The Mustachio Man

by Erin
Written October 23, 2003

Everyone has a teacher at one point in time in his or her lifetime. Whether it’s at school, church, or home, everyone’s been taught something from somebody else. When most people hear the word “teacher,” they think of some man or woman standing in front of a class talking about something that, at the time, seemed useless. But I don’t. I think of a man who I had in seventh grade and will never forget, and his name is Mr. Kienzle.

I have so many memories that I can remember, but there is one particular series of events that led to most of the special memories that I have. Although this incident occurred towards the end of the year, I got so much out of it, even more than I could’ve imagined.

On the evening of April 10, 2003, my parents and I went to my school’s annual Magic at the Ridge. At this yearly event, the teachers of CRMS display the work that the students have done over the course of the year. Naturally, my mother and father wanted to see what my teachers had on display in their classrooms. So we traveled up the stairs to room 218, which was the room that the four team teachers crammed all of the work upon the walls and the desks.

As we entered the classroom, the three of us were greeted by Mr. Kienzle. He and my father introduced themselves as Larry and Bill; Larry was Mr. Kienzle, and Bill was apparently my father. The two spoke for a few moments, then Mr. Kienzle invited us to the cookies that were set on the front desk. I politely declined, and Mr. Kienzle then asked me to do him a favor. I replied with a simple “maybe,” and he told me to press a couple of keys on the computer’s keyboard. This caused a short slideshow to appear on the television, which mesmerized my parents. While Mr. Kienzle and my parents stared at the TV, I decided to take a few “action” photos.

“Action” photos are pictures of people when they are unaware that they are being photographed. I decided to take a picture of Mrs. Behrens and Ms. Macrina because they weren’t watching the slideshow. Because of the flash, everyone stopped what he or she was doing and looked at me. I was the only one with a camera. Ms. Macrina questioned what I was doing and said, “What are they, action pictures?”

After that discussion, my parents explored the classroom to see my work. While my mother and father were reading the work from my English portfolio, I turned around and took another action photo. This particular photo was of Mr. Kienzle with his back turned toward me. Shortly afterwards, my parents and I left, so I could visit my former teachers.

A few days later, I got my pictures developed, and I brought them to school. At lunch in the cafeteria, I shared my photos from Magic at the Ridge with my friends. They each looked through them individually and picked out their favorite. Some time during that conversation, I joked that I should ask Mr. Kienzle to autograph the picture with his back toward me.

Eventually, my lunch table and I really called Mr. Kienzle over to us. I held up the photograph and asked, “Would you autograph this for me?”

Mr. Kienzle extended his arm and replied, “Let me see that.” He looked at it for a moment and appeared to be in deep thought. Finally, he said, “No, Erin, I won’t sign it.” He handed it back to me.

“Why not?” I asked with a disappointed look on my face.

“Because it’s a picture of my butt,” he replied. We all laughed really loudly when Mr. Kienzle said that.

“No, it’s not,” I protested.

Mr. Kienzle still refused, so I yelled, “FINE!”

I then pulled out my Sharpie marker and drew a beard on Mr. Kienzle’s face in the photograph.

“Hey, did you just give me a beard?” Mr. Kienzle suddenly asked.

“Yes!” I replied and kept illustrating the picture. Mr. Kienzle left us alone as my friends and I continued Mr. Kienzle’s makeover.

I saved that picture for about a month. May 12 was Mr. Kienzle’s birthday. I made him a card out of a blue two-week hall pass and tucked the picture inside. When he found it (and he didn’t find it when he first opened it), we had a good laugh about it. I’ll remember that day forever.

Since that day, I opened myself up to Mr. Kienzle. I really got to know him better, and I found out that he is a lot like me. Besides the fact that he is grown up, has a job, a family, and a mustache, we are alike in nearly every way. His and my personality very closely resemble each other. I began to see him more as a friend rather than just my pre-algebra teacher, which is something I never thought I would do. The memories of all the fun times Mr. Kienzle gave me will always be a part of me, and he will forever remain in my heart.

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