To the Edtior: Like many Mad-Wad grads, I had Hal for 9th grade Earth Science and 12th grade Physics. I am pretty sure it was early on in Earth Science when I returned home to my family with the …
To the Edtior:
Like many Mad-Wad grads, I had Hal for 9th grade Earth Science and 12th grade Physics. I am pretty sure it was early on in Earth Science when I returned home to my family with the rather glum report "Mr. Oney called me a jerk." I no longer remember the circumstances that triggered this negative analysis of my Earth Science potential, but later in the year I was happy to report "Mr. Oney shook my hand." Later, possibly in Physics, I told my family, "Mr. Oney wonders where you are sending me to school, the University of Beirut?"
These are all the academic memories I have of Hal (who I never called "Hal" in life, so I will stop doing it now). I have many others, all related to his sharp wit and somewhat acerbic tongue. How about "Heifer Dust," his moniker for our award winning choir (Stardust--Thanks Mrs. Hubbard). He also had the habit of referring to the school as the "Madrid-Waddington School of Fine Arts"--a not so sly jab at our very well produced and directed (thank you Mr. Ruddy) plays and even more elaborate musical productions.
Occasionally he would wax philosophical--generally about his past. We were regaled with accounts of great fitness achievements made possible by carrying cases of beverages up many flights of stairs and we were assured that while he might be less built now (now that he no longer had to tote 5 cases of Coca Cola up 5 floors) his muscle was still there, only "more compact" (of course).
Once, when regaling us about the post-nuclear future that would face us all, he nodded sagely and paused. We all waited to hear what came next, all of us that weren't asleep that is. Then, he asked the class "Why will Plastino and I survive...?" Nobody could guess, but the question was rhetorical anyway--he leaned forward and sagely tapped his prominent proboscis--"better filter plants", he said! Yes, there was a little science in every show.
He could also talk sensibly to kids about any topic. I recall a day in Physics that turned into an insightful discussion involving the drinking habits of one (very forthcoming) student and an eventual diagnosis of "binge alcoholism." I don't think anyone had explained the risks of casual drinking so thoroughly in a hundred DARE classes or student councils. Just Say No To Drugs was a more nuanced program in Mr. Oney's hands.
He was a great guy and an even better teacher. To this day I wish I could consider myself an Earth Scientist--thank you Mr. Oney. Vale Mr. Oney. Vale. This the solemn testimony of a former student. Amen.
Madrid-Waddington Class of 1984