A/N This one shot was inspired by the recent death of my ninth grade teacher, as well as the memory of another favorite teacher.

Disclaimer: I do not profit from the characters of The Streets Of San Francisco. I am not the creator of the series, that is Quinn Martin.

Nostalgia and Reverence

All his classes for the day completed, Steve Keller was enjoying the solitude of his office. It had been a hard month and the solitude gave solace to his low spirits. The sounds of "wash away my troubles, wash away my pain with the rain in Shambala" came from the small record player behind his desk. The lyrics from the old song by Three Dog Night seemed to fit just then. He'd started out with a few other 60s rock songs that he'd liked as far back as he could remember. The music had taken him back to simpler days. As the music played he looked over research papers that had been turned in that day. Of the four choices related to criminology Steve had given for their papers, he noticed almost half had chosen police stress as their topic. He felt that might have been influenced by a recent guest lecturer, Lenny Murchison. Steve had called him with the request that Lenny speak to some students. Lenny had been more than agreeable. As he was on the third paper the words all of us have had teachers that made a real difference in our lives came into his head. It was almost as though he was hearing them again as he had at the funeral. Just then a knock was heard at his door and then it opened. His secretary stuck her head in and spoke.

"Steven, there's a gentleman here to see you and I'm leaving for the day." Mrs. Tayback informed him.

"Alright see you tomorrow Mrs. Tayback and thanks, who is it?" Steve questioned. His answer appeared in the doorway. "Mike!"

Research papers temporarily forgotten, Steve hurried from behind his desk. He and Mike greeted each other warmly, no hesitation in their hug. Mike cuffed the back of Steve's neck in the familiar gesture of affection as they released the hug. Steve felt a bit better seeing his best friend/father figure. He turned off the record player so they could talk.

"I've been worried about you buddy boy. You haven't been in touch since Mr. Osborne's funeral. I thought I'd better come see how things were." Mike explained.

"You want some coffee Mike?" Steve sidestepped answering.

"No, no thanks Steve. Don't think you're going to get away from this discussion. I know his death hit you kind of hard. I was there remember and don't forget the fact I know you. I've known you for years. When you're hurting you try to close yourself off." Mike reminded Steve.

"I guess harder than I thought it would. I've been thinking about him alot, as well as Miss Froneberger. Before I met you and Jeannie they were two of the biggest influences in my life. I wouldn't have started liking Tennyson and Shakespeare if it wasn't for Mr. Osborne, not to mention George Eliot. He made "Silas Marner" sound like one of the best books ever written in ninth grade. I guess it's one of the reasons I still read that book." Steve admitted.

"Wasn't "Silas Marner" the story of a weaver falsely accused of a crime that found an abandoned baby?" Mike asked.

"That's the one, Mike. I guess you've read it." Steve ventured a guess.

"Well, I tried to read it for school. It was required reading back in my day too Steve. I never could really get into it that good." Mike admitted. "I think I'm going to have to give it another try now that I'm older."

"It's a fantastic book, Mike." Steve remarked and handed Mike a copy from his shelf. "Now you can get started reading it sooner than later."

"Steve, I can't take your copy." Mike tried to gracefully decline.

"It's not my only copy, Mike. I've got several at home and two more on this shelf." Steve grinned showing him the other copies.

"A recommendation like yours can't be ignored. I promise I'll give it another try." Mike assured Steve with a smile. "Hearing the words of some of the people at his funeral, I'm not surprised the impact he had. He seemed to be very well liked or at least well respected."

"That he was Mike. He didn't let any student slack off either, especially if he knew they had what it took. He was the first to even make me consider trying to go to college. I never thought I had what it took. When I finally spoke to him about it I was only thinking junior college. He told me I had the brains for Berkeley so I applied." Steve answered.

"You mentioned Miss Froneberger as well. I don't think you've ever mentioned her. Tell me about her buddy boy." Mike prodded.

"She was my fourth grade teacher. She was a good person and teacher. She didn't allow anyone to pick on others. In fourth grade I actually started to put on a few pounds and some kids tried to pick on me because of it. Miss Froneberger stopped them cold. I think that was the moment I started favoring the underdog more. She really cared and did all she could for her students. There was this girl in our class who had a hearing impairment. I found out later Miss Froneberger helped her parents in getting her a hearing aid." Steve's voice was full of reverence. "I like and respect Mr. Osborne and he's one of my favorites, but if you asked who my real favorite was, it would be Miss Froneberger. Those two made any student a better person."

"They both sound like they were wonderful people. You were lucky to have known them Steve. I'm sure they're both proud of what you've done with your life as well." Mike answered proudly.

"I wish I felt that way Mike. Remember at the funeral it was said all of us have had teachers that made a real difference in our lives?" Steve questioned and saw Mike nod. "I wish I felt I was one of those I guess. I mean a teacher that had made a difference in someone's life. I've been at this job over twelve years now and I often wonder what difference am I making?"

"Well, it might just be me but I think you've given alot to these kids. You're as committed as you were when you were in homicide." Mike commented.

"Professor Keller?" a young man spoke from the outer office.

Steve and Mike went out to see who was calling Steve. As he saw who was there Mike could tell Steve was surprised. He found his voice after a few seconds.

"Caleb, it's good to see you again. Mike, this is Caleb Walsh, he's a former student. Caleb, this is Mike Stone." Steve introduced them. "What can I do for you Caleb?"

"I wanted to tell you something Professor Keller. I know it's way overdue but I never knew how to tell you before. I saw you at Mr. Osborne's funeral, before I could get over where you stood you'd left." Caleb answered.

"I didn't know you were there Caleb. You knew Mr. Osborne?" Steve inquired.

"Yes, he was my grandparents neighbor. I'd see him at times on visits to them. Professor Keller, at his funeral the man spoke about teachers who made a difference. I wanted you to know you're the one that made a real difference in my life. I know I wasn't the brightest student but you never gave up. You helped me so much more than you'll ever know. Thanks to you I found what I was meant to do in life and I'm grateful. You've always had and always will have my deepest respect and admiration." Caleb concluded.

Steve was overcome with emotion and found it difficult to speak. He struggled to regain his self control. Mike realized he was having trouble and spoke up to give Steve the few moments he needed.

"That's wonderful to hear Caleb. I'm curious what have you found, if you don't mind me asking that is?" Mike queried.

"Of course not, Lieutenant Stone. Professor Keller talked of you so much all us students felt we knew you as well as he did sometimes." Caleb grinned. "I've been accepted on staff at Fresno State in the criminology department. I owe it all to Professor Keller. Thank you again Professor."

"That's fantastic news Caleb! So you're going to be a professor?" Steve asked.

"Assistant but I plan to work hard. I just wanted you to know before I headed back." Caleb explained.

Steve walked Caleb Walsh out. After they'd shook hands, Caleb departed while Steve headed back to his office. He couldn't stop smiling as the words Caleb had said replayed in his mind over and over. When he came back into his office Mike spoke up.

"And you thought you hadn't made a difference. You sell yourself too short buddy boy. I know that young man isn't the only one whose life you've made a difference in. I tell you what I'm taking you for a celebration dinner, your choice." Mike offered.

Steve feigned shock at Mike actually planning to pay the check. Before Mike could change his mind, Steve grabbed his coat and ushered Mike toward his office door. Once he'd locked it, the two old friends headed out toward the parking lot. Steve would forever be thankful for the teachers who'd enriched his life. He also remained thankful for the man who sat with him at dinner that night. Mike had taught him so many things that he'd never be able to repay.