by Katy Kappele
My father’s office smelled like garlic bread. It isn’t a particularly important memory, but it is a poignant one. Memories associated with scent tend to be very strong, because the olfactory bulb is part of the limbic system, that basic lizard section that inhabits the deepest parts of our oh-so-advanced brains, and governs all of our visceral responses.
I’m actually not sure why it was ever important to me that my father rented an office above an Italian restaurant in Anacortes, but at one point in my life it was vitally important to me. Perhaps it was because my dad always came home smelling like garlic, or because it was really cool that he worked above an Italian restaurant.
My heroes wouldn’t fit in very well with Superman and Batman. Batman had all those cool gadgets, and Spiderman had an awesome costume and Superman flew. My heroes smelled like garlic bread, and lotion, and freshly mowed grass.
What exactly makes someone a hero? I think it’s safe to say that it isn’t a cape or a snazzy emblem, because the bad guys have those things too. Undoubtedly it lies in the inherent ability to be good, to inspire, and to do the right thing, no matter how hard it is.
You don’t need to be bitten by a radioactive spider to do the right thing or to inspire. My brother David met Carol Reed-Jones in the first grade, and she taught him how to play the recorder. By the third grade, he was really bored, and he wanted to play the clarinet instead. She let him. After all, good teachers inspire. David now wants to be a composer and has been to State Honor Band several times, and has performed in Washington D.C. in the National Honor Band, both for the clarinet. I’d say the teacher that inspired him to learn music counts as a hero.
My incredible parents, who inspire me at every turn to do whatever I want to, and some things I really don’t, but should, and my brother, who can always cheer me up, are of course some of my most enduring heroes.
Outside of my family, though, I do have a personal hero. Before my freshman year in high school, I would rather have done five laps around a hippo-infested swamp at a run and played kickball for five hours rather than learn history (which if you know me really says how much I hated it).
My freshman year at Mount Baker High School changed that. That was the year I met Kelly Grayum, a history teacher who taught me to love history, inspired me to learn about people, made my day better every time I saw him, and moved me to join my high school paper.
I would be a very different person had I not met him. Personally, I’m pretty crazy about who I am today. I take on responsibility, I help out, I don’t do drugs or commit crimes. I even park pretty darn well. I want to do something with history and anthropology as a career.
And, of course, I’m on the Horizon.