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
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
You deserve Teacher of the Year award, 1974!