Sometimes news hit's you and makes you stop in your tracks, rewinds and fast forwards the years all at the same time. The news I received Saturday night after a show I was on at The Brokerage Comedy Club in Bellmore did that. I found out that a former teacher of mine, Mr. Jack Rice had passed away a week or so before. I was brought back to 7th grade English and right back to 2016 in a heartbeat.
I was never a good student, or that into school, but I have a few teachers that have stuck with me and who I think about from time to time, Mr. Rice was defiantly one of those teachers. I liked Mr. Rice from day one, he seemed like a former hippie, cool, laid back guy who treated his students like adults, didn't talk down to us and always made time for us.
Mr. Rice was always giving us great writing assignments that forced us to use our creativity. One of my favorite assignments Mr. Rice gave was to write an original version of a sit com, guess it was kind of the first spec script I wrote. This was 1992, so everyone is the class wrote about the show 'Martin', I wrote about 'All In The Family'. Was the first time a teacher I admired said in front of the class that I was creative. He commended me on thinking outside the box.
Anyone who attended Grand Avenue knew that Mr. Rice took the train to work and would see him walking to and from school. I walked with him many times talking movies and TV shows, or just about life in general. I can't think of a student who didn't like Mr. Rice, or said anything negative about him
As the years went on from 7th grade Mr. Rice and his class always stuck with me. One of those teachers I always wanted to bump into as an adult and get the chance to have a conversation, never happened. Even though it's been over 20 years since the last time I saw Mr. Rice I am going to miss him, he was a great teacher and an even better person. I didn't get a chance to pay my respects to Mr. Rice and his family, I had found out about his passing after the services. Just wanted to write a little something here and share a few memories of someone who I will always admire and who will be missed.