Words spring to mind like erudite, sophisticated, or debonair. But not exactly, and not for long.
One day about 26 years ago – in July 1985 – my sister Joan and I went to visit Mark and my niece Chris (Fitzpatrick) Milner where they lived in Ankeny, Iowa.
It was a steamy hot summer day in Iowa. Joan and Chris and I were visiting in the Milner’s cool air-conditioned living room when Mark got home. Here’s what followed:
When he wasn’t out rouging corn (culling out the stalks that don’t belong in the corn row), Mark was in the classroom teaching high school and middle school social studies, primarily American history and world history. One can only imagine how “spell-binding” his classroom presentations must have been!
He retired from teaching recently, ending his 33 year career. He was nominated for the Veteran’s Friends of Education award in 2001 and won at the local level. His wife Chris said that they found out later that he probably would have won the state level and moved on to national competition, except they didn’t know there was a word count on the essay that was submitted – it was 10 words too long! (My blobs know all about that problem).
He was named Parkview Teacher of the Year in 2006. And if there was an award for “Most Entertaining Teacher”, he would have held permanent ownership of it.
I wanted to know more about how Mark had the missing tooth in the video you just watched. In the Fitzpatrick/Milner family, you could never just lose a tooth and let that be the end of it. No way. Such is the stuff legends are made of. Here for the record is what really happened according to Chris:
“How Mark lost the tooth is the story of ‘The Three Mark’s’. Mark went boating with two of his teacher friends, Mark 1 and Mark 2. It was a sunny day and I bid them all good bye and went about the day to myself. About 1 hour later I was surprised to hear the car returning to the driveway and Mark came into the house holding a bloody rag to his mouth.”
“It was described to me that Mark was the first in the water with driver Mark 1 at the wheel. Mark 2 threw the first ski into the water. Mark was bobbing in the water with the sun in his eyes and didn’t see the ski coming toward him. BAM! He took it right in the teeth. Fortunately, our beloved dentist makes after hours office calls. I drove him around to the back of the office and Dr. J took good care of him. In later years when Heather and Corey took science courses with Mark 2, they would titter as they asked him “Have you been boating lately?” He’d just groan and put his head in his hands.”
“After the accident, Mark asked that we not tell anyone about what had happened. He was anxious to go to Cedar Rapids and pop his ‘fake tooth’ out as a shocker to the family. Much to his surprise instead of shock, they all laughed and showed off their blacked out front teeth – from Tom and Joan to baby Elizabeth, who only had 2 teeth in the first place!”
As soon as they sell their house in Ankeny, Mark and Chris are moving to Portland, where daughter Heather, son-in-law Dan and their kids live. Mark is looking forward to playing and chasing around with grandchildren Jake and Ruby, and renting out jet skis on the Oregon coast.
And, oh, yes, I’m sure he’ll continue to keep advancing his video career. He probably won’t get any more snaggle-toothed Iowa farmer roles though, but he’ll be just as debonair as ever. In his latest, he’s playing an FBI agent. He’s in this short 8 minute movie produced last month for the 48 Hour Film Festival Project in Des Moines.
James Bond, eatcherheartout!