Friday, April 07, 2006

Jane's Magnolia

I had two favorite teachers in high school. Mr. Cuicchi, my physics teacher, taught us--among other things--about fiber optics way back in 1986 before fiber optics were mainstream. To demonstrate how light could carry a signal, he rigged up his old record player, disconnecting the speaker and wiring it into a regular 12V flashlight. Then he wired up a Radio Shack light sensor into a 12V battery and a separate pair of speakers. Pretty simple circuitry; something every kid in the class could understand.

When he turned on the record player, all we heard was this annoying hum. As it turned out, he forgot that the fluorescent lights would disrupt the light sensor with their 60 Hz humming. We cut the lights, and lo and behold! Linda Ronstadt came scratching through the speaker. (It was better when the lights were still on.)

My other favorite teacher was "Jungle Jane" Lusk. Mrs. Lusk was about eighty years old when I had her in school, and she was still teaching there at least a few years ago, though I doubt she could still be there. She was absolutely sharp as a tack, though. Her classroom was like something out of a vintage horror movie. One whole wall was stocked with jars of various sizes, each containing some kind of nasty animal specimen. It was in Mrs. Lusk's class that I dissected my first earthworm, frog and perch.

She had this pond on the side of the school, more of a cesspool really, that she kept so she could grow various microorganisms. The pond was sticky with green algae and muck. Jane would bring in a jar of the muck, and we'd look at the euglena and amoeba under her microscope.

It was Mrs. Lusk who taught me to respect and enjoy all the flora and fauna nature has to offer. Here's a tree in my yard, called a Jane's Magnolia. It is blooming now, and it reminded me of Mrs. Jane Lusk. I think she'd like it.

1 comment:

Dawn said...

My son Timothy ran across this article when searching for his grandmothers name. My mother is the Jane Lusk you talked about. She retired finally at 90, the last 13 years at SHS she ran the copy room, not wanting to leave the school system. She is 98 now and had to finally move into a nursing home just last month, till then she lived alone with my sister coming over for some hours everyday. I just talked to her and told her I would send a copy of the article down to her, I think she will really like it (long as you did not misspell any words, she always counted off for that on her tests). I appreciate the things you had to say about her. Some did not like her because she was a tough teacher but always fair. I should know, I had her for Biology and Advanced Biology, no favors shown either and I was glad,I learned from that. I would send a copy of the newspaper showing when she retired ,big pic and article on the front page but your email link would not come up when I tried it. Thanks, Lloyd Lusk SHS Class of '69 (email - 4-17-2016

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