The Best is Yet to Come
Updated: Apr 15, 2021
It was a wondrous time to be young and single in the 1970s. There was freedom to learn about yourself and grow in so many ways. We were not encumbered by the rules and mores of our parents’ generation anymore. I was an elementary school teacher and my school was populated by other young people, female and male. We worked very hard, but there was also a strong social scene going on, and many romances flourished.
In 1976 our staff was having problems that our union representative was unable to solve. As luck would have it, my friend’s cousin was a substitute teacher in our school, and he recommended that we contact two of his friends from another school in our district. They were strong union activists and he felt that they would be able to help us with our problems.
A couple of weeks later, Ira and Paul came to our school to listen and to advise us in specific ways that we could address our problems.
The sincerity both men demonstrated, coupled with their knowledge and humanity was extremely impressive to me. And then Ira laughed at something, and in the sound of his laughter I knew that he was someone special. It’s funny how when something is right, you just know it in your gut. There are no words that truly describe that sense of knowingness. For the first time in my life I decided to be the aggressor and pursue this man.
Toward the end of the meeting, Ira mentioned that he was going to attend a community school board meeting where they were discussing school uniforms. I told him that sounded interesting and that I would like to attend as well. We did indeed go to the meeting, and then I went to one more with him—to show him my sincerity!
After the 2nd meeting he came back to my apartment for hot chocolate, and so our relationship began.
A very strange incident occurred a couple of months later. It was during Spring Break. Ira and one of his friends were taking a road trip down South and he sent me postcards along the way.
One afternoon I was going to a colleague’s home for lunch. She had just moved into a new house and invited some of us over to see it. Upon leaving my apartment I checked my mailbox and found another postcard from Ira, which I put in my pocketbook. I felt happy and warm having it close to me.
I arrived at my friend's house and found that she had invited another friend of hers who did not teach with us. As she introduced me to Ellen, who was there with her three month old baby, she said “Sheila, this is such a coincidence. Ellen’s brother teaches in the same district that we do. As a matter of fact, he was one of the men that came to our school to help with our union issues.” I felt my face getting warmer and my stomach started churning. I had just met Ira's sister and baby niece! No one know about Ira and me at the time. I so much wanted to show her Ira’s postcard in my pocketbook, but knew that wouldn’t be right. For now it was my secret but I knew that the best was yet to come with this new man in my life.
Sheila Rashal was an Early Childhood teacher in the New York City
school system for 33 years. She discovered her love of camping
through the many trips she and Ira, who was an avid camper, took
cross country on summer vacations. Her favorite was their trip
from Brooklyn, NY to Anchorage, Alaska. Driving through the
Yukon was an experience like no other! Sheila and Ira have been married for 39 years, have one daughter, a son(-in-law), and two beautiful granddaughters.
Love can be as easy--especially for teachers--as ABC and 123. Here are the Jackson 5 performing their famous song on American Bandstand.
Think you know 1976? Here are some fun facts from that year:
“You talkin’ to me?”
“I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
“Is it safe?”
Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci earned the first “perfect 10’s” in the Olympics, seven all together.
Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn Jenner, ex-step parent to the Kardashians, won the Olympic decathlon.
Other fun facts:
Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs founded Apple Computer
Roots, by Alex Haley, was published
The most popular TV show was Happy Days
The VHS tape hit the market
Cost of a Superbowl ad in 1976: $110,000