Friday, August 15, 2008

Howard Gray

A long time ago I heard a song that I've never been able to get out of my head.  The name of the song is, Howard Gray.  It was written by Lee Domann a classmate of Howard Ray.  The lyrics to the song are:


Most every one I knew put the whole Gray family down. They were the poorest family in that little country town. Howard always looked too big for his funny ragged clothes. The kids all laughed at him and Jimmy Jones would thumb his nose. Howard sat across from me in seventh grade at school. I didn't like it much but mama taught the golden rule.

So when the spitballs flew at him I never would join in. I guess that was the reason Howard thought I was his friend. And after things would quiet down sometimes I'd turn and see. The grateful eyes of Howard Gray looking back at me.

Howard Gray, Howard Gray, somehow they got their kicks out of treating you that way. 
Deep down I kind of liked you but I was too afraid. To be a friend to you, Howard Gray.



One day after lunch, I went to comb my hair. And saw they had Howard pinned against a locker in the hall.
 They were poking fun about the big hole in his shirt. They had his left arm twisted back behind him 'til it hurt. 


To this day I can't explain and I won't try to guess.
 Just how it was I wound up laughing harder than the rest. 
 I laughed until I cried but through my tears I still could see,
the tear-stained eyes of Howard Gray, looking back at me.

Howard Gray, Howard Gray, I can't believe I joined them all Treating you that way. I wanted to apologize but I was too afraid Of what they'd think about me, Howard Gray.

From that moment on after I made fun of him. He never looked my way, he never smiled at me again. Not much longer after that his family moved away. And that's the last I ever saw or heard of Howard Gray. That was forty years ago and I still haven't found just why. We'll kick a brother or a sister when they're down. I know it may sound crazy but now and then I dream about the eyes of Howard Gray looking back at me.

Howard Gray, Howard Gray, I've never quite forgiven us for treating you that way. I hope that maybe somehow you'll hear this song someday and you'll know that I am sorry, Howard Gray. We'll probably never meet again, all I can do is pray. May you and God forgive us, Howard Gray.

I started the school year by playing this song for my middle school students.  Today, I invited the 7th and 8th graders to write either a poem or a short reflection on what the song means to them.  I've included some of their work in this post.

When they bully you,
You get hurt deep down inside,
It's hard to forgive.
(Megan 8th Grade)

Poor old Howard Gray,
Poor old Howard with no friends,
But he still had God.
(Cody 8th Grade)


Whom they always picked,
They were the poorest family,
Oh, now I'm sorry.
(Hannah 8th Grade)

Let God be with you,
Howard Gray and don't ever
Let him go away.
(Tommy 8th  Grade)

Dear old Howard Gray,
I'm sorry for what I did,
To you that day.
(James 8th Grade)

Howard, I'm sorry,
For what they have done to you,
You're a person, too.
(Shelby 8th  Grade)

This song really reminds me of Jesus.  Many people put Jesus down.  There were those who felt bad and prayed for forgiveness.  
All I do is Pray,
That you may forgive me God,
When I have done wrong.
(Maddie 8th Grade)

When I heard the song, Howard Gray, it made me very sad.  The song makes me think of times when I have joined in with the others.  I now try to stand up for others and not join in with the crowd.  It is important to put yourself in the shoes of the person you are hurting.
(Allie 8th Grade)

I hope we stay friends,
Howard I apologize,
For what I had done.
(Kyle 8th Grade)

Everyone I knew,
Put the whole Gray Family down,
I will pray for you.
(Tyler 8th Grade)

Look for more reflections and poems on the song, Howard Gray, in future posts.  In fact this entire school year you will have the privilege of reading students' reflections on the Gospel and every day living!



35 comments:

Anonymous said...

THANKS FOR YOUR BEAUTIFUL REFLECTIONS. YES, JESUS WAS TREATED THIS WAY ALSO. AREN'T WE BLESSED TO HAVE HIS EXAMPLE OF FORGIVENESS AND LOVE. MAY THIS SONG BE AN EXAMPLE OF HOW WE ARE ALL GOD'S CHILDREN AND NEED TO SPREAD GOD'S LOVE TO EVERYONE.
GOD BLESS YOU..
SISTER BERNARDINE, O.S.B.

Anonymous said...

I love these poems and reflections. I love them because they show an understanding of what it feels like to be rejected. They also show an awareness that we are all capable of such behavior and that we all need to ask forgiveness of each other and God. I also love that the poems remind Howard that he is loved by God. Thank you for your beautiful work!!

Sr. Julie, O.S.B.

Anonymous said...

I was made fun of when I was in school so I completely relate. Thank you for taking the time to teach such a VALUABLE lesson. We are ALL children of God.

Heather said...

These reflections are "ROCKEN." I love when you share the reflections of the students that you teach. The words of this song are a great reminder to be a loving presence to all that we encounter.
You are a blessing to MANY,
Heather

kathy said...

Megan, James, and Hannah,
It seems you see it, too,
The lonely eyes of Howard Gray
are looking right at you.

Cody, Tommy, Maddie,
I see you're blessed to know...
The precious love Christ has for all,
I'm glad you let it show.

Shelby, Kyle and Allie,
Your tender hearts are kind.
And Tyler, add me to your prayers,
And I'll add you to mine.

Great job, 8th graders!

G. Fleming said...

Reading the song and your reflections reminds me that Jesus is in each of us, regardless of our imperfections and differences. Let's help each other constantly recognize the face of Christ in one another, and celebrate the many gifts God has given us. Thank you, Beautiful Children and Sr. Nicolette, for sharing God's infinite love!

Anonymous said...

I love all the reflections. They are really good. Can't wait to see the 7th grade next week. =)
love, your student

Anonymous said...

hey!i think they are all great!
i cant wait to see ours

kaitlin ! :-)

Anonymous said...

very good

Anonymous said...

Those Reflections were great!!!
I can't wait to see the next one from the 7th Grade!

Anonymous said...

really touched my heart

Anonymous said...

they were really good

Anonymous said...

HEY!!!! they are great and awesome but the 7th grade might be better. this is your favorit student.love the blog.

ASHLEY:)

josh said...

really touched my heart

Anonymous said...

I loved all the poems. Megan's was my favorite, though. I will see you tomorrow in Religion Class.



kristen

Anonymous said...

Hey Sr. Niccolette, 8th grade peoms were awesome. I'm looking forward to seeing my peom on here. I'm going to visit this website often. I love the stuff you put on.

Tay B.
HNS

Anonymous said...

hey sr.niccolette the reflections are great can't wait to see if you choose my paper. You have a gret website.

love one of your bestest students,
Jamaica

Anonymous said...

i hope next week you will post the 7th grade. i bet kristen 's will be awesome

josh said...

cant wait for the rest from the other classes

Anonymous said...

They were awesome!!! :)
Jake

Anonymous said...

I think these reflections are amazing and straight from the heart. I can't wait for more!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sister Nicolette
i think u should be an angel
sometimes u act like Jesus u r
nice
a 7th grade u will always love and i will always love u 2

Anonymous said...

I love all the comments on howard gray.







eliz
HNS

Anonymous said...

hi u r great

Anonymous said...

we all love you sister nicolette.
you should be a saint

Anonymous said...

you are the best teacher in the world

Anonymous said...

i cant wait to have your class tomorrow

Anonymous said...

chuck says hi!

Anonymous said...

hi sister u r a saint u probly dont tink about it but i do u r a saint

Anonymous said...

I know growing up we had "Howard Gray's" in our class...I wonder if what kind of difference I could have made in someone elses life had I chose not to participate in making fun of them? What a great lesson you all are realizing...Maybe YOU can make a difference with the "Howard Gray's" @ your school...Kuddos to Sr. Nicolette!

Anonymous said...

i know quite a few howard grays in my school and i know what it would mean to them if just one person would look at them and smile and stand up for them once in a while instead of joining everyone else in making fun of them. its really sad to think that some kids find it funny or enjoyable to make fun of howard grays. i wish you were my teacher aunt nicol[:

sara said...

howerd gray was awesome.
god bless you
sara :-)B^)

Anonymous said...

I was touched by your thoughts and reflection on Howard Gray. If only our world would change and treat all people the same instead of making fun of others-it would be a better place.

Thanks for sharing.
SMTC

josh said...

nice.

Anonymous said...

Even though I'm posting this a couple mounths later these are still good everytime i read them

Robert