A Special Treat
by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
Driving to Norwalk, Connecticut from central New Jersey was hard for me on an early Wednesday morning. But it was so worth it! I was on my way to Norwalk Community College. With me I had a very precious shoe box, but no shoes. Its value was worth far more than the shoes that had originally come in it. I was excited. This was a big day for me. And for my father. That's right. My father, Dr. Harry A. Becker. I miss him so much and of course still love him dearly. It is hard to believe that he died seven years ago! As sad as that was and is, April 5, 2006 was a very happy day, for both my dad and me. Even in the car, I felt his presence and his pleasure. I was doing the right thing.

Some of you may be unclear as to what this little adventure was all about. Stay with me. Soon it will all be clear. In l961 my father was the Superintendent of Schools in Norwalk, Connecticut. He was also one of the founders and the first President of the Norwalk Community College. For years he had a dream of starting the first community college in the state of Connecticut in Norwalk. Finally, with lots of back room negotiating in the legislature in Hartford, the dream came true. For the first years the high school housed the college, in the late afternoons and evenings. Semester by semester the college grew and when my dad stepped down as President in 1966 the college was well on its way to becoming a major community college. Check it out at Norwalk Community College . Now close to 12,000 full and part-time students attend the school. It has a lovely campus and buildings and just take a look at the programming! I would love to take courses there myself.

So, let's go back to my personal adventure this day. When I arrived at NCC the 2006 Academic Festival was already in progress. Lots of wonderful programs were going on. All day students attended lectures around the theme: Social Justice and Education: fitting the pieces together. But it was the 12:00 program I was rushing to. The one titled: Dr. Harry Becker Archives, Library. Now do you have a clue as to what made the shoe box in the back seat of my car so precious?
A Special Treat continued...
I was bringing to the library the first batch of materials from my father's writings and photographs to begin his archives. I had selected out some wonderful photographs of him at different stages of his career. Also, I had found a resume from this mid-30's that could knock your socks off! He had already been acting principal of a school, a guidance director and professor. And he had completed a Ph.D. in Psychology at Yale University. That was quite an accomplishment for the son of immigrants. He was the first to attend college in his family.
I had also put in the box one of the original copies of The Norwalk School Improvement Program. The Norwalk Plan was an outstanding project in the 60's that my father helped to start that included a large grant from the Ford Foundation for Team Teaching and other innovative strategies such as creative thinking and split-shift teaching. A major part of the philosophy of this Plan was to introduce "innovations as soon as possible." Norwalk employed "educational practices of proven worth but not yet common among American school systems." For example, my father realized that if two teachers split one teaching job, one coming in the A.M. and the other in the P.M., each would do more than 50% of the work. This would benefit the children and the families of the teachers. A mother out of the house for 4 hours, rather than 8, can make a big difference when there are young children. 

I carried my box in carefully and fell into the arms of several 'old-timers' who worked with my dad, either through the Board of Education or in the school system, including Lenore Mintz, a dear friend of my dad's. I presented my box of treasures to the President of the college, Dr.Levenson. Pictures were taken and "Ooh's and ah's" were exchanged as I showed some of the contents. 

This ceremony was followed by lunch with the President. The cooking school at the college had prepared a gourmet lunch for this special day. As I ate my salmon sandwich and sipped soda water from Italy, I could only think how lucky I was to be able to share in the festivities of the Academic Festival and to be able to make sure my dad's legacy as a great administrator would be accessible for future generations to study.

There are all kinds of forms of experiencing one's Enchanted Self. This was one of the best. I had done a good deed, I had experienced pleasure and I had been true to both myself and my dad. How could I not have a positive sense of well-being? April 5th was a gift. 

May we all be blessed with gifts that bring us home so beautifully to our Enchanted Selves!

Please write me and tell me if you have had a similar day-of course the circumstances may differ, but the feelings can be very much the same. I'd eager to hear from you!


                                                                                              by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

 

© The Enchanted Self

 •E-mail Dr. Barbara •E-mail Web Mistress •Site Map •Home •Contact

This page is best viewed with Microsoft Internet Explorer at 800 X 600 pixels. 
THE ENCHANTED SELF® is a registered trademark of Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein.
© Copyright THE ENCHANTED SELF 2000-2006. All rights reserved.