Maybe you, too, were impacted on some deep level you can say you carry with you some 5 decades later. If you can say so, you were and are as Blessed as I have been in being a child of 7 and 8 years old when I was introduced to Walt Whitman High School and my favorite fictional teachers like Lloyd Haynes, or who I like to call MY “Mr. Dixon.”
Growing up in the Midwest in the late 1960s and early 1970s, I fell in love with the whole idea of seeing people without seeing color. Diversity was prevalent in our city of Columbus, Ohio, but not as much in the outlying suburbs of our city, where my Family and I lived, and where I went to Elementary School, with a dream of attending my eventual home of my suburban High School which would look like the fictional Walt Whitman High School in its diversity, and where new generations of culture and ethnicity would be prominent; where my leaders, mentors, and teachers would look like MY “Mr. Dixon;” where I’d receive an education which would encompass and encourage multicultural studies. But those things would only become a part of my creative imagination. It is why, therefore, ROOM 222 and MY “Mr. Dixon” would have a lifetime and profound influence in and on my life’s passions and work, and why Lloyd Haynes is a human being I revered as one of my beloved Heroes I’ll never forget.
Through Lloyd’s beautiful wife Carolyn, I have been Blessed to recall and be reminded of my most cherished memories of both her work and that of Lloyd’s, and to go back to a place in time where my dreams were just beginning, and my hopes never an impossible nor improbable reality or possibility. For these deeply-rooted longings and life’s purpose and desire, I will always hold Lloyd and Carolyn Haynes in the highest esteem, and they’ll always be connected to me as part of the person in me their work helped to shape and mold, and that, my friends, is what life and the arts and the power of the medium of film and television are all about. I am forever grateful to Lloyd and Carolyn for their monumental positive impact on the hearts and minds, dreams and goals of people who were once children like I was, with aspirations to be just like they were–individuals who played a significant role in society for the betterment of humankind. And if you, too, were impacted by two people who forever changed the trajectory of your life like Lloyd and Carolyn Haynes did mine, then you, too, are as Blessed as I was then and now.
Mr. Dixon, until I see you in my beloved ROOM 222 again, don’t forget to leave the light on for me.
MORE TO COME ON AN INCREDIBLE TRUE STORY BY LORI COOPER!
Upcoming Inspirational Nonfiction|SOUND OF SILENCE: Shining The Light on an American Police Family|
One Cop’s Daughter on a Search for Justice