Osan pilot surprised that daughter’s kindergarten teacher was his, too
March 3, 2009
OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — Adam Fisher still remembers kindergarten. It was 1981, at the DODDS elementary school in Sembach, Germany. And he still has fond memories of his teacher, Elizabeth Stapleford.
So he was amused to discover, at a parents’ orientation meeting in September, that one of the teachers at Osan American Elementary School had the same name.
“I laughed and told my wife, ‘That’s pretty funny. My kindergarten teacher was Mrs. Stapleford,’ ” Fisher said.
But Sembach had been 27 years ago, and a lot had happened since. He’d attended Brigham Young University, married a fellow tuba player in the school marching band, become an Air Force pilot and had four children.
And now things have come full circle, but on the other side of the planet. As it turns out, the Mrs. Stapleford who is teaching Fisher’s 5-year-old daughter Hannah is the same woman who taught his kindergarten class.
He thought he recognized her, but when he saw her later in the lunchroom, “I wasn’t a hundred percent sure, but she looked really … similar to what I remember,” Fisher said.
Fisher said nothing at the time, but later phoned his mother in the States and asked her to e-mail his kindergarten class picture. That provided the assurance he needed.
“It was pretty long ago,” Fisher said. “But I do remember that I really liked her as a teacher. She’s the only teacher that I really remember from Germany.
“Probably the only thing that I remember was that she was really friendly, and she was really good one on one. I just remember she was really kind. It felt like she knew you pretty specifically.”
When he later had a chance to chat with Stapleford at the school, he said, “She gave me a hug, and we just sat and talked for a minute.”
Stapleford, who with her husband has been teaching for 40 years, said she had no trouble remembering Adam Fisher. She’d never forgotten him in the first place.
“He was an extremely nice kid,” she recalled, saying she would teach for free if she had a classroom of kids like Fisher. “I mean, full of life, well-behaved, just a delightful kid. Tall.
“On a particular day when it snowed, I remember so vividly, because he was so pathetically, like, ‘Can we go out to recess — now?’ Of course we got a lot of snow in Germany, but this is the first snowfall. So for a little 5-year-old or 6-year-old, this was the first time ever.
“He was so polite about it. ‘Could we go out — possibly?’ ”
Fisher, 32, now flies the A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jet with the 25th Fighter Squadron, part of Osan’s 51st Fighter Wing.
“He still looks the same, actually,” she said of Fisher. “Just a bigger version of the same.”