Missive to Alice (1912)
“The days are cold and dark and dreary, it rains and the wind is never weary,” and I am poring o’er my papers and books, while the mud-washed lanes are running like brooks. But the rains must come and the winds must go, for everything’s ordered for the best you know; and while I am safe ‘neath my own roof-tree, I am glad that Dame Nature is fair and free. She sends warm breezes in the silent hours; she is generous with her gifts of flowers. So from open window I view the cloud of orchard blossoms, that fairly shroud the old back lot, which was bare and drear, and they fill the air with their fragrant cheer; so what have I got to complain of, dear?
The rain rivulets on the boughs of the trees are rushing the flowers to cheer the birds and the bees and quicken to life the seed in the soil, which gives us our guerdon for patient toil. The sun, it will ripen the fruit by and by and dispel with the mist the sad fruitless sigh; so may we rejoice and smile at the gloom, while visions of gardens and fields in their bloom make us think of the time when you will return, and then shall I riot in things that I yearn.
And, dear, I am thinking of you in the day when the skies are blue or when they are gray. The rain does not dampen the love that is true and gloom’s ashamed when I confront her with you. So, dear, do not fret when the lines fail to come just on time from the old Pennsy hill-side home; you know there are hearts that are yet full of love and dreams that are fragrant with thoughts from above, for the dear one away from the old roof-tree and all that are good they are wishing for thee.
My Connection with and My Activities at the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf
Note: We are happy to give our readers the following modest report on Mr. Teegarden’s work in our school. The activities of this grand old man who gave almost fifty years to the school would fill an interesting volume.
The Editor, The Western Pennsylvanian [June 4, 1936]
In presenting this paper I did not intend to give a full history of the school but only my own connections, theories, and practice through my 48 years of service there, and my own doings as a shuttle weaving in and out through the various departments of the school.
The school as an organized Institution was founded by John G. Brown, D. D., who had taken great interest in the Pittsburgh dayschool.
As a residential school it was started at Turtle Creek in October, 1876, with Mr. James H. Logan, M. A. as acting principal.
I graduated from Gallaudet College, June 1876, and was appointed teacher on the recommendation of Dr. E. M. Gallaudet, then president of the college.
Aside from the principal I was the first teacher appointed to a position at the new institution. There I took charge of the highest class which then was composed of two or three divisions or grades about the middle of October of that year.
Besides teaching these grades six hours a day, I acted as boys’ supervisor out of school hours. Also we had then two hours of study supervision in the evenings. So summing up I was on duty one way or another 8 or 10 hours daily for the first two or three years. Besides these duties I joined with the other teachers and the principal in writing and adapting popular stories for pupils’ reading and these were published in the then popular Raindrop.
In later years I also wrote and had printed at the school another volume, entitled Stories, Old and New. These stories and others that followed were produced as a means to encourage the reading habit in our pupils.
At one of our teachers’ meetings I presented a paper entitled “The Work Method” and argued that theories of instruction do not amount to much unless proved through earnest and energetic practice—that is, through earnest study and hard work. Much of this preparation could be done outside the school room hours. It did not strike my audience as of much consequence; it required too much concentration on their work and consumption of leisure time.
I spent one summer vacation in my Congressman’s printery and learned the fundamentals of the printing trade and some time after that I was able to start the printery at the school. We began with a second-hand job press and a few trays of type. This was commenced in January of that year—1884—and by June of that year, also, we were able to print the Closing Day program as well as reading stories and news items. This service I volunteered without any extra compensation but the success of the demonstration induced the Board to pay me in part for the time spent and fixed a regular salary for the following years. I continued as instructor and started the school’s regular publications.
The growth and work of the printery in addition to my regular classroom work was getting too big for me so I retired for one who could give his whole time to the business. This finally came to Mr. H. L. Branson, a thorough-going printer in all departments. He was also editor of school publications.
Later on when Mr. Branson’s health failed, I was put in charge of the enlarged printery while he took a vacation. He did not last long, however, after he returned and I was again shoved into the printery.
The next comer was Mr. A. D. Hays but because of failing health he did not last long and retired in December of the same year. In January I was shoved into the office again and carried on till the close of school in June.
Other printers came and went and as before I was there to wait for their successors.
All my life I was interested in carpentry and cabinet-making so when the Board decided to start the industrial departments, I was able to introduce the first carpenter and cabinet maker in the person of Mr. A. A. Jack: also the wood carver, Mr. A. Seidel. Samples of their teaching and work are still about the apartments.
There were other interests about the school that I helped to advance but this is sufficient to show my whole-hearted interest in the school and its products.
George M. Teegarden
A Pleasant Summer Trip (1916)
I have never been much of a traveller. Homeland has always seemed good enough for me, so when I was persuaded to try a 3,600-mile cruise on the Great Lakes I had some misgivings; but when it was all over I could but admit it was something worthwhile.
The trip was made under most auspicious circumstances. During the hottest spell the first part of August the twelve days on the lakes were most agreeable and pleasant from end to end. No rough weather was encountered and the lakes, they said, were unusually placid and smooth, although it was cool enough for overcoats at times.
We boarded the South American at Cleveland and sailed to Buffalo during the night. Having a whole day at the latter city, we trollied to Niagara Falls and viewed again these famed wonders of nature. From Buffalo we proceeded to Detroit, that city where automobiles are turned out by the thousands every day. In the Ford establishment one group of workmen assemble an auto every twenty minutes and there are many such groups working at the same time to turn out their enormous output.
The sail through Lake St. Clair, the St. Clair ship canal and past the noted St. Clair Flats was full of interest and novelty. The lines of summer cottages and hotels which border the channel and St. Clair Flats seemed, from the steamer, to be a foot or so above the water and are separated singly or in groups by passages or canals, so that boats are necessary for intercourse. It was all very interesting.
Across Lake Huron we reached Mackinaw Island where another picture is presented. Its village, magnificent hotel, and high, rocky bluffs, crowned with old block houses and barrack buildings are worth seeing. Here is one spot where the auto has not invaded nature’s domain. They are excluded and the horse is still king. One half of the island is reserved for a state park and presents many features of scenic beauty.
The St. Mary’s river, the cities of Soo, the rapids and the great Soo locks through which hundreds of steamers pass daily, were all full of interest.
Crossing Lake Superior we neared the northwestern coast on the way to Ft. William at the head of Canadian navigation. Land appears and we think we will soon be in port, but for hours the same headland seems as far off as ever. No wonder, for this was Thunder Cape towering up 1,400 feet, guarding the entrance to Thunder Bay, on the shores of which Fort William and Fort Arthur are developing into mighty cities. Just behind Thunder Cape is the Sleeping Giant, a curiously shaped island which from the bay resembles a mighty figure seemingly at rest.
Duluth was reached in the early morning when the sun revealed the city in all her glory. We cannot begin to tell of all that interested us here. From the boulevard drive along the crest of her mighty hill we got a view of much of the beauty and interests of the city.
A bird’s eye view revealed East Duluth, her ore docks, lumber docks, grain elevators, line upon line of ore trains, ore steamers coming and going, and other features, all of which presented Duluth’s commercial enterprise and greatness.
The 30,000 islands in Georgian Bay cannot be forgotten. Transferring to a smaller steamer we threaded our way in and out and around thousands of islands, large and small, some bare rock, others crowned with verdure, some low, some precipitous, but all most novel and interesting. This seems to be the mecca for summer sojourners for thousands of cottages and hotels appear as we proceed from Penetang at the south to Parry Sound at the north.