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The infamous Carl Sandberg, not the famous.

Professor Carl Sandberg

Coworkers have recently encouraged me to get onto Facebook. As people who know me well know, I’ve never been a big fan of Social Networking sites, so I resisted Facebook for a long time, just as I resisted MySpace and LinkedIn. Actually, I resisted Facebook longer, as I just got my profile up last week. I have always thought that social networking sites were a waste of time and that anyone who wanted to get ahold of me would easily find me on my blog.

Yesterday, however, I learned something while trying to fill in the holes in my Facebook profile that shook that belief way beyond its core. Unlike the other social networking sites I’ve given in to and joined, Facebook has proved to be a wealth of information concerning people of my past that I haven’t found anywhere else. I found a group on the site called Leesburg Christian School, VA Grads, a whole group dedicated to people who graduated from the same school I did. I joined the group and started adding old-school friends to my friend list.

On the right-hand side of the group page, I noticed that the first “Related Group” was entitled The Infamous Carl Sandburg, not the Famous. The name was spelled slightly wrong (his name was actually spelled Sandberg), but he was one of the greatest men I ever knew.

Professor Carl Sandberg

Carl Sandberg was the teacher in charge of the computer lab when I attended Leesburg Christian School, actually to call him in charge of the lab was an understatement, Carl Sandberg was the computer department at Leesburg Christian School, and the man with the greatest dedication to education I’ve ever met.

Mr. Sandberg was a man of vast knowledge and was infamous at LCS for his lectures. I will always remember the first day I was at LCS, checking out the computer lab and Mr. Sandberg giving me his famous “Middle Ages” lecture, one, among many, that I enjoyed listening to in my years under his tutelage. Mr. Sandberg worked harder than anyone I ever met. His dedication to educating young people prevented him from accepting a decent living from teaching, so instead, he worked a second job at Dulles Airport every night that I knew him. It was through the money from his second job that he made a living for his family, at School, he put everything he could into the computer lab, spending his personal time and money to add new computers to the lab to keep the kids at the school both entertained and enlightened.

He bought tons of Educational software for the school as well, yet I rarely remember him playing any of them, except for one particular game, Conquest of the New World Deluxe. He used to play the battle mini-game with anyone who would play with him. I used to play the game with him at least once a day.  In addition to his amazing lectures on history and science, he also taught a number of subjects himself, in particular languages, which was quite a passion to him. I remember once, during a school break he took a week’s vacation to travel up to Canada with the goal in mind to speak nothing but French while he was on vacation.

I myself took Latin with him for 3 years, and still remember to this day the first sentence he ever spoke to me in Latin (though it took him repeating it a number of times over the years before I memorized it, and I’m still not sure I have the spelling right):

Lingua Latina est delinda, delinda delindissima, et calum omnes Romani, et nunc occidet me!
-- Carl Sandberg

which roughly translates:

Latin is a dead Language, as dead as dead can be, it killed off all the Romans, and now it is killing me.
-- Carl Sandberg (translated)

To this day whenever Latin comes up in conversation, I find myself saying the sentence aloud. Not that Mr. Sandberg really believed that Latin was killing anyone, he just loved that sentence.

What does any of this have to do with Facebook and how I have been wrong about social networking sites for years? Carl Sandberg, a man I am honored to have known and one who will always have an impact on my life, passed away on May 30th, 2007 of Leukemia.

Until yesterday, I did not even know. In the month between his last day at LCS and his death, a Facebook group was created, trying to get the word out about his hospitalization and deterioration of health. On the day he died Robyn Baird, an old friend from school posted this message on the Facebook group, and despite all of my rambling in this post, puts it far better than I ever could.

Mr. Sandberg died today, May 30, at about 1:10 pm. Please keep his family in prayer as they grieve, especially with Father’s Day just a few weeks away. The world is a little less wise as of this afternoon.
-- Robyn Baird

The next day, Christa Overstreet, another fellow student at LCS posted details of the funeral which was to take place on June 4th. I found out, on September 24th, 2007, nearly 4 months after he passed away. Had I made an effort to keep in touch with my fellow students from LCS sooner, I might have found out before he died, and made an effort to get in touch with the man who has had such a positive impact on my life one last time, but I, feeling that anyone who wanted to get hold of me would easily find me, forgot that I should do the same.

In today’s fast-paced world it is important to take the time to keep in touch with those you knew before, don’t just wait for them to find you again, because you may find, as I have, that may be too late.

Carl Sandberg was a great man, and while few people know him, certainly not as many people know the other Carl Sandburg (poet). Those who have had the honor of hearing him teach will forever remember him, and the many lessons he taught, not just the ones taught in his classes and lectures, but the ones he taught every day through his life spent passionately working with students. As Robyn said, the world is a little less wise without him. My prayers go to his family in their sorrows of losing him, but I know, there are few people as deserving of a place of honor in Heaven as he is. God Bless Carl Sandberg and his family.