Halloween is here again. Even though fall is a precursor to winter, which I hate, there are many things to love about autumn. And Halloween is one of them. Who doesn’t love Halloween? Well, there are some who are opposed to it for religious reasons, but other than that, I think most people kind of get a kick out of seeing the kids in costume … Continue reading Happy Halloween
I celebrated a particularly special birthday this week. It was my calendar-year birthday. I was born in 1958 and this year I turned 58. I don’t know if there is such a thing as a special calendar-year birthday; I’ve never heard of it. But it seems very special to me. And so on this calendar-year birthday I asked my husband to take me to Cracker … Continue reading Coca Cola Cake, Ice Cream, and Sweet Tea
My high school drama teacher died this week. It makes me sad. There are some people who made significant impressions on me growing up and he was one of them. I am really quite an introvert. But for some reason, I liked to act. In my speech class I had created what was called a dramatic interpretive for possible competition on the travelling speech team, … Continue reading The Contest Play
I met the musician James Taylor on a bitter cold winter Saturday in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the late 1980’s. He lived in Santa Fe then, so I suppose it wasn’t out of the ordinary for the locals to see him on the slopes, but it was a surprise for me. The morning started out very unusually. My college friend and I had driven over … Continue reading J.T. and me
I tossed and turned all night. I had had a headache for three weeks but I could usually get to sleep with it. But this particular night, I was pretty miserable. I got up about five to go to the restroom, get something to drink, take some headache meds. When I came back to bed, I saw all my pills from the night before on … Continue reading The Princess and the Pea
“Writing is the high alchemy of the soul that combines words and ideas to create magic.” Sharif Khan Tower of Twins was born April 16, 2015. I started a blog because I enjoy writing and think it’s no fun if no one reads what you write. And so here’s how I got started. First Blog Post Ever But I had a couple of other reasons … Continue reading It’s my first blogiversary
You and I will meet again, When we’re least expecting it, One day in some far off place, I will recognize your face, I won’t say goodbye my friend, For you and I will meet again. Tom Petty When we Baby Boomers were establishing our careers, getting married, having children, etc. there was no My Space nor Facebook. There were no cell phones with free … Continue reading When our worlds’ collide
OK. Maybe you wouldn’t have done it, but I did. I really don’t need to be judged by you for it. Yes, I have been to see Barry Manilow, Neil Sedaka, and David Cassidy in concert. And, no, not all at the same time. I’ve seen America, the Beach Boys, Dan Fogelberg, and James Taylor. I’ve seen the Judd’s, Juice Newton, and even Air … Continue reading Don’t Judge Me
I loved school. I went to school for 21 years. I loved every year except one. I hated first grade!
Now back in the day, the day being the mid-60’s, we didn’t have pre-K. And some kids went to Kindergarten and some didn’t. Most of us had ‘stay at home moms’ so we just showed up for school when we were six and ready for first grade.
I hated first grade almost immediately. I didn’t like my teacher. Her name was Miss McDonald. She wasn’t a warm person. She was tall and thin. She was young. She wore pencil skirts, tailored shirts, and flat shoes.
School gave me stomach aches. For-real stomach aches. I remember my stomach aches used to frustrate my mother. One day I said I had another stomach ache. She pulled my shoes off, revealing my stirrup pants circling my feet. I remember that so vividly; I stared down at my feet. She gently tossed me back in the bed. It was kind of like, ‘what am I gonna do with this kid?’ I was a little bit ashamed, but more relieved. I pulled the pink & white chenille Cinderella bedspread over my head. I was just glad I wasn’t going to school.
Fortunately for me I loved school starting in second grade and never looked back. I just kept on going to school and college forever. 50 years after I started first grade I still lay my little school clothes out every night and get up and go to college every day. I don’t know why I got off the rails so quickly, but I’m glad that I got back on track just as quickly.
Every day I see students who got off the rails somewhere whether it was early on in elementary, or in middle school, or high school. Or maybe it wasn’t until they went away to college and flunked out. Maybe when they were little they hated their teacher. Maybe they had for-real stomach aches. Perhaps they couldn’t see well or hear well or read well, but no one knew it. It might be they didn’t have any books at home, or maybe they were hungry. Maybe they were caring for their younger brothers and sisters while their parents worked and it kept them from getting their homework done.
Perhaps they were being sexually abused by their cousin or step-dad or neighbor. Maybe in high school they got on drugs or got pregnant or got bullied because they were obese. There are so many ways to get off the rails and to not do well in school. There are so many things that prompt students to drop out.
I’m not trying to make excuses for everyone in the world who ever did badly in school. I’m just sayin’ that sometimes people get off the rails and there’s no one there to help them.
My parents weren’t highly educated folks. My mom has a high school diploma and my dad had a bachelor’s degree that he got when he was 38. When I was in first grade he was in “night school.” My brother and sister were a bit older and had already made it through the early years of school. Maybe my parents were shocked that along came this kid that hated first grade. But they quickly took action to make sure I got engaged. Remember John’s party? Maybe that’s why my mother insisted that I go.
My mom got on a school bus with me and a bunch of kids from my school, I don’t remember which grade, and went to the symphony to hear Peter & the Wolf. My dad got involved in the PTA. He came to eat lunch with me every now and then. They never missed an open house in my classroom. We went to Fall Festivals and participated in Cake Walks. We went to the downtown library often to check out books. I never gave it a second thought then, but now I wonder if all those things were to assure their little one got engaged in school.
I’ve spent my entire career trying to re-engage adult students in school or to teach others how to re-engage adult students in school. And really the very best way for students not to get off the track in the first place is to have parents who care and who try and who are engaged in their children’s education. Some kids are not so fortunate. And that’s why there are politicians who say, “it takes a village.” I can’t believe I just wrote that, but I did. I guess I’m just saying that where you can, and in what ways you are able, get involved in a child’s life or a teenager’s life or a young adult’s life or a not-so-young person’s life and encourage them to engage in education. The pay-off for society is phenomenal.
Nine tenths of education is encouragement.– Anatole France
I grew up in a house with a white picket fence. It was a literal white picket fence but was as much of a figurative white picket fence as there could be too. I grew up in the 60’s with a working dad, a stay-at-home mom, and four kids in an all American neighborhood where the families supported each other and the kids played together in each … Continue reading White Picket Fence