Olivia Westfall (Champ)

I was a student of Jerry’s and I graduated in 2006. I wrote a blog post about him this past summer. I thought you might like to read it.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
“about me, but not really about me”
I updated my “about me” section my photography website today. Writing about myself does not come easily.
I talked a lot about my experience through the years, and the part that brought me back the most was the part when I mentioned how my hands always smelled like dektol in high school. I spent every free moment and all my study halls there.
They say smell is the strongest sense tied to memory. And that memory made me think of my photography teacher, Mr. Bentley.
He was soft spoken and kind. I didn’t really fit into my class the older I got. After I’d finished all the photography courses, I took all the graphic arts to be able to still bug him for a roll of $2 black and white film and play around with photoshop and of course, when I had finished my work… disappear into the dark room.
I clashed with most people in my class and I kept to myself. Photography was my passion and I had always been somewhat of an introvert.
The person who talked to me everyday was Mr. Bentley, and I remember on a particular last day of school all the other kids wanted to go outside to take their own class photo and hollered for Mr. Bentley… I hardly noticed, I was cutting mat like always and focused on the math.
He said loud enough so I could hear, “I’m not taking a picture with you guys in-less Olivia comes too.”
I was annoyed. I didn’t want a picture with them. But that smile on his face made me get up and go… I did it for him. He wasn’t just a teacher, he was my friend.
Fast forward six years…
I was out to eat with my parents, Jack and newborn Jude… when I spotted Mr. Bentley sitting a few booths in front of us with his wife.
He was smiling at my boys. He noticed us first.
We chatted with the distance between us, and I got up later to chat with him at his table. And before he left he stopped by our table and I got up to hug him goodbye and when I let go he put his hands softy on my face and gave me a kiss on the cheek.
If you knew Mr. Bentley, you’d know that’s just him. And it made me feel so special and I hold that memory of him so close to my heart.
That’s the only time I’ve seen him since high school, but I hope it’s not the last.
It’s a sweet memory I don’t want to forget.
Here’s the link online: http://www.themoreiseethelessiknow.com/2013/07/about-me-but-not-really-about-me.html
It was the last time I saw him. Your husband, your father, your grandfather— he was a good man. I’m so sorry for your loss.
– Olivia

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