Monday, January 27, 2014

School in the 1930"s

     I’ve been gradually reading back over my old journals to stoke my increasingly fading memory and in my journal that covered the month of July in 1986, came across that period of time when Mom and Dad went to visit Dad’s remaining family in Wicomico Church, Virginia and, we (Lora, Maya, Eli, and I ) went down to pick him up.
     During the time that he stayed with us, Dad told me bits about his time growing up and this is one of the paragraphs I have recorded in my journal:

 "My dad said that he started his schooling at 8 and was placed in second grade. The way schooling worked (it was all mixed grades in one building)) was that at the end of each year you took a test to see if you passed to the next grade. If you didn’t you stayed in the grade that you were in. Dad said there were grown men 16-18 years old in the sixth grade. Most boys only went to school in winter and very few graduated. There were no compulsory attendance laws, so whenever there was work to be done, school stopped."

     It is interesting to think about how different the American education system from that time and in some ways you it is the same. Take our “No child Left Behind” policy in which the only thing that counted. Just this weekend there was a cartoon in the Philadelphia Inquirer where a young couple was pushing a stroller up to a school and the cartoon showed the weeks class schedule: Monday – testing; Tuesday – testing; Wednesday – testing; Thursday – testing; Friday – testing. The cartoon said, “We were going to try to send him to school in the city, but I think we’ve hit a roadblock.” I can still remember teaching in Georgia and having a 16 year old in the seventh grade who could have passed for a man in any bar or college campus. I guess we haven’t come all that far from the day as when Dad was in school. The results back then that out of eght kids in the family, my Dad, his younger brother Colvin, and his sister Elizabeth were the only ones that graduated from high school

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Guess Who...?

No one can deny that that 2013 was a year of changes and events for family members.  Certainly among these are Maura’s encounter with cancer, Lindsey’s passing her nursing examines and beginning work in a hospital ER, and Pat & Rita’s addition to their house and temporary relocation were among them. Nevertheless, there are many, mostly smaller events, that happened to family members, too.  I written down some “Guess who?” to test your family connection IQ. If you get 8-10 right, you really keep up with the family. If you get 3 or less right you were just lucky.  (Of course, it is possible that some of these answers may need to be changed.  If you have added information – make your comments.)

Guess who...?

  1. Ran naked on the beach? 
  1. Had to evacuate their house? 
  1. Rode a horse for the first time? 
4.                4. Worked with professional foot ball players?

  1. Had a raccoon in their house? 
  1. Was on a plane hit by lightning? 
  1. Dressed up like Michael Jordan? 
     8.  Got a new dog?

  1. Bought their own boat?
  2.   Has their middle name spelled wrong on their birth certificate?

Check out the answers below to see how you did.

1. No one went to a nude beach. It was Owen at Sea Isle City, NJ this summer.
As tempted as I am to post  pictures, I think I will save them as blackmail for when he is a teenager.

2. Ed and Carmen.  This was no joke.   The large fire on in the vallwy where they lived made the national news. Though Hailey residents were asked to evacuate overnight and Carmen did, as an ex-fire fighter, Ed stayed behind to help as the fire approached their town.

3. The answer is Dan.  After some post ponements, Maura and Dan made it to the cowboy town of Winthrop in east Washington state.  It was Dan's first time on on a horse. But I also learned that Maura had taken horseback riding in college - a fact I did not know.

4.  Eli.  He has been involved with work for the United Way in Baltimore. There was a day when inner city kids were invited to a training camp with wide receivers from of the Baltimore Ravens.  Eli was there as a representative of his firm. (Perhaps the Ravens should have recruited some of those kids.)

5. One might think this was Ed but he was the one with a moose in his yard.  The real answer is Maura and Dan again.  Kitty spotted the raccoon - it wasn't pretty.

6. Triple answer here. Maya, Lora and Mike.  They were on a plane flying out to Las Vegas during some potentially turbulent whether when they felt - depending upon who is telling the story - either a slight bump or a near explosion.  No damage was done.

7. Andrew.  Andrew's school has a "Wax Museum" in which each year student picks a person that they admire to study, dress up like and then give a speech about when visitors come up and activate them by touching their hand. Anrew picked Michael Jordan.

8. Andrew wanted a dog, Maya inherited a dog, and Melissa, sadly, lost her dog of many years, but it was Amelia who got the new dog.  She named it Poppy. Deja vu.

9. Judi and Pat. They have an RV parked down near the boat so that now they can just go down river on the boat to visit Brandi, rather than drive.  I guess in some cases retirement and fishing really do go together.

10. Elvera Northen.  Kind of a trick question, I know, but I sent for my parents' birth certificates this year and when I got Mom's her middle name is spelled "Cathrine" rather than "Catherine." Bonus question - do you know who has no middle name on their birth certificate?