Monday, October 4, 2010

Passing of a Teacher

This is the first time I have posted a story that someone else has written. It is a obituary my 10 year old daughter wrote about her teacher who passed away this weekend. All of my children had him as a teacher and they are each coping in their own way. I believe writing can be a release for difficult and unmanageable emotions, and I hope this helps my daughters as they mourn.

Carl W. Schneider was my teacher at my school. He was 35 years old at the time of his death. I had him for 4 years as my Italian teacher. I was at a bonfire when I found out what happened to him. Imagine having fun, talking to your friends when all of a sudden your good friend comes up and tells you that your teacher just died. He was in Blackwater Falls state park, kayaking down a reserved area only for expert kayakers. He was trying to go through a rough part of the river and ended up going over a steep part, and getting stuck under a 4 foot fall. He was a teacher at St. Bede, a waiter at Legume. He also earned the title of Eagle Scout, the highest rank in boy scouts. He earned a masters and bachelors degree at Pitt. He was also an expert kayaker. All of the teachers are really sad; it’s hard to replace someone who’s developed a relationship with our school. He also was a really good friend to all of the kids. If you asked an Italian student things they remember about him, probably 9 out of 10 would say, like my friend Brian, “ I’ll miss his moustache and ponytail.” It is so far over my mind I do not know how to react. Everyone is going to be upset for a while but I know that somehow our school is going to get over this event. We are a small school so almost everyone knows each other. Everyone will make one another feel better and we won’t forget this tragic thing. If have ever lost anyone you were really close to, you know how our school feels. If you haven’t, well you couldn't imagine how deeply affected all my friends are.


  1. What a poignant post from your guest poster :-). Enzo liked his moustache too :-). We're all thinking of him today.

  2. sherri,
    thank you so much for that comment
    tell Enzo and Olivia that although it is sad try to think about the good memories you have of senior schnieder.

  3. I am so sorry... what a devastating loss. But yes, writing can heal.

  4. Thanks for sharing . . . that's a hard thing for a ten year old to go through. It's great that she's processing it through writing.

  5. Thank you. I met Carl when I was 10 and he was 8. In my mind hearing of this, I am right there with you, still 10 years old missing my friend. Thank you. May you find peace.

  6. This is a poem by Se`nior Schneider

    Tuesday, November 06, 2007

    Current mood: thoughtful
    Category: Writing and Poetry

    I love the feel of indigo denim,
    as it roughly runs through my smooth fingers,
    Or does it smoothly run through my rough fingers?

    For friction is to die for.
    No wind across my frozen face?
    No lacquered yellow pencil clutched in my right hand?
    No uncut, falling tresses, scratching against my brow?
    Yes, friction is to die for.

    The friction of life;
    it happens where violent water
    patiently laps away the rough ridges of rock,
    till only the smooth stones of David remain.

    And as those smooth stones,
    flung from a sling,
    strike with friction,
    one life begins,
    as another ends.

    I wonder, if the skins he wore then,
    Rubbed with friction of indigo denim.
    Roughly against the smooth loins of youth
    or smoothly against the rough loins
    of his adulterous adulthood.

    Yes, friction is to die for,
    because friction is life living.

    Carl William Schneider

  7. I'm so sorry to hear this news, Joely.

    Your daughter has your gift for writing. These words especially capture perfectly the feeling I've had when dealing with loss: "It is so far over my mind I do not know how to react." She is wise beyond her years.

  8. jcraigo,
    Thank you for finding Gwynns words, she is very shaken by Carl's death. He was so young and that is not something that is easy to explain to her. Carl was a unique individual, he inspired creativity and originality. May he find peace and may his life be kept alive through our memories.

  9. Kristin,
    She just went to my computer and started typing, she had written for 1 hour. When I read what she had written I told her I could post if she wanted me to, and she liked that idea. Thank god she found a good coping skill for the sad times in life, because sadness will repeat itself time and time again.

  10. jcraigo
    thanks, that is awesome that you knew carl, he was a good man

  11. Joely,
    It is a testament to your motherhood that you knew to guide her in this way. Your daughter is freely expressing that piece of us that deals with life's unexpected bumps: she was having fun at a bonfire, when all of a sudden things changed. So often I've felt this. It's truly helpful to hear the details expressed so innocently. I can picture his ponytail. I love ponytails on men.

    He sounds like a really cool guy. My family kayaks as well. I can tell you will all miss him.