One of my favorite teachers passed away this past weekend. He had cancer. I’ve heard he was diagnosed in November and things didn’t look good from the initial diagnosis.
Mr. Fullington taught English at my high school. I had him in 11th grade. I once told him I was too good for his class. Oh how cocky I could be….I haven’t grown out of it. He didn’t mind that I was “too good.” He just didn’t let me get away with much slacking after that.
He was one teacher I went back to see every year. I usually see him in the springtime (for whatever reason, I always volunteer to help cover some story at the school and use that as an excuse to walk by his room, hoping to catch him during a planning period.) I last saw him in September, at the Grey Eagle. We had similar musical tastes.
I once saw him at Jack of the Wood, a popular bar in downtown Asheville. I was so freaked out that I had seen several of my old teachers there. But seriously. I was 28 and my boyfriend (now husband) was a teacher and he was at a bar…why did I think it was weird that Mr. Fullington was there?
During one “lesson,” we were to bring in our favorite song lyrics. It was the first time I had ever really looked at lyrics for songs, and they’re my favorite part to this day. I’m such a sucker for good lyrics.
Mr. Fullington introduced me to Christine Kane (local artist), which led to my love of other local artists. The unknown artists.
He joked with me during class because I often brough plain noodles to eat several hours before a track meet. Missy and I would eat those. Yes, we were strange, but it worked for us and we were pretty decent runners. We didn’t mess with our rituals.
The man helped me with my college selections and with general high school problems. He made class fun, while still challenging us. And no matter how busy he was, he always took time out to catch up and listen to his students (present and former).
I’m going to miss seeing him around town. I regret not knowing about his illness sooner. His memorial service is set for Thursday night, and I’ll definitely be going. The world has lost a great man.