My work is pretty much all computer-based, sitting in front of the monitor for hours a day. I enjoy having music on in the background or some NPR podcasts (what’s a day without Fresh Air?) but since a lot of the work I do is technical writing, music with lyrics and shows with interviews and opinions can interfere with my writing. So recently I returned to classical music and opened a can of memories from secondary school drafting class.
Drafting was a large part of my secondary school life. After an initial mechanical drafting class in 8th grade, I studied architectural drafting for my three remaining years and became quite good at it, winning a prize at the county fair and participating in some statewide competitions through VICA – the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America – kind of a 4-H for the vocational set. It is now known as SkillsUSA.
Me, Mr. Geraci, and Marie Brown with our Santa Clara County Fair drafting trophies.
My teacher was Mr. Frank Geraci, without a doubt the teacher who had a greater influence on me than any other. In addition to teaching his students about drafting, he taught them about so many other important life skills: organization, preparation, patience, respect for the “right way” of doing things, leadership, communication, etc. He even taught us about constitutional law: though he was a faithful Catholic, he was also a staunch believer of the separation of church and state and when we would recite the Pledge of Allegiance (the the US flag) he would remain silent for the words “under God” as he believed they had no business being in there.
High school classmates Joyce and Scott.
Anyhow, back to classical music. After giving whatever instructions and announcements he might at the start of class, Mr. Geraci would set us to work and turn on the radio, which was tuned to KDFC 102.1 FM, a 64-year old San Francisco Bay Area institution that is the most listened-to classical radio station in the United States. So we would work away for the fifty minutes or however long the class period was, to the strains of Mahler, Mendelssohn, and Mozart.
Except for Fridays. On Fridays, Mr. Geraci would cede control of the tuning dial to the students so we could listen to our choice of stations, provided he could retain control of the volume dial.
So once again I find myself listening to KDFC as I diligently work, this time by streaming over the internet instead of over a decades-old stereo, making the hours go by pleasantly. And as I listen and work, I find waves of memories from nearly a quarter-century ago lapping over me.