Memories of My Dad, the English Teacher

John Hopkins at the Pike School

I’m not sure who took this photo; it’s my dad, sitting at his desk in his classroom on the second floor of the upper school building of the Pike School. The kind folks in the Office of Advancement at Pike scanned it from a yearbook. I remember my dad taking many of the photos in the Pike yearbook each year; he was far more often behind the camera than in front of it (and quite often down in the basement of our house, in his improvised darkroom in the way back, near our washer and drier). His best friend was also an amateur photographer; perhaps he took it?

I love this photo. The thick glasses mean that it was taken after he had cateract surgery; before that, his eyesight was perfect. He was a Navy pilot, after all. But the glasses plus the mussed hair remind me of the New England Protestant Woody Allen character he had.

I don’t remember the mug with fish on it.

My guess is that he’s either reading The New Yorker or The New York Times Book Review, propped up on top of a few textbooks—can you make out the worn spines?

I remember those white cinderblock walls; I remember the sound of those locker doors; I don’t remember where the door in the back of the photo went—I think it just led to the classroom next door, which had picture windows that I think faced west, which might explain the late-afternoon light coming in through that tall rectangular strip.

Former students and former fellow teachers have written some kind and thoughtful things in his memory at the Pike School Facebook page. E.g.: “[A] wonderful colleague and human being!” Yes.

“Rest In Peace Hop.” Yes.