Rick Houser:
A bit like the ‘Incredible Hulk’

I have said in past writings that my mom was a teacher. She might possibly have been the shortest person to conduct a class I was in. For the most part my recollection of the teachers I had in school listed them mostly to be very similar and only a couple of the educators still stick out in my mind as truly memorable. That is until we returned to school at Moscow after the Christmas break and the beginning of 1958.

Rick Houser

In those days Moscow still had a high school and those students were taught on the second floor and we in lower grades stayed on the first floor. But on that day we returned to school I saw what was to my estimate the largest man I had ever seen. The man stood about 6’3” in height and maybe 230 pounds or more. He stood a perfectly built man that was muscle toned from head to toe. Short dark hair with big blue eyes and the smile that caused me to say high to him at first meeting. He had been hired as a new teacher for the business education classes and had come straight out of the University of Cincinnati. His name was Mike Delfine. He had originally come from the Pittsburgh area and had attended U. C. on a four year football scholarship. Mike was a lineman for the team.

At that time I had never seen anyone who had ever played football and therefore had never seen a person that had a build of such design in my life. To be honest he was a little scary at first as he just didn’t look like the average person I had ever seen. I mean I had seen big men who weighed a lot or men with big arms but not nearly as tall. Time taught me that Mike Delfine could be one of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet. But misbehave or smart mouth him and his expression would change and a person might mistake him to take on the looks of the Incredible Hulk!

My brother Ben had him in his senior class and of course he and his friends learned in short order that they could take his good buddy demeanor and mess with him enough to learn firsthand how he could change. I know they all decided quickly to keep the good guy Mr. Delfine around and stay away from the Hulk side. (Hulk bad!)

We quickly learned that he was a married man and they had a daughter. They had rented a house at the edge of town and he quickly became involved with social events at the school and in the community. Quickly it was learned that he and his wife Fran were a plus to any event. Shortly after his arrival the high school was consolidated to Felicity. So the high school students were bused from Moscow to Felicity each day and returned and Mr. Delfine was the bus driver. In a couple of years the entire school was consolidated and the majority of the students went to New Richmond and the balance went to Felicity. For Mike Delfine and family they moved to Felicity and he became a member of the faculty at Felicity high school.

Over the years I attended Felicity Mike Delfine was my bus driver for a few years. He and his wife again became very active in the community and the school. He was the junior class’s home room teacher. He and the band teacher teamed up and along with Fran they began preparing spaghetti dinners for the junior class to raise money for their senior class trips. This they did for a while. They also did the same for the turkey dinners also sponsored by the junior class. They would host a class at their home while they decorated a float for the homecoming parade. Mike and Fran along with Ron and Esther Ramey sponsored what they called a leadership club that was held every other Tuesday evening at the school where they taught us how to square dance and polka and even slow dancing. It was their desire that the kids of Felicity got the opportunity to learn some social graces and when at a dance or social function wouldn’t feel left out or awkward. (It really did work!)

As it can be seen Mike and Fran Delfine were very active individuals in the community and I really don’t know when they had the time to raise the three very pretty girls that they did raise or have any time to their selves. To help seemed their motto and we who were the recipients are still glad they gave and then gave some more. Mr. Delfine continued to be the greatest in stature I had ever seen and I had total respect for him. Not only could he knock a softball completely out of a ballfield but also over the entire school. A feat I have yet to ever see repeated. But he was a kind man and was good to the students he taught.

Probably a lot that helped him out was his choice in a wife. Fran was a very attractive lady but if you just watched her actions and listened to demeanor with all around her it only made her beautiful. Mike knew this I’m sure and together they made up a team that was good enough to grant them admission to the Justice League.

Along with all he did over his career and throughout his life there is one more accomplishment I feel needed to mention. As he taught the business classes I found myself in my Junior Year when enrolling for my classes I was short a half credit from the required amount needed. I found that Personal typing was a half credit and signed up thinking that if I behave and pay attention Mr. Delfine would pass me. Well I did that and guess what folks he taught me how to type this story and a few others. So in the end this is the lasting impression you left on me Mike Deline. Thanks!

Rick Houser grew up on a farm near Moscow in Clermont County and loves to share stories about his youth and other topics. He may be reached at houser734@yahoo.com.