Friday, December 16, 2005

The Third Wave

Mr. Gunter? Mr. Brown?

RON JONES, 1972 - For years I kept a strange secret. I shared this silence with two hundred students. Yesterday I ran into one of those students. For a brief moment it all rushed back.

Steve Conigio had been a sophomore student in my World History class. We ran into each other quite by accident. It's one of those occasions experienced by teachers when they least expect. You're walking down the street, eating at a secluded restaurant, or buying some underwear when all of a sudden an ex-student pops up to say hello. In this case it was Steve running down the street shouting "Mr. Jones, Mr. Jones." In an embarrassed hug we greet. I had to stop for a minute to remember. Who is this young man hugging me? He calls me Mr. Jones. Must be a former student. What's his name? In the split second of my race back in time Steve sensed my questioning and backed up. Then smiled, and slowly raised a hand in a cupped position. My God, he's a member of the Third Wave. It's Steve, Steve Conigio. He sat in the second row. He was a sensitive and bright student. Played guitar and enjoyed drama.

We just stood there exchanging smiles when without a conscious command I raised my hand in curved position. The salute was given. Two comrades had met long after the war. The Third Wave was still alive. "Mr. Jones, do you remember the Third Wave?" I sure do, it was one of the most frightening events I ever experienced in the classroom. It was also the genesis of a secret that I and two hundred students would sadly share for the rest of our lives. (continued...)


At 3:55 PM, Blogger Watch 'n Wait said...

Absolutely awesome post!

At 11:43 PM, Anonymous adrienne said...

there is a book about this...its called the wave... its really good


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