No, this is not a political blog, but a remembrance of an old teacher of mine, Mr. Nelson (henceforth Mr N.) who I found out passed away after a long battle with cancer Wednesday night. I knew he had cancer for a long time, maybe ten years or so.
Now I had a lot of good teachers I remember for different reasons. Mr N. was was my sixth grade teacher. I think I was one of the first classes had had after joining the school. I was in his homeroom and he taught math and science primarily (we rotated to other teachers for different subjects at that age). He was the first teacher I had that wasn't visibly scared of me and my science knowledge. There was a good reason for it...he actually knew more science that I did (at least when I was in sixth grade!) In grade school, most teachers have minimal science background and it shows. Mr. N. knew his stuff and we finally got to do some cool experiments. I remember when he did the electrolysis of water. He said one test tube contained hydrogen and to expect a "pop" when he held the match beneath it and nothing happened. He looked puzzled and said the other tube contained oxygen so the match would burn furiously when exposed to the oxygen. He put the match under that test tube and there was a "pop". He had a goofy grin on his face...to this day I still suspect he did that intentionally! Oh, he had an offbeat sense of humor as well.
There was no science fair in grade school when I went through. Mr N. changed that after I was there. My brother had him three years later and had to do a science fair project. Mr N. let him do a science fair project on home brewed beer. Try getting away with that one today!
The last time I saw him was in 2006 when I visited that small town in Iowa and saw him briefly. Mr N. you are remembered fondly by myself and I am sure many other students. Thanks for all you did.