Mr. Smith the Chemistry Teacher of My Past…

In high school many years ago. More years than I like to contemplate, now at this stage of my life. I had a teacher for chemistry that was much older than all the other teachers and much wiser than all the other teachers. In fact I had no idea how intelligent he was until I remembered about him and thought about his class room and what transpired in that class room. I had actually put him out of my mind for all these years and yet what he showed me and taught me was the driving factor to many decisions in my life and how I walk a different path than most do. There was only 6 of us kids in this advanced chemistry course…

I was stirred to these memories by something that Sveta said a few weeks ago. Something she said triggered the image of Mr. Smith as he stood in front of the classroom. I remember like it was yesterday and Mr. Smith (Not his real name!) stood in front of class and was writing on the chalkboard the chemical structure of who knows what and then he turned and said, “Would you like to see something very special?”

We all shook our heads, yes and then he, without further adieu, pulled out a slide machine from his cabinet, turned off the lights and started to show us slides from the Soviet Union…

He explained as the slides slid into our vision: That he went every year to the Soviet Union and had been going for 12 years.  He was going again the summer coming up and he wished that he could gather more people to go see a country that is so misrepresented in the world…

I remember the statement he made, “The Soviet Union is not what we are told!”

Over the semester of his chemistry class I was blessed with watching all his slides of his adventures in the Soviet Union. I got to see the people through his eyes, his words and his pictures. I took the astronomy course that he offered and saw all the slides again and I discovered another course he taught and repeated those slides again. I learned to phrase a question about the subject at hand and mold it with the Soviet Union and he would talk an hour about the Soviet Union…

I learned about the people and how they lived. I learned about how much soul and life that these people have. I learned about the Soviet Union from a man who had been there numerous times. During a era that people just did not go to the Soviet Union and here I was privileged to have a first hand account from a man who dared to speak against the establishment in America. This man would still stand out in America and that is a testament to how little our thinking has advanced about countries other than our own…

He loved the Soviet Union and I gathered that he was trying to figure out how to live there…

It has dawned on me that I had built my inner thoughts around the Soviet Union from this man and while I did not realize that his words so long ago where still in my head. I subconsciously realized it and the words from my mouth many years ago came true. I said while sitting in his class, “I want to go to the Soviet Union!”

I remembered he smiled and said, “You will find that all that you are told and believe has been a lie!”

Then it was over…

We went away on winter break and when we came back to our new classes. Mr. Smith was gone…

The new (Old) teacher was hateful and spiteful. She said that we would not talk about that traitor and that was that. I myself never stood for that kind of crap and finally after being insistent for a month, got what happened out of her as she tried to make my life miserable in the school. She screamed in my face that he went suddenly to the Soviet Union on winter break and never came back. The last they heard was that he was a traitor and preferred the Soviet Union…

This teacher made sure that I would not be Valedictorian and almost had my National Honer Society revoked. But I was a top student and enough other teachers stood up for me. I lost the Valedictorian spot and I could have cared less. I did my own thing and walked my own beat of the drum I drummed…

I grew up in a house hold of teachers and my dad was a principle of a large school district. I could not be one to follow the society way. I always came about rebellion easily, just like the preachers kids do and the cops kids. I saw the inner horror of the governmental controlled school systems…

russiaThe government never broke me, even when I was drafted in the military…

So today as I was doing some thinking’s over a cup of coffee here in Russia and I saw a Facebook image that someone posted and it said,   —–>>>>>>>

I commented one of my rare comments, “I did and I do live there! 7 years now… Russia equals peace and calm…”

I just hope that Mr. Smith found the same calm that I did when I finally broke away from the establishment that has squelched freedoms and liberties in America and these repressions have been going on a long time. It just took me many years to see that and while I am one of a few, Mr. Smith was one of even more few, who made that move against a repressive society. A society that has become more repressive and depressive, day in and day out, month in and month out and year in and year out…

Mr. Smith was a man to look up to! He was frail and grey haired. He was smart beyond comprehension for a high school kid to understand, even a smart high school kid. Most kids were not intelligent enough to comprehend him and hence they talked down about him. Now that I am as old as when he escaped the USA. I realize that I learned a whole bunch from him and much of how I survived was based on his calm and quiet demure. I understand why he was so easy to get off subject and get on the Soviet Union subject. I feel the pull as strong as he did and never realized it at the time…

For how many Americans have a blog about Russia, with 4000 posts and has no desire to stop writing about Russia? Not many is the answer and that my friends is how much I believe and feel about Russia…

I understand now Mr. Smith…

Thank You…

Post by Kyle Keeton
Windows to Russia…


kKEETON @ Windows to Russia…

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