Category Archives: Mammoth Cave

Man of Steel, a teacher

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For Father’s Day, I always emphasize that there are many men

out there who act like fathers, do the job of fathers and need to be

remembered, thanked and hugged for their beyond the ‘call of duty’

efforts. What male role model do you think of “outside the box” who

played a valuable role and impacted your life during your formative

years?

I have a man in mind, who may or may not be alive, but he was

our Science Club counselor, leader and mentor. His name was

Mr. Bobniz! We had a motley crew with members that were very

strong, active participants in many activities and then there were

a few who probably joined because there was a genuine love and

acceptance theme going on. No one was excluded!

Mr. Bobniz overlooked rudeness, swearing and general rowdiness.

We all got together with him like a team, planned many wonderful

outings. We went to parks, creeks and streams. We rode our bikes

from the West side suburb of Bay Village, Ohio to Sandusky to put our

bikes on a ferry to Kelley’s Island. Where we saw the glacial grooves, no

drinking at the local winery, but lots of good, clean fun as getting away

from town and letting loose does for young teenagers!

We planned and connived Mr. Bobniz into getting some extra cash

funding to take us on a big trip to Mammoth Cave. Wow! We were so

excited! We were sure glad to go to the Health Museum, the Science

Museum and the Cleveland Zoo, but this trip would top all of them!

Yes, we were kind of “nerds” or “nerdy” and we had some kids in the

group who could join the actors and actresses in the television show,

“The Big Bang Theory” but we were leaving the state of Ohio! You can

imagine the kind of snacks, meals and money that we were needing

to embark on this trip. We were leaving early on a Saturday while

returning in our long caravan of cars with walkie talkies, on Sunday

afternoon. Only a couple of parents were coming as chaperones.

So fun you could explode with scientific facts about stalactites, stalagmites

and bat droppings!

I will never forget the silly antics of what  one motel room full of wild boys

who decided to collect our pop cans throughout the whole trip did.

After all, we were recyclers! We collected once a month newspapers and

magazines for the Science Club paper drives. Anyway, since there were

2 exits; one was a sliding glass door exit out of each room and the other,

a hallway door, this group of guys piled pop cans high into a tower by the

hallway door. They got a string, an apple and rigged it so that it would fall

when the door opened by the poor maid. We laughed about the stunt on the

the way home. Along with their catching what they thought was a live poisonous

spider, whether the brown recluse or the black widow, I cannot know, and

putting it under one of the glasses in the bathroom. (Side note, remember when

motels had real glasses and not paper, plastic or styrofoam cups?)

Mr. Bobniz was a hero. He was a teacher, friend and most of all, he

played Father to us during some of the wildest sober times teens could

have. As far as we know, he never married. And we are not sure about

his sexual preference, he never mentioned partners, dates or either

women friends or male friends to us. He listened to our little quarrels,

our numerous complaints about school politics and the “establishment.”

If you grew up in the seventies or even, the eighties you can relate to all

of that. I know Viet Nam existed on our t.v. sets every night while we ate

dinner. But these carefree and innocent Science Club moments are worth

mentioning and remembering.

Thank you, Mr. Bobniz!

I am not sure if you ever were chosen but better late than

never:

You deserve Teacher of the Year award, 1974!