In 1977, he moved to Minneapolis to attend a bible college. There he met and married his wife, Marilyn. After graduating in 1981, they moved back to Illinois, where he spent seven years as a pastor. During those years, he and Marilyn had two daughters, Rebecca and Rachelle.
In 1988, Edward and Marilyn decided they needed a change. And it became a big one. Ed took off his suit and tie and put on a janitor’s uniform. Though the transition was hard at first, he soon found his next calling. He wanted to be Mr. Ed, the school’s custodian!
And in 1994, when he took a day position working in the midst of the students, he discovered how much he enjoyed inventing stories to tell the children. He began describing everyday activities in creative and imaginative ways. Oil mops became alligators. Elephants lived in the boiler room. And ants climbed in through the floor cracks each night to attend night school!
So when a mom asked him to write a children’s book about what happened at school when the kids went home, his imagination took flight like a swarm of bees! She was asking Mr. Ed to write a book describing how he cleaned and maintained the building, but instead, the stories he had been telling the children for many years became the spark for this book.
He started to write. And draw. Over the next eighteen years, his story went through many revisions. Teachers began asking him to read his story to their classes. And in 1998, the music teacher at the school where he worked even used the story as the basis for a musical!
Now he’s delighted to finally publish his story and share the secret with you. What happens at school when you’re not there? It’s time that you knew!
What Happens at School When You're Not There?
written and illustrated by Edward J. Denecke
Do you want to know what janitors see
when children are gone? Then listen to me.
I’ll tell you right now what happens past three,
when teachers go home and students run free . . .
Longtime elementary-school janitor Edward Denecke knows the secret of what unfolds in the magical hours between last and first bell. Now, he’s excited to share it in this imaginative story about the amazing visitors that turn schoolrooms topsy-turvy when nobody’s there to see it. Nobody, that is, except the night crew of custodians who are the guardians of this whimsical world.
What happens at school? It’s time you knew!
Kindle ebook available here ($5.99)