Dennis Stacy is still looking for his thumb.
A retired Archbold fifth grade science teacher, he still has his own thumbs.
The thumb he is looking for is actually a severed human thumb, which he kept in his Archbold classroom for several years.
Stacy, who retired from teaching in 2000 after 30 years in the classroom, said each year, students learned about the major bones in the human body before moving on to dissecting frogs.
Sometime in the 1980s, one of his students brought his grandfather’s thumb, which had been severed in an accident, to class.
The Thumb, Stacy said, was kept on the family’s mantel, preserved in a jar of formaldehyde.
The next year, another member of the family was a student, and again, The Thumb made a guest appearance.
For the next two to three years, Stacy said he would ask to borrow The Thumb to teach about the skeletal system.
“After two or three years, the boy came in and told me, ‘Grandpa said you could keep it. You like it better than he does,’” Stacy said.
Stacy said The Thumb spent 15 or 20 years in his classroom.
“It’s good for thumbing through books, or thumbing a ride,” Stacy used to say jokingly.
A number of former students of Mr. Stacy posted memories of his class on the Archbold Buckeye Facebook page.
Elizabeth (Fether) Kalakuntla, Bowling Green, posted, “I remember passing the thumb jar around!”
Mr. Stacy’s classroom could have been considered “organized chaos.”
His room was filled with science projects, posters, stuffed animals, and all sorts of science-related items… a lot of hands-on related things.
“I thought that was the best way to teach,” he said.
Zac J. Gracia said he remembers when Mr. Walker, his fifth-grade teacher, and Mr. Stacy joined their classes together for frog dissection, and the egg drop.
In the egg drop, students built containers for eggs, then dropped them off the roof of the school. The goal was for the package to land safely, without breaking the egg.
“I don’t remember the thumb, but I do remember lots of other strange things Mr. S. had to offer students,” Zac said.
Megihan Elizabeth Munn said Mr. S was “my favorite teacher by far. I remember when he brought octopus to class and had us try some.”
“I remember when he would say ‘quest,’ and we would have to reply back and say, ‘no quest Mr. S.,’” Kathy Rupp Covarrubias said.
Sarena Wentz Toadvine said Mr. Stacy “was by far the best teacher ever! He made class fun… wish we had more like him.”
Paul Kruse, Carmel, Ind., called Stacy his “favorite teacher.”
One of the most popular of Mr. Stacy’s activities was “Rocket Day.”
Throughout the year, students would build model rockets. Then, on a special day, they would launch them.
Some mothers of former Stacy students responded they still had rocket parts in their homes.
Stacy said as he was clearing out his classroom, he had The Thumb sitting in its jar, on his desk. Several students wanted it.
Stacy told them the first student who could produce a note from his or her parents, saying they were allowed to have the thumb, could take it home.
Sure enough, the next day, a student arrived with the proper document, and The Thumb was gone.
Today, Stacy and his wife Sherianne live in Toledo, where he manages commercial properties.
And he’s trying to get The Thumb back.
“I was telling friends at the lake about it, and they don’t believe me. So I’m trying to see if I can locate it,” he said.
The Thumb would have gone home with a member of the Class of 2007. Stacy placed a classified ad in this newspaper, asking for information on the whereabouts of The Thumb.
“I thought I’d take a shot at it, so I threw it out there,” he said.
Anyone with information about the whereabouts of The Thumb is urged to contact Stacy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or perhaps you could look up his number by thumbing through the Toledo phone book…