“Story, story, story, Jeff!”
I can almost hear John Christgau whispering the words, as I sit down to write this piece.
“Get to the heart of the STORY,” he would tell me, as he’d coached me countless times before over the course of nearly 40 years. “What is the story behind the story? Find that. Share that.”
John Christgau was my high school journalism teacher, my greatest mentor, and one of my closest friends. He passed away suddenly last month, and this is my attempt to tell his story. I want to do so because I know the story behind John’s story is one from which we can all learn a few important things.
Ever the journalist, Mr. C., as I used to call him in high school, would want me to cover the traditional five Ws and one H — the who, what, when, where, why, and how that all good reporters target in their pieces, so I will start there.
John Christgau was born and raised in Minnesota and later moved to the Bay Area, where he attended San Francisco State and was a member of the men’s basketball team. He taught English and journalism at several Peninsula high schools, including Crestmoor and Capuchino, where he served as advisor to the school papers.
A prolific and award-winning writer, John published nearly a dozen fiction and non-fiction books, like “Enemies: World War II Alien Internment,” about the treatment of Japanese-, German- and Italian-Americans during World War II or another on the history of basketball’s jump shot. He also penned plays and poems, and even a podcast.
John and his wife, Peggy, lived in Belmont for some 50 years, raising three children. Several years ago, John lost a leg to an infection, and on August 21, he died of a heart attack at the age of 84.
So, there’s John’s story.
But the story behind John’s story is the truly meaningful one. It is a testament to. . .
This article is by Jeff Smith at Radio.com. Read the article in its entirety here.