Thursday, February 4, 2010
Saturday, January 31, 2010, a man I worked with for ten years and have been a friend of his it feels like forever passed away. In 2009 he was diagnosed with brain cancer and I think we all knew this day was coming. He was the director of the Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium at Buffalo State College and by far has been my favorite boss in all my jobs.
I sit down and think about all we have gone through. We went to Florida to view Halley's Comet, or as I called it Halley's Fuzzy Cotton Ball. I still remember his ray gun that he kept in his office desk drawer. I wonder how many times I was "shot" by that gun.
His favorite planetarium shows to do in my memory were the pre-school shows. He loved the children and had a great connection with them. He had a box of puppets that he used for this age group. If I recall there was a dog (for Canis Major) and a Bear (Big and Little Bear) but there was third one too. I can't remember what the third puppet was. I wonder if the puppets still are in that brown cardboard box tucked away behind the ring of seats that circled the room?
He and I worked on many special projects together. We were downtown one year for an Imagination Celebration. We had star-wheels that the children could assemble when they stopped at our table. It was a hot sunny day and we had so much fun working with the children and helping them build their own star-wheel so they could go home and identify the stars and constellations in the sky.
I truly believe it was through working with Art at the planetarium that I found my passion of working with children. He and I both loved to work one on one with the children who visited the planetarium and we would often volunteer to go out in the public to bring the love and joy of astronomy to them.
Art was there when I started my journey of teaching. I wish he could have seen me get my teaching degree. The last time I saw him he wrote me a wonderful letter of recommendation for my Masters of Elementary Education program. He was trilled that I had decided to go back to school and get my masters degree. He knew that working with children was my passion and he helped me get that acceptance letter last summer.
Farewell my friend. I thank you for all you have done for me over the past 25 years. I will think of you often as I teach and bring joy to faces of children in a planetarium. It is because of you that I am who I am today.