Saturday, August 8, 2009

Diane Orgill Chatwin

June 17 at 11:16am

Sharon, I spent a good half an hour writing all of my memories of Mr. Javens and when I was about to send it to you, somehow I lost the whole thing. Aargh! So here we go again. . . .

What can I say about Mr. Javens? Let me start by being honest. My crush on him started my first day of summer band as a 9-year-old, and it continued until. . . well, actually, it never really ended. Through all the years I knew Mr. Javens, I remember wondering how our little town got so lucky to have him there. And that wasn't just because the girls and their mothers were swooning (my aunt called him Mr. Hunkarooni). It was because of the talent, knowledge, refinement, and class he brought to our school.

I have many fond memories of band trips, parades, and games. But most of my memories of Mr. Javens come from the years of daily band classes. He is an oft-quoted fellow in my home. "That is our modus operandi" is something I can be heard saying, not to mention "pathetic," "mellifluous," and "cacophonous." He taught that anything worth doing is worth doing well.

I loved that Mr. Javens didn't take any crap or let anything slide, but he didn't lose his cool either. He could be friendly and fun or serious and stern, but he was always classy and in control.

One day I was trying to explain the 1st clarinet part to one of my fellow band students, but I made the mistake of doing it while Mr. Javens was talking. I received a stern reprimand in front of the whole band that nearly brought me to tears. After class, Mr. Javens called me into his office and apologized. He told me that if he could do it over, he wouldn't react that way, because I am sensitive and he recognizes that. He told me he appreciates and enjoys having me in band. It meant so much to me that he cared enough to do that. As I was leaving, he gently reminded me that in the future, I should remember not to talk while he is talking. :)

One other thing I remember is that Mr. Javens never did his teacher lunch duty. He paid Mrs. C to do it for him. Too funny!

Besides nine years of band, I took U.S. History and Psychology from Mr. Javens. He sparked my life-long fascination with the Civil War by showing us the Ken Burns documentary. I also remember a psychology experiment he concocted one day. He purposely came to class late and arranged for Mr. Green and Bruce Coon to have a big, loud argument in the hall. When Mr. Javens finally got to class, he was so cool and nonchalant, we never suspected a thing. Only after we were inside the classroom did we find out it was a lesson in psychology. I've always remembered that interesting little experience and other things I learned in that class. I ended up getting a psychology minor.

One of the greatest compliments of my life came in a letter of recommendation Mr. Javens wrote for my college scholarship application. He wrote, "I think very highly of Diane, and I find it a decided pleasure to afford her my highest recommendation." It just doesn't get much better than that -- a perfectly crafted compliment from one of my favorite, most admired, most respected teachers.

I became a better musician and better student because of my association with Mr. Javens. Thanks, Dr. J! Happy birthday! --Diane Orgill Chatwin

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