Sometimes I lose sight of how many years I've been performing for children. The years move a little quickly sometimes. The business of assembly programs goes in cycles. You perform for a school for several years, and because the school recognizes the value of what you do, that relationship can cover decades. However, all it takes is one year off and the cycle is often broken. It usually happens when the school transitions to a new principle or new PTA president, or the school wants to try something different. I don't hold this against anyone. It's just the way things are. But the long term relationships I have with some schools, are very precious to me.
One such relationship was with a Elementary School in the North Hills of Pittsburgh called Highcliff Elementary. I must have performed there for 15 years. It was so rewarding to know that the children at this school knew what to expect from me, and in turn they greeted my performances with a great deal of warmth, and the expectation that I would replay all of their favorite running jokes after the show I was performing for them on that day. My commercial (below) was filmed at Highcliff.
I was reminded of this just yesterday when I received this e-mail:
Hello, Mr. Hartman!
I attended Highcliff Elementary in the North Hills School District between 1994 and 2001. My sister and I were talking the other day, and some of the jokes from your show came up!... Obviously you made a lasting impression on us if we remember some of your jokes even after 20 years!
In particular, we were fondly reminiscing about the tale of the Chicken and the Watermelon. I also have never forgotten your series on little brothers in history: Galileo's little brother Gali-lego, and Ptolemy's little brother Shortemy. Having studied the Classics for a bit in college, that second one came to mind numerous times over the years!
Anyway, thanks for giving us lasting memories and making us laugh all those years ago! We always looked forward to your show so much every year, and I was glad to see that you are still putting on school assemblies. Best wishes in your continued work!
If you remember my performances at your school from the past, please consider having me back. I'm very proud of the fact that I have maintained the same quality, immediacy, and content that has been successfully teaching and entertaining children for 30 years. If you have never had me at your school, consider Kristin's words. The words of an adult, remembering what she experienced 20 years ago. That blows my mind, and makes me very happy.