The Best Stories are Always Self-Effacing

This story’s too good not to share.

The best stories always poke fun at the writer.  This fits the bill.



Suggestion box at Entebbe International Airport.
Suggestion box at Entebbe International Airport.  Do you know the reason our airport at Entebbe is famous?


The Suggestion Box

I still laugh everytime I think about it.

The year was 1990.

My friend and mentor, L.D. Spears, had taken a year of sabbatical and left East Beauregard High School in the shaky hands of me and Tim Cooley.

I was acting principal for that year.

Tim Cooley, a coach and English teacher at East Beauregard, left the classroom to serve as acting assistant principal.

If you know Tim and I, you’ll know we acted.

By that I mean that we weren’t afraid to try things.

Sometimes that was good.

Other times it wasn’t.

I’ll always appreciate how Mr. Spears, who had taught and coached me, was so encouraging during that year. He kindly overlooked some of the wacky ideas we had.


During the first week of the 1990-91 school year, we held the annual Teacher/Parent Open House.

In a K-12 school of 1000 students, Open House was a big deal.

Hundreds of elementary parents turned out to see their children sing on the stage, hear about the school year, visit their children’s classrooms, and enjoy refreshments in the cafeteria.

I had the idea of placing a suggestion box in the lobby. The wood shop class made an attractive wooden box that Mr. Cooley and I placed in a prominent position in the auditorium lobby. During the welcome, wee encouraged parents to share their ideas to improve the school.

The open house wound down and we began locking up.

I nodded to Tim Cooley, “Let’s check our suggestion box before going home.”

Tim opened the padlock, reached in, and pulled out a note. In plain hand writing, it stated,

“Fire Curt Iles.”

I laughed then.

I’m still laughing now.

And if I’m not wrong, you’re laughing too.

You have my permission to laugh and share this story with your friends.

Fire Curt Iles

I held the note up to the light.  “I’m pretty sure that’s Edee Fee’s handwriting.”  I’d seen her hanging around the box and knew she felt strongly about that sentiment.

It’s been twenty-five years since this story.

From time to time, I see a suggestion box in a store or hotel.

I always think about that open house night.



Two years later I left the school on the journey that eventually led to Africa. Wow.


Tim Cooley is now Superintendent of Schools for Beauregard Parish.

He’s probably too busy to read this blog but I bet he remembers that night.


I don’t know where Edee Fee is, but I bet she remembers it too.

Somewhere back in Louisiana, I have a wonderful photo of Edee and I together at the School Prom or Valentine’s Dance.


Edee Fee, where are you?

Do you have a copy of that photo?

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Like I said, it’s too good to keep to yourself.

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  1. Hey Curt!

    Like the story. I was just talking with some friends the other day trying to explain southern idioms. I still remember “flinging a hankering” on you when we were at the learning center a couple years ago. I hadn’t heard that one in a decade or so, but knew exactly what you meant. Glad to hear you guys are still at it there! Thanks for keeping in touch.

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