Pete Springer Visits the Bar – SoCS

It’s Saturday, and it’s Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. We tend to treat this as the unofficial start of summer. When I was still working, this would be the first three-day weekend of the year. Today is a busy day at the bar. In addition to her Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt, our host, Linda G. Hill has included the possibility of bonus points. David, Cheryl and I will also be hosting a guest today. Retired teacher / author Pete Springer will be joining us. We need to see if he can help us get those bonus points if Linda approves. *

“Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is ‘sink/sank/sunk.’ Use one, use two, or use ’em all and get bonus points. Enjoy!”

* I must confess that more planning went into this post than is normal for an SoCS post. However, I’ve tried to adhere to the guidelines of the challenge.

If we were having a beer, we’d be getting ready to greet our guest.

“Good afternoon, Dan, David. I think I see your guest coming up the stairs. David, can I count on you to order your usual?”

“Yes, Cheryl.”

“I figured. I got an early start, here’s a John Howell’s special.”

“Pete, it’s good to see you. Cheryl, David, this is Pete Springer.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Pete. Dan has told us a lot about you.”

“But he didn’t tell me what you’d be drinking.”

“I’m a beer man, Cheryl, all the way. I’ll take a Corona with a twist of lime.”

“Are you going to join him, Dan?”

“Yes, Cheryl, but sink a nice size chunk of lime in mine.”

“Oh, my goodness, Dan. He’s one of you.”

“I’ll take that as a complement, David. And I’ll point out that Pete and I have one other thing in common.”

“And that would be?”

“We both started writing after we retired.”

“I heard about your book, Pete. Was that something you always wanted to do, or was it more a reflection on your career and the desire to pass something on to others?”

“You know, David, I taught for thirty-one years in grades two through six and my favorite daily part of teaching was reading to my students. I’m a bit of a ham, and it was my opportunity to act out how I imagined the author intended the characters to sound. Somewhere near the end of my career, I decided I would take a crack at writing stories for children after I retired.”

“But that wasn’t the book you wrote first, was it?”

“No, but I’m on that path now, writing for the age I know best (middle grades). I hadn’t anticipated first getting distracted by writing a book for future teachers. That happened during what I call my ‘debriefing period.’ I knew I had a lot of wisdom to offer. They Call Me Mom (an inside joke that every elementary teacher understands because kids were forever calling us ‘Mom.’) was my way of paying back a profession that had been so good to me. I retired three years earlier than planned due to some health reasons, but I still had lessons to teach. That’s where this desire to write children’s books comes from. I want to write entertaining stories with subtle lessons embedded.”

“So, you retired before Covid. Are you glad you missed that experience?”

“Yes. From talking to my former colleagues, it sounds like it was a nightmare.”

“Here are those beers. Pete, you still offer advice to teachers and people who are thinking about becoming a teacher. If someone listening to us is thinking about teaching, what’s the one thing you would tell them?”

“Teaching is a privilege, Cheryl, and great responsibility, but you can’t do it all. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat if I could with one change—to love myself as much as I loved my students. You have to find a way to make time for yourself. Too many years I ended up working myself to the bone and getting sick. When you’re trying to be a good husband, father, teacher, or friend, you can’t forget to look after yourself.”

“My brother taught middle school in Ames, Iowa for about as long as you taught elementary school. When I visit him, we’re forever running into previous students and / or parents of children he taught. Does that happen to you?”

“My oldest brother went to school at Iowa State, Dan. That happens to me all the time.”

“How does that make you feel?”

“It’s one of the best post-teaching rewards. I live in the same town I taught in and still run into former students/parents weekly. I’m invested in their lives. I stay in touch with many of them. I’ve been to countless graduations, weddings, even housewarming parties. To be included in these significant life events makes me feel AMAZING! My next blog post is about a student I just reconnected with after 40 years. He’s making movies for a living. (Lindsay Wagner of Bionic Woman fame is in his latest film.) Teaching is like reading one of the early chapters of a book and wondering how the story ends. Sometimes you find out!!! What a feeling of pride!”

“I spent several years serving on various committees related to education in our small town. I found the work rewarding but the process frustrating. I know you touch on this in your book, but can you share what you liked about teaching?”

“What I liked best is I got a chance to impact lives on a daily basis. Teaching is an investment in our future, and I know that some of my students will become leaders of the next generation. It’s the hardest yet most rewarding job I ever had.”

“People around here count on me to be the contrary old man, so can you share something you didn’t like. Perhaps just something you wish was different.”

“David, my least favorite thing about teaching is the emphasis on testing. We put a disproportionate amount of energy into it. Teaching is about relationships, not test scores!!! If you love your students, they will love you back. We can’t expect kids who don’t have enough food or a stable home to care about state tests. It’s really misguided.”

“I’ve asked Dan this question before. What surprised you about writing / publishing?”

“Much like teaching, I’ve found a wonderfully supportive community here. People look out for and try to help one another. It’s a beautiful thing.”

“You two really do have a few things in common. I think that was Dan’s answer.”

“Our daughter and I drove up the Pacific coast (Routes one and one-o-one) from San Francisco to Cannon Beach in Oregon. We stayed overnight in Eureka. We enjoyed our brief visit, but it’s quite different from towns and cities along the eastern seaboard (where it seems they sank a new pier and built a new town every ten miles). Can you share some of your history with Eureka and tell us a little about what life is like there?”

“We moved to Eureka from North Dakota when I was starting high school. It’s a unique place to live near the ocean and in the heart of the redwoods. It never gets too hot or cold, and our friends are here, so we’ll likely stay.”

“I checked the map, Pete. Eureka is isolated. I know you enjoy sports. Here in New England, we have several ‘local’ teams for each sport. Who are your favorite teams?”

“My teams make no geographic sense, David. I like the Padres in baseball, the Packers in football, and the Kings in basketball. I tend to root for the underdogs. I love sports and competition. I’ve been to a Super Bowl and the Final Four Basketball Championships. My future Bucket List sports goals include the Little League World Series and attending the U.S. Open in tennis. Our son is a college football coach, so I probably follow that sport closest of all.”

“David might roll his eyes, but you and I have an unexpected thing in common. We both visited Jennie Fitzkee’s preschool classroom. I was amazed at the experience in that room. As a teacher, it must have been especially interesting to you, especially since you’re a fan of reading aloud. How did you end up in Massachusetts.”

“One of the things on my Bucket List was to visit each of my three older brothers, as the four Springer brothers ended up in the four continental time zones. I am a big fan of good teachers, and I discovered Jennie’s blog in my early blogging days. Our teaching philosophies are so similar, and I had to meet her. I knew this was my opportunity since I was heading to New Jersey. I wrote and asked if I could visit her class. I rented a car and made the trip to Groton after flying into Boston.”

“I think I can guess, but what did you think of your visit?”

“What an amazing woman! It was everything I’d hoped for and more. I spent half of the day in her classroom and even got to read a story to her class. At first, we didn’t know if this would happen because they were just coming out of Covid. A few weeks before my trip, Jennie got the word I could visit. We had an amazing time, and I even went out to dinner with her and her husband, Steve.”

“You recently cut back on blogging to focus on writing novels…”

“Sorry to interrupt, Dan, but have you given any thought to that, you know, cutting back on blogging?”

“Let’s not distract our guest, David. Pete, can you tell us about what’s in the hopper?”

“I’ve approached this whole writing thing logically. It started as a hobby, but now I’m fully engaged. I’ve taken writing classes, joined SCBWI—Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators—found a writing critique group that meets weekly, started a blog, read books from my genre, and try to write something each day. My manuscript is off to my editor later this week. I don’t know when it will happen because I don’t focus on that. I just want it to be the best it can be. I know it will eventually happen. Cutting down on blogging was a conscious choice. I’m involved in a lot of community service projects in retirement, I’m committed to exercise, and I wasn’t finding enough time to write. I miss reading blogs daily, but I want to get to the end of the line with my own writing projects. Letting go of daily blogging gives me more time to write stories.”

“That sounds like a great approach, and it sounds like a teacher’s approach—everything has been considered. I want to thank you for visiting with us, Pete. Is there anything else you’d like to add?”

“I encourage everybody to find their passion and go for it. Do something to make the world a better place. One of the things I do right now is read to seniors, a sadly overlooked part of the population.”

“I read about that in one of your posts. That sounds like a wonderful thing to do. I may look into it.”

“You’re not going to read them your blog posts, are you Dan?”

“I have sunk a lot of time into those books, David, but I think I’d let them choose the material. Pete, again, thanks for joining us.”

“Thanks for the opportunity to ramble on, Dan.”

You can follow Pete’s blog here

You can buy his book on Amazon and follow him there so you’ll know when those next books are released.

I’m adding this reminder to all my posts this month. The Thursday Doors Writing Challenge (TDWC) is underway. Visit this page – Pick a door that inspires you – Write something, anything – Post it to your blog – Leave a link to your post in a comment on the TDWC page. If you don’t feel like writing, visit the page and see the wonderful things that have been written.

If you like magical realism with suspense, action and a bit of family sarcasm, you will enjoy these books:

The Evil You Choose
When Evil Chooses You

Series page on Amazon

My profile page (and books) on Lulu

All available on Kindle Unlimited!


  1. Cool stuff!.
    This is what I found out in your post
    This post is a great conversation with interesting insights from a retired teacher turned author.
    Thanks, Ely Shemer

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Ely. Nice to meet you. This is graduation season, so I’m late to the party because I just returned from a graduation luncheon for one of my old students. It’s nice to be still remembered by them, and I’m always excited to see what direction life will take them.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Dan it was great to meet Pete what an interesting guy and you two do have a lot in common.
    I really enjoyed the chat this morning and even learned a few things.
    David is becoming an old curmudgeon but we love him for that he keeps us all on his toes.
    Great photos as always. Hi to you all at bar it was good to join you all there.💜

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What an amazing and interesting guy Pete is! His kids must’ve loved being in class with him. How I wish I had been blessed with a teacher like him. Great day at the bar!

    Haha! Old Stink Eye has “the look” down pat.

    Rhododendrons are looking good. Like the photo of the sprinklers in the park.

    And yes, a very good weekend to be proudly displaying Old Glory.

    Enjoy this holiday weekend Dan.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I had one good teacher in elementary school, Ginger, but even she was as good as Pete or Jennie. Some were OK, a couple were downright nasty.

      That sour cat gives me than look every time I see her.

      I couldn’t choose between the flag photos, so you get a double dose. I hope you have a great weekend.


    • I calculated I’d taught well over 500 students, including many 2nd generation students. If you want to feel old, try having a parent-teacher conference with an adult who was one of your students. 🤣

      Liked by 2 people

      • Pete, our granddaughter is finishing her first year of teaching….third grade. She loves her students and they love her. I think she has found her passion and will make the most of it.

        As for me, I found a Christmas gift for her … “They Call Me Mom”! Perfect. Thank you!!

        I can only imagine being in a parent-teacher conference with an adult who once was your student. Yikes!

        Liked by 3 people

        • I had the honor of being a master teacher to four student teachers, and I still get excited when I learn about new people joining the profession. I got out right before Covid and missed out on all those challenges.

          I spent most of my early years teaching 5th-6th grade (such an impressionable age), but I taught 3rd grade for the last eight years of my career. That is such a lovely age because almost everyone still loves school. The biggest challenge for teachers is teaching students from dysfunctional homes where education is not a top priority. Thanks for choosing my book, Ginger. I wish your granddaughter the best of luck.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I can understand Pete’s wish to go to the Little League World series. The kids have fun – it seems everyone truly enjoys being there. (I’m still watching it on TV).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Depending on when I visit Pittsburgh, I might have a chance. One of the ways we can drive home takes us through Williamsport. I do enjoy watching it. I also like the NCAA Women’s Softball tournament.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, GP. Did you see that moment last year when the pitcher got upset after hitting a batter in the head? After the batter went to first base, he could clearly see that the pitcher was still upset. He called timeout, went to the mound, and hugged the pitcher. It was such a compassionate and heartfelt gesture.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. How wonderful to hear from Pete today. I didn’t realize he lives in Eureka. It’s been a long while since I visited that beautiful area. I hope you both have a great weekend. And bravo, Dan, for the clever use of the prompt! 🌞

    Liked by 2 people

  6. During all their years in school, there were probably two or three teachers who had such an impact on my children–it sounds like you would have been one of those teachers, Pete. Your passion shines through loud and clear. What a great visit this was.
    Little Mr Stink Eye is adorable, Dan. Look at that stare–such bravado! Here kitty, kitty..😸 Have a wonderful weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Teachers like Pete are rare, Lois. I can count the really good ones I had on one hand.

      Stink Eye seems to hold a grudge with me for walking Maddie past her domain. I still get that look.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I feel fortunate to have had a career where I worked with several outstanding teachers. I organize a monthly retirement lunch for our staff. We’ve had the funny experience of having some of our former students (now adults) walk in and see us all sitting there together. The looks on their faces are priceless.

      I just got word that one of my former students got hired to teach 4th grade next year in Eureka. She raised her family and went back to school to become a teacher. I’m incredibly proud of her.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. What a fabulous post, Dan! I found myself nodding, smiling and hollering ‘yes’ all the way through. Pete is one of the best teachers and human beings I have had the privilege of meeting. His visit to my classroom was the best! I’m glad you found commonalities, and I can tell you really enjoyed his visit to the bar. Thanks again! The two big flag photos were a real treat this week. 🇺🇸

    Liked by 2 people

    • I knew you’d like this post for many different reasons, Jennie, including the double flags. This was fun. I’m glad he and I share having visited your classroom. I hope you have a wonderful long weekend.

      Liked by 2 people

    • What is it with all these people wanting to meet you, Jennie? You have that effect on us—not just children. Keep changing lives, my friend. Seeing Dan engaging your students with tools was so fun for me. I know they were fascinated (with good reason).

      Liked by 2 people

      • I don’t know, I think like minds are just drawn together. Thanks so much for your kind words, Pete. I will (hopefully) keep changing lives. The children haven’t stopped talking about Dan the Tool Man. And, last year’s children talk about you on the playground. Really.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Woo-hoo! You went for the prompt’s bonus points, Dan. Nice job.
    What a fun double coincidence about Pete and Bruce.
    Pete’s dedication shines through in everything he writes. Wishing you both a lovely Memorial Day weekend. Hugs all around.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It came close to not happening for me because Jennie’s school just reopened following Covid. I still would have met Jennie and her husband, but I would have missed the opportunity to be with her students. The photo Jennie sent me with her students sits prominently in my work area.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. Thanks for the opportunity to hang out with you, Dan. I certainly didn’t expect you to weave in all my ramblings from your questions. I figured you would pick and choose. Sorry for all of the extra work this must have required. A week from today, I’ll be giving my father-of-the-groom speech, and I’ve only told myself 25 times so far to keep it short and sweet. One of my friends likes to tease me and say, “Springer has yet to find a microphone he doesn’t like.” 🤣

    Liked by 3 people

    • “Short and sweet” is not my strong suit, Pete. This is about the normal length for the posts when we have visitors. The more “rambling” I have to work with the easier it is. Congrats to your son, and good luck with that speech.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. What an inspiring post! Having been a nonprofit agency counselor for 30 years, I have the same advice about loving yourself as much as you love those you teach/counsel. I have not run into as many former clients as Pete has students, but it’s a special treat when they decide to say hello and chat a bit. Thank you, Pete for your years of service which clearly has not stopped. Thanks for having him, Dan!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Living in the same city that I taught is not something I take for granted, JoAnna. I was at a high school graduation party of one of my previous 3rd graders earlier today. You had me at “Having been a nonprofit agency counselor for 30 years. . .” The charitable acts of ordinary people make the world a better place. Thank you for what you do.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. “Teaching is an investment in our future, “. That is exactly why teachers are so important to all of us. Well, good ones. I have several that I remember from decades ago that made a difference in my life. Oh and Dan, I got bumped again. I’ll try resubscribing. I hate it when they do that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • When I think back to my elementary teachers, I have ones that made a tremendous difference in my life. In other years, I have next to no memories. That’s pretty sad. I don’t know if that says more about them or a guy with a failing memory.

      I also have 3-4 blogs to which I repeatedly have to resubscribe. I’m sure that’s just a Word Press bug, but sometimes I forget all about it until I think, “Oh, _____________ hasn’t been posting anything lately.” Then, when I check, sure enough, they have. Then I feel guilty for not having noticed earlier.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. That was an enjoyable conversation, Dan, Pete and the rest. It was a nice way to be introduced to someone! Good luck with your writing, Pete!


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