March 6, 2016, Chula Vista- In the scheme of things, my most productive decade, to date, has been the 1990’s. My forties were, initially, of consternation to my wife, but ended up being a time of relative calm and mutual growth for us.
1990-High Point: Travels with my family, around Jeju. Low Point: Losing several more aunts and uncles. People in the Heart: My little family; my students; the Korean Baha’is. Places in the Heart: Jeju; Mt. Halla; Nonsan; Yosu.
1991- High Point: Continued growth of our community, and in my teaching. Low Point: None. This was a very sanguine year. People in the Heart: Koreans, in general. Places in the Heart: Jeju; Inchon; Jonju, Busan .
1992- High Point: Return to the Navajo Nation. Low Point: Leaving Korea. People in the Heart: My students, both in Jeju and in Jeddito; the long-suffering Mr. Chun; Marty Green, who gave me a fresh start; the proprietress of Mile-Hi Motel, Prescott. Places in the Heart: Jeju; Sorak-san; Prescott; Jeddito.
1993- High Point: Penny’s return to teaching. Low Point: Dealing with a disinformation campaign. People in the Heart: My Navajo and Hopi students; A.T. Sinquah; the Begay family, of Cienega Canyon; Harry James, who gave his life for his faith. Places in the Heart: Jeddito, Keams Canyon; Canyon de Chelly; Flagstaff.
1994- High Point: Learning about, and implementing, a comprehensive guidance program. Low Point: Struggling to adapt to new school administration. People in the Heart: The Ambrose family; the Melvins, who taught me how to act with grace, and patience; all the aforementioned. Places in the Heart: Pinon; Shungopavi; First Mesa.
1995-High Point: Our first cross-country road trip, as a family. Low Point: The passing of Penny’s paternal grandfather. People in the Heart: Sadie Charley; the Bathkes; the Shuplas; A. C. Fellman. Places in the Heart: Louhelen Baha’i School; Bedminster; Saugus.
1996- High Point: Continued success in our school’s program. Low Point: The passing of our neighbour, Georgianna T.
People in the Heart: The Coin family; Clifford Q., who taught us all patience, in a different way; Mark Sacco, who never gave up on the hardest of students; the Smiley sisters; the Tewanema family.
Places in the Heart: Edgewater, NM (our vacation spot); Sandia Crest; the Navajo and Hopi Nations, in general.
1997- High Point: Our road trip with Lady (our dachshund, adopted in 1995). Low Point: The suicide of a former student. People in the Heart: Marwin Woody and his family; the staff of Louhelen Baha’i School; all my relations. Places in the Heart: Amarillo; Effingham; Lambertville, NJ; Louhelen Baha’i school; Edwardsville, IL.
1998-High Point: My securing a principalship. Low Point: The accidental death of a key staff member. People in the Heart: Mrs. Lowe and Ms. Young, my strongest classroom teachers. Places in the Heart: Chilchinbeto; Kayenta.
1999-High Point: Landing on my feet, at Salome High School. Low Point: Aram’s harrowing return visit to Korea. People in the Heart: Tom Riggenbach, the Charley family (who spoke in my defense); Paul Lansing; the majority of my constituents in La Paz County. Places in the Heart: Polacca; Salome; Prescott.
The Nineties began with stability and hope, though various storm clouds were always showing lightning,in the distance. This was a time that began and ended with big moves for us. I made a stab at being an administrator, and found it was not for me. I am much more at home with counseling, and would have done better to hone my skills in that area, still further. Penny had a serious fall, in 1998, and we spent much time and energy seeking competent neurological care. She seemed to have recovered, by the end of the year, when we observed her parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary. The decade ended with us working through the joys and sorrows of life in a small Southwestern town.
Still and all, that decade was good for us. The ten years to come would prove far more challenging.