I was never totally happy as a medical technologist. When I was getting close to graduation time, I knew that I did not want to get into research work, so I began to research science jobs. Toward the end of my junior year, I had a Cell Biology class that was significant for two reasons. The first was that ironically enough the Research Assistant in charge of our lab class was Jeff Mathison, the former PHHS grad from the Class of 1978 and a long-time friend. The other reason was that two of my three lab partners were med techs from Ball Memorial Hospital who were beginning to work on advanced degrees. It was during that class that I learned about medical technology and decided to shift my major from Biology with an emphasis in Microbiology by adding a second major that only required me to take a couple of extra classes in chemistry, which helped me qualify for a chemistry minor.
Unfortunately, I was never happy as a medical technologist. The work simply felt stifling to me. I had a nagging feeling that I was meant to do something else. I tried all kinds of positions in the labs. Initially, I worked as a generalist during the evening and night shifts, I tried to work, or as a specialist during the day, in the Hematology Depart at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati and in the Microbiology department at St. John’s Hospital in Anderson, Indiana. Finally, I tried the old entry level management position at the Hospital Formerly Known As St. John’s on second and third shifts. Unfortunately, no matter what I tried, the bottom line was always the same: I did not belong in medical technology field.
It was then, in the Spring of 1988 that God stepped in. Jill came home from teaching that day wanting to go to Talawanda Middle School for the big Spring Talent Show. Most of the acts were groups of girls who were going to sing one particular hit of the day, The Bangles’ “Eternal Flame”. Now, I had always felt that as though “Eternal Flame” was a long-lost Beatles’ song from their Rubber Soul or Revolver albums. That’s just my way of complementing the Bangles. But, the directors of the Talent Show let anyone who wanted to perform to take part in the show. Unfortunately, they did not limit which songs were going to be performed, since we got to see six or seven groups of girls perform this song. I am not kidding! When I got home, I put away my Bangles’ album so I couldn’t hear that song for a couple of weeks.
But, what happened that night at the Talent Show was I got my calling to teach. As the third group of girls, and the best, by the way, were singing “Eternal Flame”, a bright light came shining through the gymnasium’s large window and shined on me during their performance. Then, maybe because I had been listening to Prince’s Lovesexy album prior to going to the show, I heard a crazy electronically altered voice saying to me, “I want you here.” I took it to mean that I was to become a teacher and a coach. I kid you not! My wife, who was sitting next to me, was unaware of this epiphany that was happening to me. Afterwards, I felt both confident AND scared. And, I am telling you the truth. I heard that deep, electronically-altered, disembodied voice telling me “I want you here.” A plain and simple command.
So, a year later, I signed up for my first education class that Miami of Ohio, knowing which Miami classes would transfer to Ball State, where I could become a teacher the fastest at the time. So what do you think? To this day, I still think it’s crazy how I received my calling to teach. Yet, oddly enough, it sure seems appropriate. Plus, I am reminded of that day each time I hear the Bangles’ “Eternal Flame”.