I have a binder where I put receipts for everything my wife and I have spent on maintaining and improving our house for the past 24 years.
On the front inside pocket is a flyer I saved that was in a little box planted in the front yard of this house in order to attract buyers.
It is officially the first page of the binder.
And on this flyer are two color photos: the largest of the house, the smallest of the real estate agent’s smiling face.
I don’t know why but I had an urge to locate this realtor online to see if she was still selling property. And lo and behold, she was—in Indio not Burbank.
I texted her a photo of the flyer and told her how much we have enjoyed living in the house for the past 24 years.
Within an hour, she texted me back, thrilled that I would contact her.
“That was so thoughtful of you! So happy that you and your wife are still enjoying your beautiful home! Thanks for thinking of me.”
Weeks earlier I had another encounter with someone from my past. My favorite math teacher Mr. Kolpas had recently passed away and I called his widow to offer my condolences. I told her that I would make a copy of a film with her and her husband who acted in a film I made in my late teens.
When I sent her the video, she was overwhelmed with joy, not only to see Mr. Kolpas but to see the house that was their home for so many years; she shared it with her daughters and grandchildren.
“Thanks so much. Wow. We were so young. Kids got a kick out of it. Thanks!”
Around the same time, I was going through my other 8mm movies I made when I was a teenager, some I hadn’t seen in nearly 40 years. I screened them for my wife, and during one film I discovered something. Back in 1975, I filmed a shot across the street from a gas station. I It is the same gas station that I still go today to service my cars. And the owner, Tony, is still there since he opened his business in 1971.
I had to show him this because he appeared in the long shot. What’s interesting, too, is you can see a car being attended to by three different employees in uniforms. That was the time when gas stations began transitioning from full-service to no-service. And a younger Tony was next to the car.
I took my cell phone, videotaped that scene and the next day drove over to Tony’s and said, “Guest what, Tony? I’ve known you since I was 17 years old.” Then I showed him the video.
“Your son wasn’t born yet?” I asked.
“Not yet,” referring to the middle-aged man who works with his father.
“Boy, I wish we could go back to those days!” he wistfully commented.
It makes me feel good to let others know I am thinking of them or that I appreciate them. And I was especially glad to do it when they are still around. Connecting with others helps us feel human and alive.
One thought on “Reach Out and Touch Someone”
Hi Mr. Crosby,
In the spirit of this blog post, I just wanted to reach out and say that I was recently thinking of you and the experiences I had in your classroom during my time at Hoover High. I don’t have any photos or videos to share, so my words will have to do. I realized some time ago that you were the teacher I spent the most time with over the course of my entire education – from kindergarten all the way through earning my master’s degree. I took your Pre-Advanced English class in the summer of 2003, followed by your full Advanced English class during my sophomore year, and then two consecutive years of journalism where I was the photographer, and later, photo editor of the Tornado Times. Suffice it to say, no other educator has had as deep or lasting impact on me as a student. Every time I’m stuck in the middle of writing a report or preparing a presentation, I remember two of the most useful lessons I got from you – the value of editing, and “show, not tell.” Anyway, I came across your blog and realized that you’re recently retired. It’s a sad loss for the students of Hoover, but I’m thankful that I got to benefit from your wisdom and dedication as an educator. In case you’re wondering what became of me, I’ve also ended up in a career in public service. Not in education, but in urban planning. I hope you’re enjoying your post-career life, and wish you all the best. Thanks for everything.