St Croix River Road Ramblings

Welcome to River Road Ramblings.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Can you go back home?

Forty years ago Margo and I moved to Washington Island, WI -- a ferry ride north off of the tip of the Door County peninsula out into Lake Michigan.  

I was beginning what was to be a 6 year career in teaching math and science at the high school level.  In those days with the baby boomers churning out of colleges as new teachers, teaching jobs were hard to come by.  Going to out-of-the-way places was often necessary to find a job for a new teacher. 

We stayed on the Island for one school year -- September to May and then found a mainland job.  There were three new teachers that year, replacing 3 retiring teachers with an average of 38 years of Island teaching.  We were all fresh from college and at our first teaching jobs.  

Well, 40 years later, we have contacted each other and plan to meet on the Island for a first time reunion of teaching staff as well as to see if there are any of our former students still living there.  I taught all the science and math for 7-12 grades, ages 13-18, so those "kids" will be 53-58 now.   

I googled some of them and found many had moved off the island to find a job.  The opportunities were limited on the Island -- tourism being the main job and that often very seasonal.  One student is teaching at the school; one works at the electric plant, one on the ferry, and so on.  Hope to run into a few of them to see how badly damaged they are from my year with them. 

The school system was the smallest in Wisconsin.  It was an interesting place to live and teach.  Margo and I remember many of the people fondly.  The island is somewhat like taking a township out of the middle north of Wisconsin, trimming it round and dropping it in the lake.  

A few years ago, I wrote a series of stories about the Island year that went into my newspaper column -- River Road Ramblings.   You can revisit them at this link:   Washington Island