Senor Dan Moore

Barbara Nunnelly Adler posed a question in her comments on my story about high school clubs and activities: BTW does any know what ever happened to Mr. Dan Moore who taught Spanish and also sponsored Spanish Club. I would love to be in touch with him to let him know what a big influence Spanish has been in my life. . . now with a son working and living in Spain!

I can’t help you with where he is today. I Googled his name and saw some links that MIGHT have been him, but I couldn’t be sure.

Which language should I take in high school?

I thought about Latin, but figured the odds were slim that I’d ever run into any Romans. France didn’t seem to be in my future, either. “I might actually go to Mexico,” I thought, “I’ll sign up for Spanish.”

It never dawned on me that I wouldn’t need to GO to Mexico. It and Cuba and much of Central and South America came to me. We moved to South Florida where Wife Lila and I are frequently one of only two English-speaking families in our immediate neighborhood. I wish I had studied a little harder at Central.

I remember the language lab pictured above. You’d sit in a tiny cubicle with a headphone and mouthpiece listening to questions or dialog that you were supposed to respond to. The instructor would sit in front of the classroom listening to each student in turn. I learned early on that there was always a “click” in the headphones when Senor Moore switched to me, so that’s when I’d start talking into the mike.

Are you an American citizen?

Senor Moore spent one of his summer breaks living with a family in Mexico so he could become fluent in Spanish. When it came time to come back home, he was in the back seat asleep when they came to the border crossing. He awoke to hear a Border Patrol officer ask, “Are you an American citizen?” His response, “Si”

Starring in Scarface

I had my own version of total immersion Spanish class. I spent a day short of a month in Key West covering the Cuban Boatlift in 1980. I was surprised to see myself in the opening credits of the movie Scarface (I’m the one with a camera and a Cat hat). I knew enough Spanish to be able to say that I was from a newspaper, to ask their name and ages and to ask if any kids present were their children. As long as I stuck to nouns and verbs (and darned few of them), I was OK.

A few years later, the paper offered in-house Spanish lessons. Once we got beyond nouns and verbs and into stuff I never understood when I was in English class, I bailed. I DID ask one last question, “How do I say, ‘Don’t shoot, please.’?”

I never needed to use it, which is probably a good thing. The instructor probably gave me a phrase that said something like, “Your mother is as ugly as a pig, but I’d kiss her anyway.”

Language teachers at Central High School

Here’s a photo from the 1964 Girardot.

It identifies the teachers, left to right, as Charlotte Malahy (Latin and English); Mary E. Sivia (French), Dan Moore (Spanish) and Bessie Sheppard (French and English).

I ran photos of Miss Krueger’s retirement party in 1963 here. She taught Latin before it became a dead language. She was one of six teachers who were in my Dad’s 1931 yearbook and still at Central when we were there.

Copyright © Ken Steinhoff. All rights reserved.