He had the patience of a saint.
How else to describe the man who taught me how to speak Spanish and drive a car, often at the same time?
Yes, Victor Effler -- or Senor Effler, as his students lovingly addressed him -- was blessed with the willingness to endure decades of high school students in their quests to become fluent in a foreign language and educated in their driving.
Such fun memories of him as one of my all-time favorite teachers at Madeira High School in lovely Madeira, OH.
Such sadness at the thought that he is gone.
Yes, Senor Effler, as I learned yesterday, passed away last week. Complications of congestive heart failure. He was 83.
That means that when he taught me to say "albondigas" (meatballs) in Spanish my freshman year in high school, he was only in his early 40s. A pup. Or should I say, el perrito.
My Spanish name was, of course, Ana. And I will never forget hearing Senor Effler's rather booming deep voice coming over my headset when he knew I was doodling or dawdling and not really listening to the Spanish tapes.
Oh, crap. Or should I say, Ah, mierda.
But having Senor Effler as a driver's ed instructor was the most memorable adventure, as he was known to issue directions in what-else-but Espanol.
If you had not been paying attention in Spanish class, and you didn't know the English translation for "la izquierda" (left) or "la derecha" (right) you were in trouble. Not to mention the fact that he kept his cup of coffee sitting on the dash as a meter of how sharp you took your turns. If his coffee spilled? Not good, er, no bueno.
Victor Effler was a lovable, fun, warm-hearted, dedicated, civic-minded man, and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him. I feel very fortunate to have had him as my teacher.
Adios, Senor Effler, y gracias.