Walt Shaffner and his sister Mary Fischer remember their parents.
WS: Dad was a real fan of that principal in the movie Lean On Me. The principal who used to walk the halls with a baseball bat and a bullhorn. When I got the promotion to assistant principal I got this box, I got this box. There was this this tiny megaphone, this toy thing, and a tiny toy baseball bat. He sent a note with it.
MF: It says, Dear Walt, many more happy ones, when you get your next promotion to principal, I’ll make it real, bullhorn and ballbat. Love, Dad.
WS: So I had that thing, I stuck it in the window, you see it’s a little bit faded, and then of course just a few years later, dad passed away, very unexpectedly. it was a quick thing. I did get a principalship just before Dad passed away. If you remember there were all of us were assembled in church, we came back from the church, and mom made us all sit down in the living room, and she brings out this box, and a notecard. and it was a real baseball bat, and a real bullhorn.
MF: This note says congratulations, i’m proud of you walt, you’ve earned the real thing, love dad.
WS: it was a hard time to speak at that time. even now, years later, i would move from school to school. in the moves, i lost the notes. i was upset about that. you know you pack things up and move to another school, and a few years ago, in unpacking my supplies at another school i was at, i came across the notes. and as i took them out to look at them, I noticed something strange. the handwriting was different on the two notes. what I got out of that was the fact that mom was aware of the promise. the second note mom wrote.
MF: I think the fact that mom had the wherewithal to sit down and write this, as she was grieving for her husband with her children there was remarkable.
WS: That was kind of a powerful one for me. The power of a promise kept.