GRUMPY GRAMPS – I CALL HIM MR. JORDAN!!
By William of CrossDove Writers
(Since I first wrote this piece, I have talked with Mr. Jordan several times by phone, including a lengthy conversation after his wife passed away shortly after this piece was published. Mr. Jordan was one of my biggest supporters in what ever I was trying to do and over the years became a close friend, almost like an extra uncle to me and we talked at least a couple of times a year. With his passing on June 12, my heart saddens over the future talks we will not have but I will always have the cherished memories of those we did. Enjoy my memories of Mr. Jordan.)
As I gradually creep closer and closer to what will be my 45th High School Class of 1974 Reunion, I continue to take looks back to my three years of high school in Austin, the only three years of schooling I had within that school district.
Another important person for this new kid in the new school was a man who I have always called Mr. Jordan, Mr. Myron Jordan – high school counselor.
Mr. Jordan earned the luck of the draw I guess when I arrived at Austin High School that fall of 1971, when as a sophomore I was just a couple of weeks removed from being a life-long student of the public schools in Lincoln, Nebraska, as he was given me to be one of those students to give guidance too.
Considering our class alone had well over 550 students, it was a wonder the school only had four counselors with Bob Ackerwald, Lee Bedsted and Phyllis Schat being the other three with Mr. Jordan. I must admit, I remember Ackerwold and Bedsted but Ms. Schat I had to look it up in the old 1974 yearbook, sorry.
I know for a fact that I probably visited Mr. Jordan many more times than most sophomores as I continually worked on dealing with the fact that I was a new kid, in a new town, in a new school, in a new social environment. But Mr. Jordan was always the professional he is and ever time I needed him, he made himself available.
It paid off over my final two years of high school as he helped me a lot in getting through some tough times socially as well as helping to give me guidance on the classes to take and when to take them. Mr. Jordan took the time to get to know me not only as a student, but as a person as well and I have always appreciated that.
I can name several times when Mr. Jordan found ways to give me some opportunities that I might not have had while always pitching me in a very positive manner to those visiting recruiters from a whole slew of small colleges I had shown interest in throughout Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and even South Dakota.
A number of those smaller schools that Mr. Jordan knew I had shown an interest in always seemed to know how to find me if their recruiter came through, schools like Coe, Grinnell and Wartburg in Iowa; Beloit and Ripon in Wisconsin; plus Saint Johns, Hamline and Bethel in Minnesota.
My Dad’s alma mater was little Yankton College in Yankton, South Dakota and my older sister attended Doane College in Nebraska, Mr. Jordan knew I wanted to visit both.
So, on that day I was given a note to report to Mr. Jordan’s office when I knew I had not been getting in any new trouble or situations, I was at first perplexed. But then I figured he must have a pretty good reason, and he did indeed.
As I walked into the counselor’s offices, I could see that Mr. Jordan’s cubicle had a rather large visitor chatting with him, so I immediately figured yep, maybe it’s another college person and yes, it was. Mr. Jordan introduced me to a bear of a man named Dean Wink and much to Wink’s surprise I immediately stuck my hand out and started spitting out his collegiate and professional football career as he had been one of the first players ever out of Yankton College to play in the NFL. Yep, I followed my Dad’s alma mater and knew my stuff.
As it turned out, they were also trying to recruit a classmate of mine, Jim Nelson, for the football team – eventually Nelson and I took a weekend trip to Yankton College and I ended up being a Greyhound for a very short period of time while Nelson stayed home, think it had to do with a sweetheart.
Not only Mr. Jordan, but the entire counseling department knew that having grown up in Nebraska, I was a huge Husker fan. This meant that the day an assistant coach or representative for the Huskers football team showed up to visit with another of my classmates (Scott Jacobsen), guess who they called on to help find Scott – me!
Since Scott was already gone for the day and off to an afternoon job he had, Mr. Jordan and Mr. Bedsted called on me to take the afternoon off to play co-pilot for the man from Huskerland as he went looking for Scott for a chat. You know what kills me about that experience – I can not recall the name of the Husker coach that showed up, so disappointing for my younger brother.
As the class of ’74 prepared for graduation, I became very ill and was bedridden for the final two weeks of the school year. This was when Mr. Jordan went the extra distance for me, making sure arrangements were made with my teachers to get school work and finals to me (of which my Mom watched over so even at home the thought of cheating was out of the question), while checking in often with my parents on how I was doing.
Over the years since graduation, Mr. Jordan and I have stayed in touch. For a while we corresponded at Christmas time and until my parents moved away from Austin in the spring of 1978, Mr. Jordan cross paths with them often as they all served on some groups that dealt with the foreign exchange student program. I always knew when they had meetings because within a few days my Mom would let me know that Mr. Jordan said hello.
Now as I choke on the idea that this will be my 45th Class Reunion, Mr. Jordan is another one of those folks in Austin that helped make my time there a good bit better than it almost was – and I want to say thanks Mr. Jordan, may my grandkids have the same personable, caring, insightful type of counselor he was with me.
With that – hugs, prayers, blessings and happy thoughts from Grumpy Gramps.
(Copyright@2019, CrossDove Writers – no part of this posting may be printed, copied or used without written permission by CrossDove Writers and Grumpy Gramps.)