Edward Augustus Dearolph and Scott Crook
DescriptionEdward Augustus (Gus) Dearolph (71) is interviewed by his friend and former colleague, Scott Crook (56) about his Marine background, his long tenure at Woodward Academy as a physics teacher and his hopes for Woodward Academy moving forward.
Subject Log / Time Code
- Edward Augustus Dearolph
- Scott Crook
Recording LocationWoodward Academy
Venue / Recording Kit
Partnership TypeFee for Service
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00:08 Hello, my name is Scott crook. I am 56 years old today's date is January 31st, 2011 on the main campus here at Woodward Academy and I'm here to interview a good friend of mine and colleague for McCauley Gus deer off. Mr. Gus deer off.
00:29 I just dropped my name is Augusta or off. I'm 71 years of age. This is the last day of January 19th 2011.
00:41 We're in the Woodward Academy library on the main campus and Scott is a college and best of all good friends of mine.
00:51 Well, thank you Miss. Darryl. First of all, I'm honored to be the one chosen to interview you and I think you made a they're going to do this kind of project. And obviously they couldn't do it without interviewing folks like you I'm going to say that you are an icon Hewitt Woodward Academy, which I suspect would probably make you a little bit embarrassed, but I really do think that they've made a wonderful choice to include you in this project.
01:19 Teachers are often what we called in literature.
01:24 From the point of view of parents and flat characters. They only think that we only exist in the classroom that we have no other life outside of the classroom. We did not ever exist until they walked in our classroom, but Gus, there's a lot more to you than being a science teacher Indian Woodward Academy. I was wonder if you could just give us a little background outside of Woodward that that people that know you was Professor diroff would it would it would enjoy knowing
02:01 Well, I'm married. I have two grown children both alumni of what are the cademy I came to Woodward GMA from the Marine Corps. I was commissioned when I graduated from college second lieutenant and I spent four wonderful years in the Marine Corps. My last Duty station was at Beaufort, South Carolina. I was a tactical air control officer.
02:32 And that military life in the Marine Corps was one that the couldn't end well because in the Marine Corps, if you're not an infantry officer, you're not in line for really good promotions.
02:48 So during my fourth year. I commenced looking for employment as a teacher. I was educated to be a teacher and I applied to private schools from Florida to New England.
03:03 I didn't apply to GMA because I frankly didn't know of it. I did the closest school was Culver Military Academy in Indiana.
03:14 The one morning in the savannah paper. I happened to see a
03:18 Advertisement that GMA was running for students. And so I wrote a letter to the president then got the Larry ended up on Colonel Roy T Sheffield desk and we arranged the interview and I came over and spent a wonderful day over here in the spring of 1965. Do I have a ring for background? I guess if I had a profession before becoming a teacher, that's what I would I would have to say.
03:51 I must admit that before I ever got a chance to meet you. I knew that you were of a former Marine and one of the stories I would hear from time to time is that you're off your enjoyment of of rendering the Marine Corps hymn. I won't ask you at this point to listen to these interviews that will remember I'm afraid there probably will be a few in the 60s late 60s and early 70s. The only real social event on the campus was the crystal annual Christmas party.
04:33 And liquor did Flo there and many of us were on occasion over-served and on one of those Christmas parties.
04:46 History teacher by the name of Ernest Brantley who was I think he was drafted in Me by the US Army before he came to Woodward Academy.
04:57 But he took the stage and it ain't over serve State the commence singing not any song related to the Army. But of course he sang the Marine Corps hymn or at least he started to and this was more than I could have died. So I instantly took the stage and the band leader who was a teacher orders Academy Pete Goodwin and a former Marine himself. Why don't you said former Marine as opposed to ex-marine that that's excellent struck?
05:28 And so I thought I did my rendition of the Marine Corps hymn and the only thing that I really recall about that singing was.
05:40 The chairman of the math department La DC Wilson a woman who never smiled was in standing in the front row of my solo and cuz I was waving my drink glass up and down in time with the music she
06:00 Produce the worst glare that I have ever received from a from a person in an audience. She was obviously not pleased with my behavior my singing the topic of the song the fact that I was drinking but frankly, I think everyone else seemed to enjoy Captain Brewster an Old Navy person in particular every time we talk. In fact, he called me Saturday night and he started off by saying is this the person who sang the Marine Corps hymn at a Christmas party and I said, I'm afraid to do it and it is still part of the lore of Woodward Academy. I must say that a void in my life is is having not heard you sing the Marine Corps hymn, but we'll see how this go and pipefitter from the earlier.
07:00 George plus who tended to be over-served occasionally also and on one of the early Christmas parties George fell into it on the Christmas trees and that bad but they probably unfortunately how many of us remember George so you can do all these wonderful things with the rest of your career you can mold a minds but you're going to be the guy that sang the Marine Corps hymn whether you want to or not to be that mention the from people who probably aware a great school and they put it happen people like you what the hell did you as you were talking about your background and family and how you hear your journey to get to GMA or Woodward Academy. So if
07:47 That will probably happen again, but can we hold? Where did I interrupt you?
07:59 Brewster Hall had just been renovated at that time during my trip and all these science equipment was sitting out in cardboard boxes along the second-floor Hall and and I met the great call days later. I like Jim Chandler and I miss Captain Brewster that day. I didn't didn't get to see him, but I
08:21 Talk to him later as I tried to get an extension on my
08:25 Application and
08:28 It wouldn't grab it. So I said well, alright Captain if that's the case all I'll accept the accept your offer today. And so you came on campus.
08:39 Fairly significant time of transition here. I thought we were still GMA but not for much longer. Is that correct? That's true. I frankly it for purposes. I came at the perfect time because the faculty was essentially older men many of them had military background. There were teachers such as a
09:03 This is all for I was to my mind an older woman, but her husband was an Army person, but they're sexually older people and
09:15 So there was an opportunity for me to become the chairman of the department within three or four years and was a great time.
09:24 I think I'm really not answering the question that you asked but
09:29 The first year was Georgia Military a cat was GMA. I had the rank of Captain.
09:37 Paul faculty were Captain if they chose the military rank.
09:41 I was on the officer-in-charge staff I served with the Colonel John Burnett. Where's the, damn? Great, man students called him dummy for some reason. I guess he when he talked like he had a stroke or 2 and when he talked T slur his words on occasionally on occasion, but
10:03 Here's a chain-smoker. He drew a Buick or Oldsmobile to the campus each day many days. He would jump out and leave the car running.
10:15 But it was a full military experience that first year as a matter fact when I retired I was the last GMA teacher on the stand.
10:30 In over my head the female student in my 8th grade science class that first your name is Corey Robinson. She had to stand at attention when the class later presented the class through to me.
10:45 How she made it through I do not know.
10:51 That was the first girl. I taught a couple had taught earlier Captain Bruster's.
10:58 Younger daughter was a student here.
11:01 And the recall is remarkable. I'm nowhere near is is clear on my last year student body is you cuz you are with people decades ago. Well, I thought a little bit worried about names because as you age names for slip by and back that brought us names that I have written down here in case I forgot but the core I never I never forget her and your family of courses.
11:36 Intertwine with with your career here at Woodward Academy and I want to make sure that we give them a a little time for you to mention now, but I'll my wife Eleanor Todd for 25 years at the lower school. She was a 5th and 6th grade arithmetic. She would prefer that I say mathematics teacher my son graduated in.
12:03 1981 went to Auburn just finished a career as a Marine Corps officer or several years ago my daughter graduated from Harvard in 1985.
12:18 And she graduated from Georgia State and is a successful salesperson in our family in Georgia. Do you have retired, Tampa, Florida?
12:33 I want to retire a couple years before me and
12:39 I dreaded retiring I worried about it for years the last five years. I thought part time for classes.
12:48 And what I did retire, I was afraid that I would be over here every day wandering the Halls looking in my old room saying how ehrensberger was mistreating my equipment and and but that first year, I never entered the science building.
13:03 And the second year and every year thereafter I enter it but I don't worry about I no worries about the equipment who's in my room and still longer my room.
13:16 This was a great place to work. I can't think of a situation where I a teacher would enjoy greater freedom.
13:26 And of course the great responsibility was to to earn that freedom that you had and what you taught how you taught.
13:35 One of your colleagues all stockhammer told me one time and he was speaking about the discipline of students in his class. But he said I try and tell them that that good discipline in this class is working in a loose harness and I applied that instantly to me and knew that the
13:56 But I was free at Woodward Academy GMA 2 to teach as I saw fit.
14:02 Within that loose hire some responsibility for my actions and and results 04.
14:10 I can certainly relate to that and I want you to know that you and among some of your other contemporaries have sort of set of template for a lot of Us 2 on how to approach a career. But also how to approach retirement to I think you've done that quite well, we will enjoy seeing you come back over here for the activities and workouts and and so forth, but it also looks like you found other ways to occupy your time. Would you tell us about some of that let you know where we recently had a snow ice storm in the in the Atlanta area and for one week, I never left my house and red and I we had a full refrigerator we never
15:00 We never lost power and so it was a typical retired week. I got to do what I wanted that I couldn't get out, of course to go to the grocery store, but we had already prepared and
15:12 Retirement retirement for me has been the opportunity to do a lot of reading. I wish I could tell you Scott that it was at the highest level that I work my way through William Faulkner so vast library of Southern Tails, but I'm tending to a to read the Mysteries and lighter fare and things that I can get through in a week. And and so I do a lot of reading and learn I do some travelling we're planning a trip to the Greece to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary this August.
15:51 For five days in Greece and about a week on a small ship sailing the Greek Islands and in ending in Instanbul for several days to their panda.
16:04 We feel free and we have funds to do that than the I think we live modestly otherwise, but on trips we swerve.
16:13 Spend what is necessary in and the appropriate for some people listening to this interview. They might find it odd that they chose me to interview you because my forte in the realm of science is quite limited, but you have brought more interest than I think some people might appreciate it surprised me. How did you and I get to be friends and then you mentioned mr. Faulkner there. That might be a common well in my mind was
17:01 It is very much like Albert Einstein in the that the ideas that they
17:08 Dealt with I found difficult to grasp and they were challenges reading challenges to read something at Faulkner Road. Once at least with my mind was totally inadequate so I had great admiration for
17:33 His ability to set a mood to use language with great care and and skillfully and I admired him.
17:45 And so we went over to a Faulkner seminar at the University of Ole Miss when summer for a one-week program a shock most of the faculty here at Woodward Academy and those that I met over at the Oxford because Scott was introduced me as a colleague and friend and then he would add the sort of as an after thought that I was a science teacher physics teacher and the first question was, why are you here and not but I enjoyed the weeks of presentation and I particularly enjoy and remember forever the the party that kicked off this conference on a Sunday evening at a home in Oxford.
18:36 And if you
18:39 As a Yankee if you ever wanted to picture what
18:45 Faulkner Scholars were look like bearded and just different and that group did not disappoint. You were the only science teachers and I would have made y'all might have been the only football coach. So that's probably true that we listened to presentations on George Wallace on Flannery O'Connor and this is something that mr. You're off and I have enjoyed doing over the last decade or so and I'll have to admit that I do it at the most Elementary level for example in light in August I which was the first Faulkner novel that I read. I will never forget.
19:35 I believe her name was Lena.
19:38 Traveling traveling The Rustic of the dusty road and in Faulkner's ability in those first.
19:47 Glock 40 pages to set that mood to my mind and literature there's no
19:55 Transformation is quite as magical as but Faulkner did with it was that trip along the dusty road. I guess it was an Alabama.
20:09 She thinks to herself that it's been several weeks now and I've done come a fur piece. She says in the novel and I was at a fault in our conference and a lady from Chicago. Wanted to know why would she be wearing a fur piece and Alabama in August soap. You are as a Yankee. You are quite a bit ahead of this this lady from from from from Chicago. Now, you noticed that you haven't invited me to any physics workshops or anything on Einstein.
20:49 Kind of waiting anxiously for those opportunities. Well, you know, they're not they're not as common as so for example of one of your colleagues. So Jane Graham invited Eleanor and I to to attend the film of vodka.
21:05 Missing Diamond. Yes. Yes and opportunities to buy more than the discussions of the theory of relativity. So you're not just thinking I would be overmatched by these occur. You would be the first person. I thought you wouldn't ehrensberger. Perhaps the first two but that would be traveling there or from a distance there for the first few years, and this is something maybe the Woodward Academy Community is not aware of and please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like you
21:53 Along with with Doctor Chuck Hixson. We're on the ground floor of moving Woodward Academy into the technology age. The computer age seems like you used to spend lots of hours in the top of Carlos Hall and I will see your car there in the light on and courses computers with the mystery to me and still are but could you maybe talk about that part of Europeans in the late 60s 1968 decided that
22:34 That if we installed a digital computer on our campus, then we could Finance tuition and charge interest.
22:46 Up until that time.
22:50 Tuition if parents wish to to finance it were done with banks and what have you and they saw this was a as a way to make a little money and to purchase a computer that we could use for other purposes. So in 1969, we installed a
23:08 NCR Century 100 computer its core memory was 16k bytes.
23:15 And a
23:17 Jim Chandler math teacher colleague of mine and I were chosen to be its programmers and we had never written a program never did know what a program was.
23:30 And so NC are trained to sand and so we ran a computer. We wrote the applications for accounts receivable for A-1 my record-keeping for students scheduling grade reporting and we did that over the Summers and frankly during many evening. So the computer was eventually expanded 232k bites and Richfield a actually she is filled the room where Jane Graham teaches is irregular.
24:03 Westport memory
24:07 And mr. Chandler and Captain Brewster permitted the acquisition of some small TRS-80.
24:19 Computers personal computers which were in my classroom and I thought the class on computer programming language is basic about what time should be this would be in the during the seventies, I guess from 75 to 80.
24:41 An interesting thing happened
24:45 In 1991
24:49 I got a call one evening from the parent.
24:54 Name Allen grabbed. It was a physics teacher at one time and a very good one.
25:03 And he left teaching and I'm not quite certain how I learned his money, but he earn money and it's the same Alan gravitt. It is active in College Park politics.
25:14 He said just said I tried to sell an idea at Woodward Academy and he said I'm not making any progress. I'm not getting any traction and he said
25:28 What I'd like to do is to take you out to a friend's house in Carrollton and show you something.
25:35 And so I agreed and the early night. He's so he and I drove over to Carrollton and his friend was a military contractor and
25:48 The friends had a unix-based computer.
25:52 In his basement and
25:56 After a brief introduction to Mosaic, which was the browser at the time that the father I guess in mother of all browsers internet browser, so they left me for a couple hours to
26:11 As they said intellectually Grey's on the internet.
26:16 Out to a person who wrote computer programs The lure.
26:22 The thought of being able to visit sites all over the world was a new experience for me.
26:32 I caught I caught the the great interest in joy of doing that so.
26:39 Came back from
26:41 From that meeting and scheduled a meeting with the president to time from Jackson.
26:47 I told mr. Jackson what I had witnessed and what I done and what I've seen and and I said this is something that we have got to do it word Academy if we delay some other school such as Westminster going to do it.
27:04 And so he said, well, he said I'm I've been trying to sell it myself here in and I said we need to we need to have a meeting and talk about this with.
27:15 Department of chairs in the effort school, so we had such a meeting.
27:20 And I gave a little introduction and I gave an introduction it went then we went around the apartment chairs.
27:29 And you want to know what they were Due based on their limited knowledge of this.
27:36 Are they could make use of it in their teaching?
27:40 And to this day, I'm shocked and surprised and in some cases pleased by the responses that we got.
27:50 I was told by one member of the faculty.
27:56 Guess you knows it teachers are not going to have the time to spend going to these various places different websites. I don't have the time to do that. This was a waste of this would be a waste of time and money.
28:13 The masked apartment was frankly neutral in the response. I'm not certain was they were afraid to commit himself or not. But the greatest boost this idea that was from a foreign language chair named Gina Wilson and without any prior preparation. She immediately commence talking about what we could do with this and what she could do with it. Then what what are teachers and students could do with it? And I think more than anything else that sold. Mr. Jackson on the idea.
28:50 And there wasn't any problem after that day with traction about getting this thing started and Chuck took the necessary steps to get our order. Edu dress and we are off and running but I am so pleased and I jean Olson's retirement Gathering I told this tale and
29:23 Her her response and her support of this idea cuz I think crucial.
29:31 True a non-science non-mass president project
29:42 Are pivotal moments Inn in Woodward Academy's history that did the soda understated. Then that happens in a very small group that maybe you didn't know at that particular moment in time that it was going to be that crucial and
29:57 Personally, I enjoy hearing about it. See you.
30:01 What it is?
30:06 That was initially it was it was just an intellectual fun thing to do. It had no, I mean our call I had a I had a terminal in my classroom and mr. Myers the chairman of the math department asked me one time in a meeting will what I did with it and amuse myself and and frankly at that point you could do anywhere see any map go to any website. And of course the web was not anywhere near what it is today, but the
30:45 I thought of buying something or supplying a credit card number or a social security number or your name and address was totally for and at that time but really begin to happen extra credits that I had use for years. Like if someone can determine within 24 hours, but Isaac Newton's dog's name was I would give an extra credit one. Well in the days of Library research
31:16 They would be over here hours trying to find a the 500 something about Newton and his dog nowadays. If you asked that question before the Bell Rings. Someone has already found the dog's name is diamond on the internet.
31:38 The thought of what it was going to become.
31:42 Was clear but it was clear. That was that this was a new thing under the sun and it was going to it was going to do things that we couldn't even imagine.
31:53 You have talked a little bit before we got together today. I think we're both a little concerned if put in that we can fill up 40 minutes and now it's going to run out on us and just leave in a few minutes.
32:08 If I asked you to maybe just go through and in and talk about briefly some other people you mention folks legendary people you mentioned students just in the context of our discussion. I know you might be afraid of going to buy start talking about people are liable to leave somebody out, but just understand and we're sitting here on the spur of the moment you came here at the time when such legendary figures is Johnny Stallings and and Graham Hixson. We're starting to be involved in the academy. Are there any other folks that you haven't mentioned that were just powerful influences to you and then or students that are memorable positively or not so positive
33:04 I've got the mentioned Captain Brewster. He was the first president that I served under.
33:12 He was a man of integrity honesty directness of talk.
33:18 You know, I always knew exactly where you stood us a man.
33:24 He wrote in those early years as president.
33:28 Everyone's a Christmas card.
33:31 And there wasn't any. When you got your Christmas card deliver at the Christmas party, by the way, sometimes with a bonus check in many times not there wasn't any doubt that he knew you and all your family. You know what you know what you're taught, you know how you were doing and it was obvious that he personally care. I'm not certain. How long can you spend on those cards but
34:00 They were just magnificent and
34:04 I would trust that man with my money. I would trust him with my life. In fact, he is so is the consonant president of GMA word Academy.
34:22 I served on the discipline committee, and there was early years with.
34:27 Colonel Harry Edwards
34:30 And I have said many times that Harry introduced me to.
34:37 Southern ways of thinking
34:40 And he was a southern gentleman and how he dealt with people how he dealt with Troublesome students on the does it just the discipline committee saw
34:51 Regardless of how terrible the crime was he was always rather neutral always caring. He never wasted a sheet of paper in those meetings that the meetings for the run for hours and he kept notes on an envelope that had happened to get in the mail that day he had in his pocket a true Southern gentleman and a
35:17 Tell her I and our kids used to visit he and his wife up here on a nearby Street and it Christmas time and we bring something over for his wife and regardless of what we brought you always left his home at Christmas with more than you took it. He had made something and there they were there ever expensive things, but he always had a gift prepared and he never knew you were coming.
35:46 It was just a wonderful Jen from early years. Bobby offered stands out in my mind.
36:03 Lady offered lady offer. I never called her that I never called her. Bobby was always misses offered she and I had the pleasure of teaching a group of
36:16 Honors 7th graders who came up to us from the from the lower school. The Junior School was it was called at the time.
36:25 And we applied offer School standards to those very bright kids.
36:32 And unfortunately that meant on occasion their grades were C's or D's or an occasional F and that caused problems because they these were the best students we had in the 7th grade.
36:49 And this was Colonel Roy to Sheffield the superintendent's prize project. And so he would bring the Two of Us in seated Airhead is a desk.
37:01 And he would want us to
37:03 Change braids and I were to it saying there's no way these kids are going to be able to get a D in your science course or an English. Well Colonel Sheffield, that's exactly what they got. And this is all further explain why water standards were and how the kid had not met them in and the curl hair all that and and the he would sit there and Nod and he would say well, let's rethink this again. And then she would go on. She was never at a loss for words about how she graded and I had the same opportunity. I didn't talk so much, but she and I never changed the grade.
37:46 And so in one of these sessions with me the Corral said, all right, I want you to pick the worst student in that section.
37:56 And so I picked them in the heat gotten an a for something and so he called up the principal the junior school and the kid was withdrawn from the class so that we never never changed the grade. But if he didn't like the way the graders are going he would actually pull kids out of class and we had a rather strict grading scale at the great percentage distribution, which he expected and if you weren't willing to comply then he simply all her dissection. So the grades did comply.
38:32 Well, we could spend the entire session. We probably should have started out with all these legendary care to see her and I are chose the word character and on purpose you choose your words carefully Gus. And in the note you sent to me that you said you were looking forward to talking about the academy that we love. I don't think you throw around words, like love very easily. Perhaps we can close here with just you talking of about your wishes for the the academy is as we move forward.
39:09 Well, it's it's true. I do love you Academy and I often thought how.
39:17 How could I how could I explain to someone what I mean? Is it the people as it stood at the buildings is it but it's it's like asking why do you love your mother? And then you could list several trivial trivial thing is good Crook and kept your laundry clean and so forth, but that never was the essence of it. I think I think Woodward Academy GMA.
39:43 When I came here with
39:47 Established and based upon
39:51 Good principles
39:53 And I think it was in the application of my life's work Guided by those principles.
40:04 Ended the Great characters that I met and the wonderful students are taught and the experiences that I've had.
40:12 True rap into this notion of love for the academy and that's my hope for the school that that those strong principles of the founders.
40:24 Not based on parents with him not based on what parents think is best not based upon faculty and not not based on parent committees, but the principles of the founders of this Academy.
40:43 Look at those principles Remain the Bedrock of this institution. That's my hoping. That's my prayer.
40:52 Augustus Ben honor appreciate the opportunity to get a chance to spend this time with you. Well, it is my pleasure. And you know when you sent me the email announcing his program, you said you sent it to Johnny Stallings into me.
41:08 And I initially thought that Johnny and I would be talkin and I thought you know, I love I love strolling but we don't have anything to talk about. I don't know what a 4-3 whatever would be defense is and nickel defense means nothing to be in and I'm certain Newton's Laws don't mean much to a is Johnny's right? I was hesitant to think about what would 40 minutes if you like Stallings that I trying to talk about something.
41:45 Where we could find common ground?
42:12 Oh, yes. Oh, yes. She and her husband. I really got to know she and her husband Coleman because Bobby's classroom was down near the old original computer room and Coleman would come at 4 or 5 in the afternoon to pick her up. She never drew. I never saw her driving automobile. He would come with his dog kind of truck can am trying to hurry along. There was no hurry. Mrs. Oliver shoot. She was going to pack up her bag and and get out of there when she wanted to and so I got to know her and that since I never never was in her class, I never a very hard for teachers to assess other teachers because it's students were at Estes St.
43:02 You think you could ever know a teacher in that sense, but she was a remarkable woman and
43:08 She seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time with students.
43:14 And rewriting papers and redoing papers and if anyone gave extra chances extra credit extra opportunities to rewrite and Teresa ink and redo it was Bobby offered and then of course always gave rise to grade changes and see what command and ask mr. Chandler. Mr. D Robb. I hate to trouble you. This would be two weeks after the rain. It ended but I work on details of the kid who does it start and spend for free ride and she thought the grade was oughta be improved a little bit and and would you mind making the change we all those days was there was none in hexadecimal entry on the console of the computer. If you wanted to change a grade of a student you had to do a lot of hexadecimal input by dials.
44:13 At Andrews and oh, yes, Miss. All we'd be glad to consummate Southern gentleman. I guess this is offered would be the consummate.
44:33 Southern lady