Great news! The Great German Teacher Hunt of 2008 is now officially over! We’ve found Mr. Englyng! After the search for our high school German teacher was announced in March, a few readers emailed me some research with some potential addresses and phone numbers and in April, Dwaine and I had the contact information narrowed down to 1 possibility. The address seemed to match the area we vaguely remember going to when Mr. Englyng invited a bunch of students to his house for a summer backyard party in the early 90s. It was Dwaine’s job to call, but he kept chickening out. I’m not sure what he was nervous about, but it was probably a multitude of factors: being out of touch for so long, not knowing the circumstances under which Mr. Englyng left our high school, trepidation over what state of health, mind, and/or attitude we’d find our favorite former teacher in. Yesterday, another former student of Mr. Englyng’s who was googling him in his own search for this unforgettable teacher led this student, Andrew, to my post (see link above). Andrew commented with the address and phone number he’d found (which comment was sent to my work account via email), so while I was waiting for my child molestation jury trial to begin, I thought, “What the heck” and called.
Clear male voice: Hello?
Me: (dismayed to realize I sounded like a telemarketer) Hello, may I speak to Finn Englyng, please?
Clear male voice: (suspiciously) Who is this?
Me: (overly chirpily to make up for sounding like a telemarketer) I’m actually a former student of his, I’ve been looking for him. (Now realizing with more dismay that I sound like a stalker.)
Clear male voice: This is he.
Me: Mr. Englyng, this is Cindy [last name]! I don’t know if you remember me, I took your class in high school over 10 years ago…
Mr. Englyng: I remember you!

Not only is Mr. Englyng well and happy, having retired a year ago with what he called a district “golden handshake” that was too good to pass up, but he’d gone and purchased a sailboat after retirement and has been sailing. His memory is sharp as a tack, although he is indeed diabetic like Dwaine remembered, he’s got it under control and is presently healthy, and is preparing for a month-long road trip with his wife to visit his grandkids and attend their high school graduations through the month of June. So for any of my readers or random strangers who may stumble on my site in their own search for Mr. Englyng, know that he is well and happy. *whew!* I must admit, I was scared as I prepared to call, that I would find him in failing health or in a state of senility. We reminisced for awhile, I caught him up on a few students that he remembered, and I think I surprised him as to just how big an influence he has had on the daily lives of so many of his students. Great men almost never have an idea of their own gravity, right? He’s also apparently never googled himself or he would’ve found this site.

I told him I recalled the summer party we had in his vast backyard. He chuckled and informed me that actually, his backyard is quite small. I was shocked. I remembered it as humongous. “Or maybe I was just smaller back then,” I said thoughtfully. Everything appears smaller than you remember when you revisit it, or maybe it is that memory makes things larger than life. But he is every bit as smart as I’d remembered (even though I was likely dumber back then, too). “I had no idea you’re diabetic until Dwaine told me; I remember you always having a Pepsi on your desk.”
“I had to stop doing that,” he said. “I stopped having sodas and sugar 12 years ago. People lose hands and feet and legs from diabetes.” He’s right; diabetes is serious stuff but so many people don’t bother making lifestyle changes to prevent such preventable effects of this disease. My courtroom assistant is overweight to the point she’s borderline diabetic but she claims her blood pressure’s normal and doesn’t have cholesterol problems so she’s not bothering to lose the weight or eat better. I’m glad Mr. Englyng is smart enough to know he doesn’t have to go out like that. I told him that was great because if he went into a state of denial over his health like so many people do instead of taking the bull by the horns like he did, he may not have been around to get this phone call today. I told him of all the people looking him up, both people I know and strangers who’ve found my blog, and he was surprised and touched.

On my Quotes page, I’d written long ago this little gem from Mr. Englyng:
“Go to the wedding. Because you have to go to the funeral, you should go to the wedding.”
Guess who I invited to MY wedding. He said he’d do everything in his power to be there.

When Mr. Englyng returns from his summer road trip, Dwaine and I are gonna meet up with him for lunch. I can’t wait!