Thursday, January 14, 2010

Jack T. Kirby

Many of you know that I attended Miami University and hold a BA in American Studies and German Literature. In four short weeks I will have my MBA. Talk about well rounded ;)

While at Miami I had the privilege of being in Jack Kirby's American History Survey, from 1850-now. Awesome class. Just awesome. He lectured like a dream. He stood up there and told us a story... every M-W-F, at 8 am. I will admit I was smitten. His southern accent and his story-telling skills. It was as if he was on the stage... it was not a lecture, but a conversation, like a great recital of events.

I also was the only one paying attention sometimes. Taking notes feverishly. Most people slept. It was 8 am after all.

One cold February morning, I was paying rap attention to his explanation of the Gilded Age, when out of now where he threw something my direction. I looked up and noticed, that the entire lecture hall was seemingly asleep - expect me.

Then he took a stack of books from his bag and threw them down on the desk, making a huge bang. Like an explosion.

"Young lady, what was it I was saying?"

He was starring at me and pointing.

In a quiet voice, I read back from my notes. Totally embarrassed.

"Thank you kindly ma'am for your attention to the key events and details. For those you just joining us, we were discussing XYZ and I would appreciate your attention please."

He carried on. Point made, I suppose.

Afterward, as we walked out he smiled at me and tipped his hat. He wore a civel war style cap. Like an officer I suppose. It was odd, but then one is allowed such idiosyncratic hats when one is a history professor.

He also attended my Honors project presentation and kindly made some comments. He really was a great story teller. That is what history is. The recording of past events, their examination. It is not as objective as many a high school history teacher would lead you to believe.

May his contribution to history live on.

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