Good People Make a Difference

When I was young and very foolish I got kicked out of High School and moved 100 miles from my home to live with my sister Astrid and her family. To be honest I was suspended from school for 3 days and it was decided that I should go to my sister’s home. This was my Junior year in High School and it was just the start of Basketball season. I missed the rest of Basketball because my folks did not move with me so I couldn’t participate in my new school’s Basketball program because of the Montana State High School rules.

I was very hateful and bitter. I loved Basketball more than life itself and to watch my new classmates go to practice and play games that I couldn’t participate in I was very resentful. It took years to realize that I was to blame for all of this situation and there was no one, absolutely no one to blame but myself. At that time I was mad at the world and all the people in it. I blamed everyone for my problems when it had been me and my temper who had gotten me into this jam in the first place.

Russell Crites at 17 - Montana Musings

Looks like he’s got everything figured out at 17..not so fast buck-oo

Part of my problem when I went to my new school was that they didn’t offer Chemistry that particular year and I’d already invested about a third of a year in this course. This added to my bitterness and bad feeling. I don’t know if my new High School talked to my old High School or if my Chemistry teacher just saw a need and filled it. Mr. Russell Hendrickson, my chemistry teacher, volunteered to send me my lessons and have someone in my new High School administer the tests. I finished the year in Chemistry and got an A-.  He surely didn’t have to do this, I certainly didn’t deserve it after what me and my temper had pulled when I left. I felt some gratitude then, but now as I look back I’m overwhelmed with gratitude because of your kindness to a lost soul, Mr. Hendrickson. My life is scattered with great people and this fine man and teacher sure as hell made a difference in mine. Thank you, sir, may you Rest In Peace. There is no doubt in my mind that the good Lord welcomed you home.


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  1. Susan Bliss says:

    Oh Russ, this just gave me the chills when I read it. Mr Hendrickson was one of my all time favorite teachers!! He did go above and beyond for you (and probably for others unknown) didn’t he – how awesome. I remember his smile so well. I baby sat for them in Malta one summer. What a great family. One of my regrets is that I didn’t get to tell him (OR Mr. English) what they meant to me before they passed away. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Teddi Copenhaver says:

      Dear Susan and Russell,
      I am touched deeply at your kind and heartfelt words regarding my father, Russell Hendrickson. I can hardly believe that it has been 20 years since he has passed away. Your story brings back memories and warm thoughts. Yes he was strict, but that was because he cared…he had a great love for people and the best sense of humor. Do you remember his Hawiian lady tattoo? It makes me laugh when I think back :). Thank you for your memories…

      • Slim says:

        Teddi, I’m sure glad you got to read this. It is heartfelt. Your Dad had nothing to do with me leaving and he always treated me well. I do remember the tattoo. Good to make contact. God Bless.

  2. Susan Bliss says:

    Oh and by the way – that pic is the “boy” I remember – that’s a good one.

  3. Slim says:

    Susan I think that is some of my biggest regrets that I didn’t say what I should have to people before they were gone. I try to do better now.
    That guy in the picture wore a lot smaller clothes I think.

  4. Nikki Alaee says:

    I love that picture of you! I am pretty sure every 17-year old knows everything. 🙂 Some where along the way….you realize that you don’t.

  5. Slim says:

    Some realize sooner than later, and some never realize…The lucky ones figure it out before too much stuff has to happen.

  6. Tim Mack says:

    Fine people live on forever, so long as someone tells these kind of stories about them.

    • Slim says:

      When people touch our lives I hope I’m aware enough to see what I need to learn. Life puts people around me every day to learn from. I appreciate it so much as I travel along my way.

  7. Michelle says:

    Thanks for sharing. .There have been many people in my life who have helped me along the way, too. Hopefully I can pay it forward..Please keep your stories coming..I’ve enjoyed every one! (As well as the comments -we are all connected-we can all relate) God Bless!

  8. Slim says:

    Michelle, Thanks again for coming by and for your comments.. I try to help along the way today, as that’s all we have for sure..

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