A History of Me... Part I

by John Bryan

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A History of Me… Part I

If all goes well, the drive from parts of North Carolina to Oklahoma takes 17 hours (minus the optional half-hour nap in Arkansas or Tennessee). When things go wrong, horribly wrong, it could take 23 hours. I learned that when I visited Oklahoma about a year and a half ago.

For me, this is a return trip to Oklahoma. A year and a half ago, I was hired in January to complete the year for another school system. During that brief 6 months, I grew to appreciate Oklahoma’s beauty, culture and people. Other than the heat, this has been a welcomed return.

I was born and raised in Kings Park, Long Island; a small town that resembles Claremore. The population size, for example, is nearly identical. I graduated from a High School class of 300 students. Also, I grew up riding passenger trains, and my father and both his parents worked for the railroad; so, Claremore’s train whistle brings an old, familiar ring.

I moved often since leaving New York. I went from NY to GA to SC to NC to SC to NC to OK to VA to NC and now OK. Lately, my family hasn’t been quite so nomadic. James, a city attorney and my little brother by 8 years, lives in Lumberton, NC with his wife and plethora of pets. Mike, who earned a doctorate degree in education and works someplace where he seemingly plays golf all day, is also my older brother by 11 months. He lives in Chesapeake, VA with his wife and plethora of kids (my nephew and two nieces, with whom I worked diligently and incessantly to earn the title “Greatest Uncle” – Hint: mudslinging, literally, helps).

My parents, married for more than 40 years, live in North Carolina. My father is retired from the railroad, and spends his time trying to keep busy. My mother, who came to America during the Hungarian Revolution, volunteers for Red Cross and attends the Spanish church regularly (she doesn’t speak the language, but enjoys it just the same).

I have more than eleven years of college under my belt, and the student loans to match. I attended Hofstra University in NY, with a major in psychology and a minor in fine arts. Sometimes I wonder if I’d prefer being a starving artist rather than a starving psychologist. I continued to graduate school working towards elementary school teacher certification, but moved to Georgia for graduate degrees in school psychology. I am a school psychologist by profession, but also served as lead psychologist, special education coordinator, discipline coordinator and administrator for an extended school year program. I worked in big, urban school systems and small, country school districts (personally, I prefer the small towns). Also, I earned a law degree after attending four years of evening school. With no intention of becoming a lawyer, I did it as a “hobby” – I know, I know… next time I will take up sewing.

I hesitate to list current hobbies, as it would reveal an essentially disinteresting person. So, in lieu of that, I will list quirky facts: Quirky Fact #1: In the last 15 years or so, I have set an alarm clock maybe 4 times. Quirky Fact #2: I don’t own a comb (for those seeing my hair, this comes as no surprise). Quirky Fact #3: For about 3 months, somewhere in between psychology jobs, I worked as a car salesman. Quirky Fact #4: My new apartment has the following furniture: a lawn chair, a little table that goes with the lawn chair, two somewhat fluffy blankets (which constitutes my bed), and three pillows. And, honestly, I probably don’t need the little table or at least two of the pillows.

I am new to this area and still exploring some, but I am learning a lot from the locals. For example, there is a Chinese restaurant nearby that has awesome eggrolls (and another, reportedly, that sells horrible eggrolls – but I can’t remember which is which). I learned that, in Claremore, ‘The Train’ is a built-in excuse for tardiness. I learned that people from this area are proud of their hometown, and I am learning that they have many reasons to believe so.

So, thank you for allowing me the privilege to be part of Claremore Public Schools and the Claremore community.

 

A History of Me... Part I

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