Opening Day Thoughts by Marty Glaser

I woke up at one thirty in the morning, and rather than bother Lenore, I went into David’s old room and started writing. I wrote three poems that would be read for me at the TOPS meeting at the Mill House on Wednesday morning. I would honor three TOPS members who lost weight and qualified for State Division weight loss recognition.

I wrote from one thirty until five am, made oatmeal, and kept writing for the Well Done Writer’s group. I was disappointed that I could not be at the opening of the John Zon Community Center on March 12th in Greenfield. The day of the opening was when I had to receive a steroid infusion at home. I was also unable to be in crowds because my immune system would be compromised.

I decided I would write about Jon Zon and how he came into my life when I was a Special Education (SPED) teacher at the Franklin County Technical/Vocational School. I will never forget his coming into my classroom on parents’ night. This short, balding man wore glasses but had a sparkle in his eyes. He asked me who I was and what I taught. Previous to that, I had never set eyes on him. I introduced myself and talked about my role in the special educational department as a math and study skills liaison between shop teachers and regular studies teachers and my students.

I told John that I was assigned to the classes to insure that my students could understand and apply math principles and calculations in their respective shops. John listened carefully to what I told him and didn’t interrupt. I said that our SPED staff had come from many schools where a strong and professional group of teachers did SPED teaching the way it should be done. I explained to John, that when our students rolled onto our campus from eighteen school districts, we first had to deal with the emotional and psychological abuse they suffered at their feeder schools where they were treated as if they were stupid and incapable of learning.

When these bruised and battered students entered my classroom, I told them, “You are great people. I will act as a liaison between you and your mainstream and shop teachers. If you cannot read well enough to take written exams, I will get the mainstream staff and shop teachers to allow me to read the exams to you. and put your answers down. I will not change your answers or cheat for you, but will be your eyes. You’ll have to think and figure out the multiple choice answers.”

We had to teach the mainstream teachers and shop teachers to allow alternative testing because each student learned differently. If students couldn’t write legibly, I would have them dictate their ideas, I would type, save, and print a copy for the student and the teachers. I would write: “Dictated to Mr. Glaser,” so the teacher would know this student should not be penalized, but judged for the quality of his thinking.

John Zon thanked me for educating him about SPED kids and left. I didn’t know I had just talked the ear off a guy who was on my own FCTS School Committee until other teachers told me who he was. When I saw Jon walking in the hallway, I stopped him and said that I hoped I didn’t make a fool of myself. John laughed, and reassured me. “I always hire the best!”

I am proud that the community center was named in John’s honor. 


Toby the Beast! by Marty Glaser


I used to walk between two houses on my way to school. The house on the left was the Williams house and the house on the right was the Shaidas’s house. There was an alley way between the two that I had to walk down to reach Anna Avenue and Lenox Street to get to Silver Lake School.

The Williams family had a huge beast of a dog they called Toby. Toby would sit out on the front porch behind a plate glass window.  Every time I walked past Toby, I would talk to myself and say,” Nice Toby!  Be a good dog to me!”  I swear he could sense that I was petrified by his presence on his porch. I was afraid to even look at him so I never made eye contact with the beast.

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Glaser’s Laws of Economics  by Marty Glaser

My mother and father taught me Glaser’s Laws of Economics.  They drummed them into my head and my brother’s head thoroughly.

My folks got married during the Depression and scraped and saved. They never let anything be considered junk; everything was used. When my dad started his dental practice in Athol it took him many years to establish himself and make any money. But they had faith in
G-d’s plan for them, faith in the goodness and honesty of most people, and faith that things would get better.
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A Time Before GPS by Marty Glaser

I remember long ago learning to study maps when I was planning a trip. After deciding what roads I would drive, I wrote out the directions North and South with the road between arrows. I could quickly glance at my route chart without going back to the map. On the initial and return trips, I employed the same technique, which I found extremely useful.

I was pretty good at getting someplace the first time. I also seemed to be pretty good at getting back home. I utilized the “Take a picture” in my head of locations, buildings, names of stores, etc. Once I had gone some place, I always seemed to be able to return.

This skill was acquired when I was fifteen and a half years old. If my parents allowed me to drive their car, they made sure I drove carefully and with respect, and provided the necessary care for their vehicle. My father taught me to change tires, check the battery, and radiator fluid. Topping off the windshield wiper fluid and checking the windshield wipers for cracks was standard procedure in our family.
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