a man who pushed me to be better instead.

I started writing in journals when I was 11 or 12. By the time I hit high school, I had some of the composition basics down. As a mostly self taught writer, I also had many irritating habits I carry to this day. I am prone to long rambling sentences with many commas, so by the time I make my point, the original thought is often wasted and lost in the previous dribble. A good speller with a fair vocabulary, I tended to force words to meanings they were ill suited to. I could write and make sense, but I did it in a sloppy and haphazard way.

Capt Stremba would have none of it. He threw back almost every piece I ever wrote and insisted I do it over. Not one to over instruct, his comments made their point with clear brevity. Words like " Repetitive", "Like commas?", or my favorite, "And your point is?" What really irritated me is that in our class, there were only two of us he treated this way. Everyone else got their grade on the first try. I felt picked on. No, I was picked on. I realize he picked on me for a reason. He knew I had the ability to write better, I was just lazy.

His editing abilities of high school compositions are only one reason I remember and honor his memory. Of equal and lasting importance was his ability to prognosticate. In my Senior year yearbook he foretold my future accurately with 6 words. "Degeneration is around the corner. Watch!"

Man, was he ever right.

1 comment:

matthew-daniel stremba said...

Well, ain't this a pleasant surprise!

At regular intervals I google "stremba" to see what standing my modest web-site enjoys of late, and, lo, I trip on a "capt. m.d. stremba" entry, an old faux-rank I've tried not to think too much about.

Macrum, you wrote that entry in 2005, and I read it mid-2007. What have you written since? I know little about navigating blogs.

I sincerely hope you're continuing to move ahead without tripping and that the bike shop thrives and Maine remains a good home. A belated thanx for the honors. As I recall things from the late 1960s, I don't feel I deserve it. But the attention is awfully nice. Again thanx.

MD Stremba (26 July 2007)