This Old Man, This Old House…What’s Up with Harry Geiser


Mr. Greg Geiser, Guest Writer, NDA Staff

Almost every day, a student or staff member asks me how my dad is doing.  Veteran staff members and some juniors and seniors remember the old math teacher who drove an old green Volkswagen, wore a red hat, and stumped through the hallways here at NDA before his retirement two years ago.

This report will tell you he’s doing just fine, though his daily life has changed drastically since you last saw him.

His main project has been the old farmhouse I grew up in.  He has, on his own, re-sided the entire house and replaced almost every window, doing some wiring and insulating along the way.  He has also added yet another deck to the second floor (this one inaccessible?).

His farming days are over as well and, since being vaccinated, he and my mom use their newfound freedom to travel the state to visit and support children and grandchildren.  He reads, he watches Fox News, he argues politics over pizza and gimlets with his favorite politically wayward offspring, and he enjoys eating at local restaurants and bringing home treats for the dog.  He lives, and enjoys the ride.  I was admittedly wrong (first time this year) about the nature of my dad’s retirement.  I expected a man who was busy teaching and farming since 1966 to feel a bit lost when faced with full days of nothing he “had” to do.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.

What I failed to recognize is that he was NEVER doing what he “had” to do.  Teaching and farming was a conscious choice, as was retiring, as is remodeling.  He is my exemplar of what a career should be, not just a job.  He still likes to hear about school and thinks of us often.  He loves hearing about students and coworkers.  He loves following our sports teams and feels proud when we win (especially against Pulaski).  He loves hearing about the long boring teacher meetings I have to attend that he doesn’t; but changes the subject when school politics comes up.  He loves telling old stories of student antics and accomplishments.  He beams with pride when he bumps into graduates doing good things and sometimes even remembers their names!

Every minute I spend with him and my mom is a reminder to treasure the time we have left.  If you’re lucky enough to still have grandparents around, take some time to sit and share a meal or a mass with them.  Try to see beyond the struggles you might have with your parents now and realize they will not be there for you forever.  The struggles will pass, you will have the opportunity to build positive adult relationships with them, and someday we’ll be left with just memories.