The Lab School, 1968

Gathered to guidance by
Hutcheson, Helff, Holmberg, Happ, Harper, Hale,
Riechmann, Butzier, Struble, Aldrich,
Vanderbeek, Mazula and Mahon, all the names,
of teachers, looking out at little faces
wondering, what can these children become?

All of us, side by side,
year after simple year
in the 1950’s, then Sixties
Marilyn Monroe, Rosemary Clooney,
Howdy Doody, Elvis, Poodle Skirts,
rattail combs, letter jackets, greasers,
the long walk to Big Rock
to inspect it’s tiny animal skeletons
and back
one speed bikes by day
kick the can at twilight
doors unlocked at night

The grand experiment
of the newest teaching methods
PhD’d instructors
teaching student teachers
teaching students:
Schuler, Fish, Trapp, Aurand, Kelso, Cantine,
Moon, Maurer, Melberg, Anderson, Webb,
Thuesen, Niederhauser, Wheaton, Isley,
Voorhees, Green, Krumlinde, Lupardo, and more,
through drama, and song,
orchestra, Latin, and
driver’s education.

A laboratory school
culturing us all
and then sending out
a sixty kid class
out into a world
of Hendrix and Joplin, ‘Nam and teargas
assassination and impeachment,
hippies, communes and drugs,
disco and punk, purple and acid rain,
global warming, fake news,
and now iPhones, self-driving cars
and more genders than you can count

And after all, the result
of our research project
fifty years later
is not measured in
success or failure, wealth
or fame, wrinkles or fat,
the last note, the outcome,
from K through 12
all that is left
are memories of a simpler time
together, held on tightly
like a prom corsage
and a quiet, full and timeless love

for each other
not the compared success
the marriages or divorces
the careers or merely survival

A deeply rooted connection
from 1968 and beyond
that still informs and supports
a group of Little Panthers
aging, but still caring,
still connected.

Author: Paul Stokstad

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