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Mr. Heidinger

Mr. Heidinger


I saw Mr. Heidinger’s smiling face in the fall of ‘59. I was struggling through Mr. Hughes’ French I class a few doors down from his, due in no small part to the number of lithesome young ladies that populated French class and my overactive 14 year old libido. I had carefully groomed my hair,(including sideburns), my clothing and my demeanor (as much as possible) to resemble my idol, Elvis Presley. While I failed, of course, I succeed in mustering enough of that easy Southern charm to have a steady stream of girls passing in (and quickly out) of my life. As I had French right after lunch, the two Mr. H’s often met in the hall and seemed to be greatly amused at my clumsy “lothario” impressions. Mr. Hughes had an especially devastating wit and seemed fascinated at the sheer variety of girls who often walked me to class, and he often made sly jokes about how did I keep up with all their names or did I occasionally mix up my mid day dates, etc. And once he shared this joke with Mr. Heidinger, he too joined in the fun. I did not have enough awareness to realize they probably shared an inside joke, with me as a featured player. But, to their credit they never made me feel they were making fun of me. Their good-natured ribbing was never mean-spirited. I took it as their interest in “those crazy kids” exhibited by elders for the young since time immemorial.

One day, a few days before Christmas Break, Mr. Heidinger mentioned he had heard I wanted to become a Reporter someday (one of the dozens of careers I considered, and one of the few I never tried). “You know... Reporters have to be able to type very fast. You really should take my typing class. You will find an invaluable skill... “ He said. Then with a twinkle in his eye and a nod toward Mr. Hughes, he said, “....Besides, almost all my students are girls.” Needless to say, the Spring of ‘60 found Teddy Anno (my running buddy I had convinced to by pass Auto Shop to join me) as the only two boys, in a class with some 25 or so girls. We took a lot of ribbing from some of the other guys, but we were both in Teen Boy Heaven.

Unfortunately, I never typed faster than 40/2. And while I eventually was on Tiger Tales and the Nugget staff, even Mr. Prouty couldn’t get me to write the sharp, concise columns needed for success as a Newsman. But the years in Journalism and Drama were some of the happiest times of my youth, at least in part because of the wonderful girls I met in those classes, and of course French I and Typing I. And typing, is the one skill that I use perhaps more than any other I learned at OUHS. If I amused Mr. Heidinger in the process, it was a small fee to pay and I am glad of it.

Jim Davis  Class of '61
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