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Reminiscences of Jarvis Hunt

Les Meyer ’60

I met Jarvis on the first day he taught at Applewild; in fact, I sat at his lunch table that day.

Jarvis taught biology to our eighth-grade class that year, and a course in general science the following year.

Three things I learned from Jarvis’s classes stand out above everything else:

First, how polarized lenses work.  Jarvis’s demonstration involved light waves in the form of a length of clothesline which he shook up and down; the part of the lenses was played by two slat-backed chairs, set at 90 degrees to each other.

Second, the strange effect of lowering materials to very low temperatures; he demonstrated by exposing a hot dog to dry ice and then hitting the hot dog with a hammer – it shattered, and one piece of the hot dog went flying so far no one could find it.

Third, as part of a class about measuring light in candlepower, I learned how old George Washington was when his birthday party was lit by a thousand candles – he was 67.

Jarvis certainly had a way of making information stick.

The ultimate teacher, always patient and even willing to be taken advantage of – but only just a bit – Jarvis played a very important part in my Applewild education.  I’m delighted to have the opportunity to salute him at this important occasion.

Susanne Crocker Richey ‘60

In 1958, I was in eighth grade and Mr. Hunt arrived on the scene as our science teacher. Tom West was our homeroom teacher, and Mr. Hunt wore crepe-soled shoes when he walked by our classroom, and Mr. West said he always knew when Jarvis was walking by because his feet sounded like squishy sponges…we always laughed at that remark, always smiled at each other when he walked by, and I will always remember Mr. West saying that.

Best, best wishes to Mr. Hunt!!

Nancy Richards Freeman ‘65

My memories of Mr. Hunt:

As a 1965 graduate, I can still remember my favorite times at Applewild with Mr. Hunt.   Such a fabulous teacher, mentor and advisor, I can only say wonderful things about him!

These memories stand out in my mind:

First thought that comes to mind is learning how to use the microscope.  After I placed an onion skin slice on a slide and put it under the microscope, I looked though the eye piece, taking down data.  Then, Mr. Hunt put something on a slide and asked, “Nancy, what do you see?”  I couldn’t figure out what it was, and as hard as I tried, I could not understand what he wanted me to see!  Finally, he said, “See the con?” I lifted my head from the eye piece, looked at him square in the eyes responding, “The con?  What the heck is CON?” and his reply was, “Oh, sorry… I mean “CORRRRN”!! (corn)   We laughed and laughed about his Fitchburg accent! 

Second memory:  Mr. Hunt had Bobby Wood stand on his head and drink a glass of water… We were laughing so hard, I’m still not sure what he was trying to teach us!  However, I do know that it gets rid of the hiccups!

Third memory:  Mr. Hunt was quite the talented, well-rounded guy.  Not only was he a fabulous Science teacher, photographer and astronomer, but he also had musicality. When he offered us to join the Recorder Club, I was so excited.  To be in the Science Lab teaching me how to play the recorder, made him so real and so cool.  It was one of my most favorite times at school. I still have my recorder from 50 years ago, and can still play Greensleeves!

Lastly, it was everyone’s dream to be assigned to Mr. Hunt’s table in the dining room for lunch.  It was definitely the best lunch conversation, and we always learned something.

Mr. Hunt is a gem.  His talents are endless and he definitely led me into the sciences with a craving to learn (more).

My very best wishes, hugs and blessings to Mr. Hunt!

Brenda Cohen ‘73

Congratulations, Mr. Hunt! It’s been a long time… I still think of tape worms every time I make egg noodles; thanks! I know you were in cahoots with the ladies in the kitchen on that ever so well timed lesson plan and lunch! Funny, as I recall that occurred each year, didn’t it? Best wishes to you and Mrs. Hunt.

Sally Cragin ‘75

I have fond (and freezing!) memories of sitting outside at night in the fall on a chaise lounge because we were studying astronomy and Mr. Hunt wanted us to identify constellations….I remember his photographs of the solar eclipse of 1970, and then being delighted to see his photo credit on the postcard sold at Wallace Civic Center and Planetarium. . . .I remember dissecting an actual frog on a pan filled with dark wax and getting past the nausea and revulsion to find it interesting to draw the poor beastie. I remember cutting a planaria in two, successfully (it seemed abusive, but it was science and interesting). I remember walking around CoggshallPark with him as a child in the kindergarten and having him point out glacial striations. Mr. Hunt was that rare instructor — a teacher who made what he taught seem important, interesting, and most of all fun. I went on to major in geology in college, and though I have not been a practicing scientist, I have written about science, and worked as a naturalist in various locales. Thanks Mr. Hunt and lots of love to you, Judy, Jay and Chris.

Sandy May ‘78

Congrats Mr Hunt. It’s been many years but I have two great memories of you and your class and I still talk about these to this day. One is when we had bats flying around the school and you caught them. We named them Hermes and fed them mealy worms.  It totally changed my views on bats.  The second is “May I go to the bathroom?” not “Can I go to the bathroom?”!  Thought some students were going to have accidents right there in the science room!

Chris Rhoads ’81

Jarvis Hunt and Clarence Rabideau showed how to be smart and funny.

Andrew Wexler ’67

Mr. Hunt made me the science lab assistant. This gave me access to the science lab storeroom which was full of wonderful biologic specimens in bottles. I was fascinated by them and I am sure that had something to do with my going into medicine.

Former Faculty
Dottie Page

Some of my favorite memories of Jarvis Hunt revolve around Wallace House and the Lower School’s Thanksgiving feasts.

Each November grades one, two and three made placemats, invitations to send to faculty and staff, and put together costumes.  Time was spent studying the Native Americans and arrival of the Pilgrims.  Poems and stories were read, more stories were written and food was prepared.

On the special day we usually received word that Jarvis was busy (probably teaching a science class) but his “twin brother,” Jeremy, would be coming.  One year Jeremy walked from Boston where he had a restaurant.  Everyone watched his final steps across the field behind Wallace House.  Another year Jeremy arrived by parachute.  We all saw him in a tree with the parachute wrapped around him.  One year the arrival was by boat pulled by the maintenance truck and once with a jet pack on his back.  Jeremy would breathlessly tell us why he was late and take out his dissecting kit and proceed to carve the turkey while wide-eyed children watched.

Later, I would hear discussions among some students, especially those who had older siblings, about who Jeremy really was. Jarvis-and Jeremy- helped to make special memories for the children and for me.

Ann Corbey

My daily arrival in the faculty room always began with listening to Jarvis and Clarence Rabideau, in their respective chairs, in deep conversation about a PBS special from the night before, or, just as often, a more controversial topic that would engage other people in the room in a significant way.  Humor was often involved.  Of course, Jarvis will always be remembered for his role in the infamous Golden Toe Award.  In a more serious and educational vein, Jarvis taught my older daughter practical science and was a considerate advisor during a very important year in her life. Students adored Jarvis and he deserved their adoration and appreciation.

Linda Tower

I was delighted to see that you are honoring Jarvis Hunt. Our family first knew Jarvis as the enthusiastic teacher and assistant headmaster for our two sons, Marty and Steve. When I joined the Applewild faculty he so generously became my science teaching mentor and would volunteer his time even to provide some wonderful science presentations. I also came to discover his wonderful sense of humor, especially when he would attend as his twin brother, Jeremy, at our Wallace House grades 1-3 Thanksgiving Feasts. He and the custodial staff would dream up his very dramatic arrival, then he would take out his biology dissecting kit and start to carve the turkey, handing the first pea size morsel to a dismayed child asking if that was the correct portion size that child wanted. Of course the child would say that it should be bigger so a real carving set was given to Jarvis, and the real Thanksgiving Feast went into full gear.

Jarvis, thank you for all you did, and thanks for the wonderful memories.

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