Bill Benson Contemplates 39 Years of Care and Change at CADES

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Outside the CADES building on Rutgers Avenue in Swarthmore, Bill Benson relaxes with clients Brian Itri (standing), Brian McGuire and Gloria Griffin (front).

Bill Benson will retire August 31, 2016 as director of CADES in Swarthmore. Almost universally beloved and respected by those who know him and his work, Bill is one of the longest-tenured and most accomplished leaders of any Philadelphia-area social services organization. He has been with CADES and its predecessor United Cerebral Palsy of Delaware County for nearly 39 years, beginning in 1977 as principal of the George Crothers Memorial School, and serving as director for several decades. His career spans a period of great social change and improvement in the ways services are delivered to Pennsylvanians with special needs.

The Swarthmorean asked Bill Benson last month for an “exit interview.” Though a very modest man, Bill was kind enough to reflect on his career, his organization and its services to citizens of all ages, and changes in the social services environment over the years.

What does CADES do?

“We have an infant/toddler program which works with 120 families in their homes once a child has been referred by a parent, the county or a pediatrician. If therapists can get an early start with these kids, whether it be cerebral palsy or a gross motor issue or trouble grasping, crawling, or talking, sometimes they won’t need as much intervention later on.

“Our early intervention program works with preschool age children diagnosed with physical or intellectual disabilities, with one location in Chester and one in Upper Darby. These referrals come through the Delaware County Intermediate Unit [DCIU].”

DCIU also refers children to the George Crothers Memorial School, located in the CADES building which was formerly the Rutgers Avenue School. Crothers serves students aged 3 to 21, including students from beyond county lines, Benson said. “We had a girl who came from Lancaster every day, for services that her district could not provide. She had complex support needs, but we had a staff that could develop an educational therapy program for her.

“Then we have our adult day care program for individuals who need help with all their activities of daily living. Parents who are getting up in years really want a place for their sons and daughters to come. We see a lot of need for that group.

“And we have a residential program, 33 homes, primarily in Delaware County. These usually are single story houses that are ADA accessible, with staff on site 24/7, that are each home to three people living with multiple handicaps, physical as well as intellectual. These homes are funded through federal and state money.

Has the national model of group homes changed since you began at CADES?

“Yes, we’ve certainly gotten away from large institutions. But CADES is one of the few [local organizations] dealing with such complex needs. If you go to our group homes, we don’t have many people who are walking, talking, and able to handle all the activities of daily living (dressing, using the toilet, eating, etc.). We’re different from other facilities that concentrate on residents with just emotional issues.

“A HUD consultant told me he’s surprised that federal and state dollars seem to be somewhat drying up when it comes to expansion for more of these kinds of homes. You never get enough money from government to do all you need to do, so you have to have active development programs. It’s always a balancing act, as you can imagine.”

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Bill Benson visits with Kevin Parker (front) and Jen Crane in CADES’s adult day program.

What are the challenges CADES faces today?

“You always want to maintain good quality programs. We need to keep that a top priority. We want to continue to do good staff training. And we certainly need to look at the salaries for direct care workers. It’s hard work, backbreaking, dealing with another person’s life, taking on responsibility for them. Some of them have two jobs so that they can survive, and we need to respect them, value them, and pay them accordingly. We’ve got to raise the salary levels.”

What are you doing now that you weren’t doing before?

“Fundraising has certainly grown, and the importance of it has grown. As the federal and state money has become tight, fundraising is even more important.

“But here’s a good thing: people with mild disabilities who can make it in their school district, are in their school district. It used to be that many of our clients were ambulatory and verbal. We believe in mainstreaming and inclusion so if these students can go to their regular schools, we support that. We want people to be accepted in the community, and school districts are doing more, employers are doing more.

“We’re now getting clients who need much more support, lots of PT, OT, speech therapy… maybe it’s always going to be that way. There will always be a few very, very needy people, and it’s important that someone is here to meet their needs.”

How did you come to this work?

“I always had a desire to do good and to help people. I thought about missionary work. My mother was an RN; that played an important part in wanting to help others. So when I went off to school, I thought maybe I’d do speech therapy. But then I realized there are all these other disabilities and thought I’d study special education. That worked well for me.”

After getting his bachelors (Clarion State) and masters in education (Penn State) interspersed with teaching jobs, Bill took a position with Pennsylvania’s department of mental retardation.

“My job was to travel throughout Pennsylvania setting up infant and toddler programs with federal grant money. I worked with parent groups to get them interested in setting up these programs, and that’s what got me hooked. Then I was offered a job with PA Department of Education, in the early 1970s. It was a historic time in the state; kids with physical disabilities or who were not toilet trained could be turned away by superintendents, until a lawsuit succeeded in gaining the right to education for all children.

“I was hired to deal with the Southeastern region. My job was to go into schools and tell the superintendents that they had to educate all kids… ‘and I’m here to help you do it. Let’s hire a teacher, some classroom assistants’… it was not too well accepted by some supers or school boards or business managers.

“Then the Chester County IU hired me to deal with a dilemma. They had 250 kids who were living in a state institution, whom they were charged with educating. They did have some unusual behaviors, but we would try to teach them via very basic incentives.” It wasn’t an enlightened educational environment, Bill says; “I felt for the kids, I felt for the parents, but I felt good that we were now getting these kids out in to the community. We set up classes at churches; the challenge was to then get these students into schools.

Fate intervened, Bill said, and “A board member approached me and said UCP of Delaware County had an opening. All UCP had at that time was a small school program [Crothers], but it was an approved private school, and it was getting some state funding. So that’s what got me started, and I’ve been here ever since.”

And what have you found at CADES?

“CADES is a great, great organization. We’ve got a good board of directors and a staff that thinks outside the box. The parents and those who need our services say ‘CADES is special because of the staff that we’ve got.’ I love our people here, and I love our parents who deal with this day in and day out. I feel so blessed to have been a part of it, I really do.”

What’s next? 

“My goal is to become buff [laughs]. You’re not going to recognize me a year from now, I’m going to be so muscular. My doctor says ‘What are you going to do about your brain?’ I haven’t figured that out.”

At that point, Brian, an adult client, pops into Bill’s office to talk excitedly about his role in The Sound of Music, performed that day at CADES. As he rolls off down the hall, Bill says, “I’m going to miss that.”

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YPTW Trips the Light Fantastic with ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ at PCS

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Introducing the YPTW cast of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, from l. to r.: Garrick Schultz (Swarthmore), Ethan Starr (Swarthmore), Sam Hartley (Media), Aidan Cole (Wallingford), Owen Burk (Swarthmore), Nick Shaffer (Swarthmore), Ella Grossman (Swarthmore), Kate DiRienzi (Media), Charlotte Hackett (Wallingford) and Anna Ferrigno (Springfield).

The Young People’s Theatre Workshop will on May 27 open a fantastic production of a phantasmagorical play — Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The musical is based upon the Disney classic movie of the same name and tells the story of inventor Caracatus Potts and the magical car he creates to convey his children, Jeremy and Jemima, and lady love, Truly Scrumptious.

The production at the Players Club of Swarthmore features more than 60 performers from the Young People’s Theatre Workshop, as well as several dogs. Human stars include Ethan Starr, Ella Grossman and Owen Burk of Swarthmore; Aidan Cole, Kate DiRienzi, and Sam Hartley of Media, Charlotte Hackett of Wallingford, and Anna Ferrigno of Springfield.

Each performance will feature cast members’ pet dogs at the end of the “Toot Sweet” number when Caractus Potts invents a dog whistle quite by accident. The actors have been raising money and collecting items for the Delco SPCA Wish List throughout the rehearsal process. On May 29, the Delco SPCA will bring adoptable puppies to star in the scene. The tie-in with the Delco SPCA is a perfect way for YPTW to give back to the community.

Opening night is Friday, May 27, at 7:30 p.m.; the show runs for eight performances though June 5: May 27, 28, 31, June 2 and 4 at 7:30 p.m.; May 30 at 6 p.m.; and May 29 and June 5 at 2 p.m.

Information is at yptw.org and (610) 558-0988, where tickets ($12) can be reserved. Players Club of Swarthmore is at 614 Fairview Road in Swarthmore.

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Stepping Up for Swarthmore’s Emergency Services

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Swarthmore Fire and Protection Association needs more volunteers like ambulance driver, soon to be EMT, Bob Hayden.

It wasn’t done in self-interest, but Bob Hayden may just have made a very sound investment in his future, as well as Swarthmore’s.

A piece in the April 29 New York Times Sunday Review suggested that humans can effectively increase both mental and physical health by pursuing mastery of something new in middle age. “Find something — something new, something difficult — to immerse yourself in and improve at,” wrote Gerald Marzorati. At age 57, that’s just what Hayden has done.

After more than three decades as a volunteer with the Swarthmore Fire and Protective Association, Hayden raised his game. “I wanted to become an EMT [emergency medical technician], both to further my usefulness to the fire company, and to become what people already thought I was.”

Bob actually was a highly experienced volunteer ambulance driver who has worked a 12-hour shift every other week for six years, the latest responsibility he has had in 34 years of continuous service to the Swarthmore Fire and Protective Association. A native, Bob joined the company after graduation from Swarthmore College in 1981. When his latest first responder certification expired, he decided to take his training to the next level.

The challenge he took on involved 170 hours of classroom training during months of study, practice and testing. Bob somehow balanced Tuesday and Thursday evening sessions and full day training on Saturdays with his regular job as a financial advisor with Wells Fargo Advisors. He has completed part of his Pennsylvania testing, and now faces an online cognitive test including 150 questions, and a national practical test which demands correct responses to seven scenarios, prioritization of actions and specification of techniques, all within a few minutes.

At the end of the process, if all goes well, Hayden will be certified as an EMT. EMTs are the first responders to medical calls and are responsible for recognizing and treating all types of medical emergencies. It is demanding work often carried out by skilled (though unpaid) volunteers.

The most difficult part of the job, Hayden says, is “In a short time, to assess the condition of the patient as to life-threatening issues, and deciding what to do.”

The reward, evidently, is in the maintenance of a safe and interdependent community. Hayden says, “I’m one itsy-bitsy cog in the works here.” And there’s no doubt that Hayden’s new capabilities add to the collective health of his hometown of Swarthmore and surrounding communities. “Nothing would make me happier than to see more volunteers come into the fire company. There is no lack of dedication among our volunteers; we just need more of them.”

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WSSD’s Policy on Gender Identity and Bathroom Choice

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education advised schools nationwide that they should allow transgender students to use the restrooms associated with their gender identity. In response to a query from the Swarthmorean, Wallingford-Swarthmore School District Interim Superintendent Dr. Michael Pladus provided this statement on WSSD’s approach to the matters raise by this federal policy edict:

“Our school district, as is the case with I would imagine most others, is and will be working even more closely with our Solicitor’s Office as we assure that we fully understand and are in compliance with the recent Executive Order regarding the rights of transgender students in school. I am not certain if the primary concern at this point is in terms of policy, as federal law (Title IX) already provides for protections against discrimination, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s guidance has been explicit in terms of non-discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression. The more immediate concern for districts will probably lie in the areas of practices, logistics and the potential impact on facilities. The general guidance under which we have been operating is that every student is unique, needs can vary by the age of the student and the nature of the individual, and ultimately every student has the right to learn and be in a safe environment. The larger policy goals seem rather clear; the potential issues that could emerge would be, again, in the area of practices and implementation.”

Letters to the Editor…

Question of variable abilities

To the Editor:

We read in The Swarthmorean (May 13) that “Special Education” programs deal with “disability,” a “stepwise education” and the “transition to work.”

But would it not be more accurate as well as less shaming to say “variable ability” rather than “disability”; for surely many students’ abilities do not coincide with predetermined standards. And don’t the steps in a stepwise educational program vary enormously depending on the “various” abilities and possible programs? And is work training the primary goal? Doesn’t this depend on the highly variable abilities of the students?

Isn’t the education of an informed responsible citizen in a representative democracy the primary goal of a public education?

John Brodsky
Swarthmore

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Swarthmore-Rutledge School students visit The Gathering Place.

Young artists teach seniors at TGP

To the Editor:

Last Wednesday, May 11, I was invited to visit The Gathering Place, which is a community organization run by the Swarthmore Senior Citizens Association. This year, I brought my 4th grade seminar students for a fun-filled intergenerational exchange.

Our art teacher Bridget Hochstoeger and I collaborated on a math/art lesson that we shared with the seniors. The students recently studied symmetry and more specifically, radial symmetry. They learned about geometry, number of orders, degrees, angles, circumference, etc. We discussed patterns in art, color and balance. We also practiced measurement utilizing our ruler and protractor skills.

Members of the 4th grade classroom are: Emil Hartung, Joseph Lynch, Andrew Deppen, Arnie Berger, Eden Stolar, Caeli Rieger, Audrey Stevens, Evan Yavor, Anna Benner, Dexter Braun, Samantha Edwards, Jillian Surkis, and Amanda Anckaitis.

The students became the teachers and instructed a group of seniors on how to create beautiful radial designs. Following their lesson, they all enjoyed a snack together. It was a wonderful way for our children to learn the value of giving back to their community.

Linda Gillespie
Gifted Education Teacher
Swarthmore-Rutledge School

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At The Gathering Place last week, young met old and math met art. Linda Gillespie, 4th grade teacher at Swarthmorean-Rutledge School, visited with her students in the gifted program for lunch and a shared art project. Students and many of the post-school regulars at The Gathering Place applied artistic skills to developing symmetrical pictures based on interwoven geometric shapes. Photo by Gudrun Weinberg

Three Women, Three Centuries

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Marjorie McCausland, age 99 of Swarthmore; Mae Verga, 103, of Wallingford; and Agnes Pugh, 105, of Rutledge were guests of honor at a luncheon last week at Drexelbrook Events Center in Drexel Hill. Photo by Elaine Lawley

In January, 1911, when Robert Falcon Scott landed in Antarctica to set out on his quest for the South Pole, Agnes Pugh had already begun her journey through life. That journey, which began on New Year’s Day, 1911, continues today, and was celebrated last week.

Mrs. Pugh, a resident of Rutledge, was among the 55 guests who are or will turn 100 in 2016, who were honored and feted by the 14th annual Centenarian Birthday Luncheon thrown by the Delaware County Office of Services to the Aging (COSA) at Drexelbrook Events Center in Upper Darby.

Described by her daughter as a warm and caring person, Mrs. Pugh spent years as a caregiver for family members, and volunteered at Taylor Hospital into her 80s. Her longevity owes to staying active and involved with others. A Maryland native, she came to Delaware County in her teens, worked as a waitress at Swarthmore College, and later in retail, and at the Delaware County Courthouse. She was married and raised two children, and now has four grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Wallingford’s Mae Verga, 103, grew up in a large South Philadelphia family. She was a hat maker with Stylepark in Philadelphia; married her husband Louis and moved to Nether Providence, where she still lives today. She says she has lived long by eating well and taking care of herself. Mrs. Verga continues to spend good times with family, from her children down to her great-great-grandchildren.

Marjorie McCausland, underage at 99 (her 100th birthday will be August 21) grew up near New Haven, Connecticut, fishing, clambering on rocks, and playing on the shores of Long Island Sound. She attended Wheaton College in Illinois, met and married college sweetheart Edwin in 1940, and raised a daughter and two sons. A reader and prodigious knitter, Mrs. McCausland recently donated blankets to a home for unwed mothers. She attributes her long life to happiness from “a good life.”

— Reported by Elaine Lawley
COSA Communications Director

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Learn All About the CAC at The Gathering Place

Artist Paul Downie

Artist Paul Downie at work.

Paul Downie, executive director of the Community Arts Center in Wallingford, will speak at the Wednesday, May 25, meeting of The Gathering Place of the Swarthmore Senior Citizens Association at Swarthmore United Methodist Church.

An artist, musician, educator and arts administrator, Paul will give a brief overview of the Community Arts Center and its programs.

He will then give an informal talk about the way art intersects with various facets of our lives, using his personal experience and examples from the CAC as a lens for discussion.

The presentation is intended to be a conversation with participation from the group encouraged. If time allows, he will lead the group in a drawing exercise. (No experience or particular skills necessary!)

Bring a bag lunch at 12 noon; dessert and beverage are provided. Paul Downie’s arts conversation will begin at 12:30 p.m.

Call 610-952-0649 for more information.

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Personals

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Jim Greer, Alex Nackenoff and Carol Nackenoff

Carol Nackenoff and Jim Greer (in University of Chicago Ph.D. robes) were invited to march into the graduate school graduation ceremony with Vanderbilt faculty members and come onto the stage to hood their son, Alex Nackenoff, who was awarded his Ph.D.in Pharmacology on May 13. They said it was an incredible high to be able to take part in the ceremony.

Parker R. Sultzer of Swarthmore has been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the national honor society for liberal arts and sciences undergraduates, at St. Lawrence University.

Ralph Colavita, a criminal justice major from Morton, was inducted into the national liberal arts and sciences honor society, Phi Beta Kappa, during the spring semester at St. Joseph’s University.

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These 26 old friends (and not so old) met last month at the White Horse Village home of Marcia Hoover to celebrate a 70th anniversary. The women, most of whom are current or former Swarthmore residents, are members of Chapter P of PEO, which is one of the largest women’s philanthropic groups in the U.S. Chapter P was founded on April 17, 1946 in Swarthmore, and is still going strong, according to Marcia Hoover, who has been a member for more than 50 of those years. Chapter president Marcia Bloom recognized four such longtime members with certificates and flowers, and read an amusing summary of the annual letters of chapter presidents over the last 70 years.

Swarthmore High School’s Big Day

The Amazing Hanna Kirk Mathews
By Barry Gwinn

I grew up in Swarthmore and graduated from SHS in 1956. With our three straight years of undefeated football teams, preppy clothes, and about a 90% college acceptance rate, we definitely stood out in Delaware County.

Unfortunately I wasn’t around in 1965, when Time magazine came to town to report a most unlikely event — the retirement dinner of Hanna Kirk Mathews. I have done a lot of writing in my life. That I have had some measure of success is due mainly to one diminutive woman — my high school English teacher, Hanna Kirk Mathews.

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Hanna Kirk Mathews looks on as a group of her senior students perform (probably a scene from Hamlet). Notice the students’ rapt attention to what is going on. Mrs. Mathews often injected humor into these sessions, which is reflected here. SHS Yearbook, 1956

In her 40 years of teaching, about 4,500 high school students passed through her classroom. Most of us are avid readers and confident in our speech and written word. These qualities have enriched our lives.

Everything I have written for the last 60 years has Mrs. Mathews’ fingerprints all over it. The tributes paid to Mrs. Mathews upon her retirement were so remarkable that they were published in the Readers Digest, Time, and in my hometown newspaper, The Swarthmorean.

Hanna Kirk Mathews was born to a Quaker family on a farm near Doylestown Pa., in 1900. She lived to be 93. She graduated from Goucher College, just outside Baltimore, and then received a master’s degree from Columbia University. I imagine her degrees were heavily weighted in English literature.

Her first job was teaching English in tiny Doylestown High School. One of her first students there was sophomore James A. Michener. After a year or two at Doylestown, Mathews (then Miss Kirk) accepted an offer of employment from Swarthmore High School and began teaching there in 1926. “The school wanted her badly,” recalls Putty Willetts, a colleague, “[Miss Kirk] came highly recommended.” Swarthmore, then as now, was a leafy suburban Philadelphia college town (pop. about 5,000). (Michener would later graduate from Swarthmore College.) It was a plum position and Mathews jumped at the offer. She would head up the English department there until her retirement in 1965.

As her student in 1956, I recall her classroom being arranged with four large tables, each seating eight students. The tables were along either wall, leaving room in the middle for plays and recitations by the students.

Mrs. Mathews spent most of her time wandering among the tables (getting personal) or standing at the back of the room watching what was going on in front. One student recalls that she would recite a line from a Shakespeare play and then ask whence it came. Another fell in love with the sonnets of Keats, which were frequent homework assignments. Still another drew inspiration from the stack of New Yorker magazines she kept in the classroom.

We didn’t know it, but we did a good deal of the teaching ourselves. In addition to acting out Shakespeare’s plays, we would be called on to recite what we had read in our homework assignments and encouraged to correct our fellow students both as to grammar and to content. Then we had to write about what we had read and heard.

Our papers were always downgraded for incorrect grammar, punctuation, and syntax. The subjects ranged from Hammurabi’s Code to the Gettysburg address; Shakespeare to Arthur Miller; Chaucer to Hemingway, Steinbeck, and Salinger; John Keats and Lord Byron to Longfellow and Ogden Nash. We had to get inside the authors’ heads, dissect their books, perform their plays, and recite their poems. The process was never complete, however, until we had reduced our impressions to writing — always writing.

To this day, when I correspond with one of my classmates, I expect a concise, well written communication. I don’t recall ever being disappointed. By the spring of our senior year, we had become sated with the world of English literature and familiar with the communication techniques of the various authors.

Then, with just three months until graduation, she required us to write something original. It was the dreaded senior theme and it was a backbreaker. It is the only term paper I have ever been required to write. “College English was easy compared to Mrs. Mathews’ classes,” a classmate recently told me. “I was excused from taking freshman English at UVA,” said another. He gives Mrs. Mathews the credit.

I learned that research and preparation is the sine qua non of journalism. She told us what she wanted, how it was to be presented, and suggested ways to go about it. I accumulated dozens of 3”x5” cards with notes and citations from periodicals in the Swarthmore College library. The cards completely covered the double bed at home, next to my desk. I experienced a rush when it was done. It was a rush to be repeated many times during my career.

An article in Readers Digest caught my eye back in 1975. I was then stationed in Phoenix. It mentioned three people, all of whom were well known to me — Mrs. Mathews, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and the President of the United States.

I had always been in awe of Mrs. Mathews and used the skills she taught me to write my way through life. After reading and rereading the article, I knew I had certifiable proof that she belonged in the pantheon of great teachers. It certainly was exhibit A of the influence a really good teacher can have on their students’ lives.

The culmination of Mathews’ career came on the evening of June 8, 1965, when 160 Swarthmore High School faculty, students, alumni, and friends crammed into the sweltering Swarthmore High School cafeteria, to do her honor. The Swarthmorean had earlier reported that a surprise guest would be present. It turned out to be renowned author James Michener. The Readers Digest article reflected the loyalty and veneration this famous author had for her.

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Mathews and Michener at her Swarthmore High School retirement dinner, in June, 1965. Time magazine, 6/18/65

As I recall it, the Digest reported that President Johnson was hosting a White House dinner honoring young authors (120 of them) for outstanding scholarship. Author James Michener had recently been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for one of his first novels, Tales of the South Pacific. He was, at the time, perhaps the best known and widely read American author. Understandably, this was the man and keynote speaker, who President Johnson wanted at his right hand for such a dinner.

The event was scheduled for June 8, 1965. The presidential invitation went out to Michener. Michener replied with a thunderbolt, sending his regrets. The President, not accustomed to having his summonses refused, got Michener on the phone. From recollection, the conversation went something like this —

The President: “James, this means an awful lot to me. We are all expecting you to be here. Couldn’t you possibly rearrange your schedule and come down?” Michener’s reply over the phone arguably constitutes one of the greatest tributes a teacher will ever get. Michener was reported to have replied, “Mr. President, we have had great presidents in the past, and undoubtedly will have them in the future. Very few of us, however, are privileged to have had a great teacher. My high school English teacher has had a tremendous impact on my life. Her retirement dinner is scheduled for the same night [as your event]. I have committed to it and intend to be there.”

Time magazine reported a similar quote made by Michener at Mathews’ retirement dinner — “In his lifetime, a man lives under 15 or 16 presidents, but a good teacher comes into his life but rarely.” And so, on June 8, 1965, rather than sitting at the President’s side in a glittering White House assemblage, James Michener showed up in Swarthmore High School’s small jam-packed basement cafeteria at Hanna Kirk Mathews’ retirement dinner.

An anonymous Swarthmorean reporter did a first-rate job of recording what happened there: “Mr. Michener said that Hanna Kirk ‘brought into our small [Doylestown High] school, a ray of light.’ [Michener] read from a letter of invitation from President Johnson to the White House dinner honoring the Presidential Scholarship winners, that same evening, and his own telegram in reply, which said in part, ‘Your invitation was received just three days after I had agreed to speak at a dinner honoring the high school teacher who taught me how to write… Being a teacher yourself, I know you will understand… You will not miss me at your dinner; she might miss me at hers.’ It is a rare thing, Michener said, to meet a really good teacher. To hold her in regard these many years is an experience to cherish.”

These were not the last known sentiments which Michener had voiced about his favorite teacher. One of my classmates recalls meeting Michener on two occasions, in 1978 and 1982. “I asked him about Mrs. Mathews [on both occasions],” the classmate said, “[Michener’s] response came immediately and with little pause. His words were to the effect that ‘I would never have achieved success without her. You know, I should probably write and tell her that.’” There are many of us with the same sentiments.