When I was a little girl, the principal at my elementary school, PS 14, was a man named Mr. Leo Meltzer. The memory that I have of him is of a man who was always impeccably dressed – dark suit, dress shirt, tie and polished shoes. He was well respected but also was approachable and friendly. He would walk the halls of that old brick school house, nodding and smiling as he passed, and now and then he would visit our classrooms.
On one such visit he regaled my class with details of a recent trip that he had taken with his family to Mexico. At that time Mexico seemed about as far away as the moon to me and I was mesmerized. The hightlight of the story was when he told us that he had seen some folks eating sandwiches that looked delicious and he just had to have one. He ordered the sandwich and ate it hungrily. Only afterwards did he ask what exactly was in the sandwich. What he’d thought were fried onions turned out to be fried worms! The whole class erupted! Imagine eating worms! Yuck! But here was Mr. Meltzer standing before us, alive and well and chuckling. He had to be about the bravest person I’d ever seen!
I don’t know why I thought of Mr. Meltzer today, and since he died so many years ago, I could not honor him with a pie. Instead, I tried to think of someone who shared some of his qualities: approachable, friendly, well respected, willing and able to laugh. Today I decided to recognize the principal of Ashland High School, Michelle Zundel, with a pie (yet another Strawberry Rhubarb – but I promise tomorrow will be different!) in honor of Mr. Meltzer. Michelle earns her stripes everyday and I am very grateful for the care and effort that she puts forth to inspire, encourage and teach our students.