HUMANS OF THE PFISTER | FEBRUARY 2017 | “First Loves” Edition | A Poodle, a Hot Teacher, and a Pork Chop

DEBBY: My first love was a copper-white, stray poodle.  I was 12 years old when we found her on a rainy, stormy night running around the neighborhood.  I had my dad chase her down.  She responded one day to “Bonita,” which means “pretty” in Spanish, you know.  She was like my first love and my first heartbreak, come to think of it.  We let her out one morning–but when I called her, she never came back.  But I guess if I had to say my first human love, it would be Mr. Duckler, my English teacher, when I was 11 years old.  I thought he was so hot.  I mean, he was so nice, for a teacher.  For a teacher to be so nice–was hot.

GENE: My first love was a breaded pork chop.  I was five years old, and that’s when I first decided that I wanted to cook.  I saw my mom make them all the time, but I didn’t like the way she did it: overcooked.  I had tried before to do it myself, but I used graham crackers and they tasted like shit.  One night, then, her and dad went to square dancing and I decided to make pork chops for the entire family of six.  I dug through the freezer to find some thicker chops, made the breading, and they turned out just right.  I got out the little electric skillet, put it on the kitchen table (yes, my grandma and aunt were nearby–practically next door), and now I’ve been a chef for years.  And I guess, like Debby, I could also mention Cindy in 5th grade: I remember she was blond with blue eyes and a little pug nose.  I lived six blocks away and at times it was torture.  She knew I liked her, but not how much!  She always did insist that I be her dance partner, however!

Author: Dominic Inouye

As a teacher for over twenty years, Dominic Inouye has worked with everyone from elementary school students to adult learners, creative writers and physical therapists, to help them develop their reading, writing, critical thinking, and, most of all, their voices.  He began his career at Marquette University, expecting to become the next Mr. Keating from Dead Poets Society, then made a surprise move to the high school classroom, where he found his home at Pius XI High School, then later at The Prairie School in Wind Point, Wisconsin, where he is completing his seventh and final year as an English teacher. Never one to pull an old lesson plan out of a dusty file cabinet and re-use it year after year, Inouye began experimenting from the very beginning with how to integrate authentic, real-world, transformative learning into his students’ study of literature and the expression of ideas.  Examples include his founding of the Milwaukee Spotlight Student Film Festival, the C.L.A.S.S. program, which brings together 4th-12th graders for service learning, and the Senior Capstone program of individualized research projects.  As expected, Inouye will not be bringing any dusty ideas to the Pfister--only creative celebrations of new voices. Inouye was chosen to serve as the hotel’s ninth Pfister Narrator based on his writing style, his vision for the role, and his personality.