Tomorrow is April 1...a day every Jr. High teacher loves, April Fools Day. I have played so many April Fools Day pranks that it is an outright shame. Some of my favorites were played on my poor mother. Sad to say, I still enjoy that. Today, March 31, is a day I now celebrate...April Fools Eve...less likely to draw suspicion. This morning I stood my duty post and paid particular attention watching for poor unsuspecting junior high students. They never knew what they had coming their way. I stopped several one by one (girls and boys alike) with great concern spread all over my face, "Dear, what happened to your eye?" They all replied, "Nothing, why what's wrong?" I would innocently say, "It's all black around the eye and the eye itself is bloodshot and looks like it's going to bleed." One then said, "Oh I know I hit myself with a stick..." He reached up to touch it and I said, "Oh no, it's the other eye." Of course then he had no idea and went straight to the bathroom to check it out. The girls were very clueless. They practically ran to check it out. One seventh grade boy even followed my finger as I held it up until I started laughing. I guess whatever they bring my way tomorrow I deserve, however I'm playing a non-April Fools Non-Joke! I'm giving a Unit Test! I'm hoping everyone of the darlings bring their math game face on and turn out to be April Smarties! That's how I roll on this journey. There's just one thing that's got me concerned...Bubba and the mouse...
Going to be a Crazy Day!
Maybe I'll bring my blow dryer and write speeding tickets in the hallway....interesting...
We have the absolute BEST secretary in the whole world. Diane is my FRIEND!!! She keeps me on the "well informed" list. I know about all kinds of "stuff" thanks to Diane. Sometimes she tells me, sometimes she lets me read the newspaper she keeps at her desk, sometimes she sends me e-mail. Today she shot me an e-mail. I read it...I remembered...I turned red...I laughed and then I thought I'll share. Get ready...'cause here it comes. The e-mail was written by a humorous male author and it was about his recent trip to the doctor for a colonoscopy and the pre-treatment for such. If you have had one of those things, you know they say they can save lives but when you are participating in the "pre-treatment" you're not really sure if your life is worth saving. Anyway, I thought the man did an outstanding job describing the pre-treatment or the preparation for the procedure...except he called the "cleansing" formula MoviPrep...I guess that was the name of the one they gave him, but it was much later in the day when I remembered the name of the one they gave me, Go Lightly. Believe me that name is an oxymoron if there ever was one. There was nothing lightly about the go except by the end of it all I was seven pounds lighter. Good Diet Plan, if you can stand the diet!!! He also did an outstanding job describing the procedure...NOTHING...Exactly, you remember nothing. It is a GOOD sleep. I remember turning to watch on the screen, I had every intention on staying awake...I'm glad I slept. The part he left out or perhaps was too delicate to talk about was the post-treatment. You see in order to view the colon well, they have to fill you with gas. Before you leave you have to expel all that gas. As I was waiting for my turn in the procedure room, I was lying on a cot listening to all my neighbors (just a hanging curtain away) and the nurses. The nurses would say, "Come on now, before we let you leave you must pass all this gas. You can do it." And then I'd HEAR it... OH MY! My mother would have come unglued! That is not something you do or say in polite society, but we are in a clinic. Anyway, I was mortified...if the procedure did not have me anxious I now really had a reason to be scared. As they rolled me back, I closed my eyes. First I closed my eyes so I would not accidentally see any of those gas passers, afraid I might know them. Second I closed my eyes to pray, "Dear Lord, You know if the pre-treatment and the procedure do not kill me, if the nurse says, "Come on, pass that gas!", that'll do it. Just please take me on to heaven. This is not how I planned to go, but..." Well, I'm proof the Lord answers prayers. First, He knows what's best...I slept during the procedure...Second, all the nurse said to me when I awoke was, "Mrs. Evans, you may get dressed the doctor will see you in a minute." See there...now I will say that I'm almost sure I saw some curtains move with maybe a person or two peeping as I walked by...but I did not have to be begged to pass gas, in fact my tummy was just as flat as when I walked in there. I'm not sure they even pumped me with any gas...saving that for the car. On with the journey...
This weekend we had four of our grandchildren come and stay with us. They are as wonderful as all GRANDchildren everywhere are to grandparents. I was reminded today in church by one of our wonderful parishioners how much children can be entertained by the simple things. This friend, Molly, could tell that I was absolutely exhausted and yet had a 14 month old on my hip that wanted me to stand and not sit in church. I think she has an allergy to me sitting down sometimes. Anyway Molly volunteered to hold and entertain baby for the second church service. I let her...that right there tells you how tired I was, if I'm going to give up a grand baby, I'M WEARY! Molly Girl got the baby some nursery books and then sat on the back row opposite me. Kendalyn sat quietly for her and looked through all the books, then she wanted something more. Molly pulled out a calendar from her purse. The baby set a few dates, handed it back and wanted more. Molly pulled out a checkbook cover. That had Kendalyn's attention for a few minutes. What held her attention the longest it seemed was when Molly pulled out her wallet and started pulling out the plastic. That child was dealing then. By the time Kendalyn had looked through every part of Molly's purse and was about to start squealing to run and play, church was over. My friend said to me after church, "It always amazes me how much fun children have just playing with the simple things. They don't need all this 'high tech' stuff." She's exactly right. A couple of summers ago when Ken and I started "Mammy and Pappy" Camp, one of our first investments was a Sky Fort! The kids have had a lot of fun with it since, but at that first camp as you can see by the picture below the most fun was from the boxes the thing came in and sticks from the yard. It seems boxes make the best forts and sticks the best weapon. You know, come to think of it boxes were a hot commodity when I was young too. The journey is wild sometimes and all we have to do is GET SIMPLE! Thanks Molly Girl for the reminder...
You know how you feel when you know something "neat" is about to happen or something kind of unique... Today something like that happened. My daughter, Tafta, attended a birthday party out of town. On her way back into town, Shreveport, she passed an estate sale. Riding with her was the greatest five year old shopper, Audrey Jane. She asked her if she'd like to stop at the estate sale. The word A. J. clued in on was "sale". Of course she said, "Oh yes. Those are my favorite things ever." Tafta called me after they had loaded her car with their loot. She had only bought a few things, something Audrey had picked out, a prize for me and her mother-in-law and a few pieces of jewelry for herself. But something had caught her interest and she had left it on the table. Something she thought I might be interested in so she was calling to see if I wanted her to go back in and make the purchase. It was the woman's Baby Book. I said, "Oh my, why would they (children or heirs) be selling their mother's or grandmother's Baby Book. Of course I want it." Tafta proceeded to inform me that it was beautiful and she thought the woman had been born in the late 1920's or 30's, but the estate salesperson had told her when she inquired about the book, "Well, you know you can't keep everything." Really? It's not like keeping your mother's baby book makes you a full fledged hoarder. I told Tafta to please go back in there and get me that Baby Book. Tafta had me on the phone as she re-entered the estate. She was talking all the way to the book table. She read several other titles as she's looking. Then says, "Oh Mama, it's not here. I guess someone else picked it up. It was beautiful." I was just about to get disappointed when the "estate lady" asked, "Are you looking for this?" as she held up the book. Evidently she had heard Tafta's part of the conversation and had picked up the book and taken it to the sales table for her...um...I call it destiny...fate.
A little later Tafta calls me back, she's sitting at a red light reading the book. She fills me in on the lady's first words, pictures, all kinds of things, then she says, "Oh Mama, here's her birth announcement. July 11, 1927." I asked her to read that again. She did, then said, "Oh my, that's your birthday July 11!" Yes it is except I was born in 1957. But you know what is also neat, my daddy Frank Murphy, Sr. was born two days after that delightful lady, July 13, 1927. I don't know if the family really meant to sell their mother's or grandmother's Baby Book but it landed in the hands of a lady that shares the same day, thirty years later, daughter of a man born two days later. What a wonderful piece of history...I will take care of it for the rest of my journey anyway...
Thanks Tafta and A. J. for enriching the ride just a little bit more...
You remember the mouse...you remember the fur on the "sticky" strip...well here's the rest of the story. Mr. Garza, a fellow teacher at our school, heard me talking to Mona & Bubba about the fur on the strip. Mr. Garza is a very kind man. He is a humanitarian with a heart for animals. I don't know the name for that. He says to me, "Mrs. Evans I know you've heard of the Double Jeopardy Rule. It seems to me that if you caught the mouse and it got away (or most of it got away, anyway) that the Rule applies. You have to let it go." This is not in my game plan, but Mr. Garza continues, "I have a small varmint trap, in which I can put some food and catch that brave little guy. Then I will release him on the 40 acres where I live or nearby." I can see no harm in that, unless Mr. Garza is my next door neighbor. I REALLY don't want that mouse any where near me. But I reply to Mr. Garza that he has a deal. The "sticky" thing didn't work and I reason he is correct about the Double Jeopardy Rule. Bubba is shaking his head and laughing at us, Mona is just a grinning.
Thursday morning, Mr. Garza gets there early (as he does every day, morning duty) and sure enough he has remembered the trap. He is toting a small metal thing that looks like the kind of trap my husband has used for larger varmints like squirrels or such. He demonstrates to me how the mouse will smell the food he has provided, run in and then can't get out. I think it's great so he is off to show Mona who happens to be in my room. He sets the trap...we leave the "sticky" things just in case. Thursday afternoon I have to tell you, I was a little disappointed that we didn't have a mouse yet and a bit anxious because Mr. Garza said if we didn't have a mouse by Friday afternoon, he'd take it back because he wouldn't won't the mouse to be caught and left there all weekend. I'm very anxious. Bubba said, "Well you might as well take it now, you aren't going to catch that mouse." That Bubba...
Friday morning, Mona and I am in my room...I'm in the front saying, "Mona do you hear anything back there?" She says, "No, but I'll check in a minute." She was busy. In comes Mr. Garza. Out goes me, because I'm really afraid of that thing and I don't want to see it! Mr. Garza comes quickly out of my room to let me know he had CAUGHT IT!!!! He took the trap with mouse to his car for a later release. Mr. Garza's planning period is second hour. At that time he took the mouse to a local cemetery. When he lifted the door of the trap, the mouse took off so very fast, it ran right into a tombstone. Mr. Garza shook his head and marveled at the name...PATTON..."See there," he told me later, "that was a brave mouse. It was named after one of the most famous generals of all time...Gen. George Patton." Mona and I were impressed with his catching the mouse. Bubba is still shaking his head!!!
Our eldest granddaughter is in the first grade. She is very serious about her education. Katharyn McKinley Evans always does her best and she expects everyone else to do their best also. I remember last year when she started Kindergarten, Stacy (mom) and Jonathan (dad) were a little bit afraid that Katharyn might be a little bit intimidating to the teacher! Imagine that! Well, her K-Teacher gave each student in the class an old workbook to take home for additional practice. Kate did not understand the take home and leave home policy. She finished the workbook and took it back to school for appropriate grading and praise. She received acknowledgement and then, "Kate, that is for home and it is to stay there." Ummmm...I told her I thought she did a WONDERFUL job! She'll find self gratification soon enough...Right now I'm happy to provide Mammy Praise! And since I'm a teacher as well, I recognize great quality work when I see it. Jonathan, Kate's Dad, is our eldest. I remember his days of school...I cannot tell you how many times I looked over his homework and said, "Son, I can't read that. You need to get a clean piece of paper and start over." If you've ever helped or begged or drug or coerced one of yours into doing their homework you know the drill. He called me shortly after Kate's beginning school days. It seems she had brought home a set of papers for him or mom to look over and sign. It befell Jonathan to complete the task this particular morning. He reported that he quickly skimmed through the "perfect" papers and then scribbled his first and last name on the top paper in the space set aside for parental signature. He handed the papers back to Katharyn so she could put them in her back pack. She did not. She looked at the signature; she glared at him. She said, "Erase that and write your name again. You can do better than that!" I love it!!! Sometimes the journey just seems to travel in a full circle!!!
Oh Ms. Mona and Mr. Bubba...Maybe they shouldn't even be in the same sentence since they do spend their day in separate halls...ummm...These two wonderful people are the Custodians of our school. If there's one person you want to be your friend, it is the custodian of your school. No matter what your relationship to the school is, those two KNOW what's going on all over the building and with everybody in the building. They are not "busybodies" even though believe me they are very BUSY. They just know what's going on because they SEE everything. For instance, if I think a child is trying to pull the wool over my eyes about being sick, Bubba can tell me exactly how many trips the kid has made to the bathroom and whether or not they made it. Now I know that sounds bad, but this is helpful information...especially on test days. Mona can tell me who's mad at who and who I better watch out for. If they are after me, I can count on Mona...she's got my back like white on rice! They are my FRIENDS. I know Mona is my friend because as I said she watches out for me, she picks up pencils in the hall for me (or sweeps them by my door), she makes sure my room is ready to start the day EVERYDAY. I think Bubba is my friend because he likes to pick on me. Most times if you don't like someone you leave them alone. Bubba may have issues, but he's MY friend!!! All this leads me to my problem. A week ago, late one evening, while I was putting grades in my computer, I saw a little brown furry (dare I say it) mouse run across my floor. I almost...well you can imagine. I HATE those things. Anyway, next morning I quickly found Mona and told her. Just as quickly to my rescue she put out a "sticky" thing. Bubba laughed. He said, "You won't catch it and if you do I've got plenty more where that one came from." See I told you, he's my friend. He's trying to imply he put it in there because he knows I'm TERRIFIED of those things. Anyway, today I noticed there was something that looked like some fur on one corner of the "sticky" thing. So I had one of my trusted students, a brave young lad, go to the back and investigate. He reported that yes indeed it was fur. I asked Mona if maybe she'd caught the rodent and trashed it. But she said no, she had noticed that the fur was there but she guessed it got off. OH NO!!! To this remark Bubba just laughed, took off his hat revealing a bald streak running the full length of his round head and said, "So if you see a mouse again, take a good look and see if he looks like this." That Bubba, he is my friend. Mona's going to set a trap for him!!!
Sweet little Sadee Ann! Sadee is three, actually she'll be four May 4th. That is very hard to believe. She is SOMETHING!!! Don't exactly know what that something is yet, but definitely something. She is the oldest daughter of Joe and Casondra and probably a pretty good mixture of the pair. She can be BRATTY, serious, delightful, respectful, defiant, everything a three year old should be. She will start her journey in school this fall. She is suppose to start Pre-K. I remember when it was time for her Daddy to start Kindergarten. He did not want to go. He pondered it for weeks. Finally he asked me, "Mama did you go to Kindergarten." I said, "No, baby, they didn't have Kindergarten in public school when I was little." He countered with, "Did Daddy go?" Of course my answer was the same. He folded his little arms, stomped his little feet, pouted his lips and said, "Well if you didn't go and Daddy didn't go, then I'm not going either." Needless to say, Joe went...But since he was number four, I did cry and some days I went with him. But that's another story. Back to Sadee. She's going to be a trip all by herself. Her mother, Cas, works very patiently with her to learn Bible verses now for Sunday School. Cas says you can see Sadee's mind working 90 miles an hour at least on the next thing she wants to say when she's through listening. Her Bible verse this last week was Ruth 1: 16. Now, sometimes Cas tries to give a little background...she's such a great teacher. As she was trying to "load" Sadee's background knowledge about who Ruth was, Sadee's mind was just a whirling. Cas said she knew it was over when Sadee asked, "Hey, hey Mama...Do you remember Rutholf the Red Nosed Reindeer?" That baby is going to fly high on her journey!!!
What do you expect from someone that graduated from college when she was only a mere 6 mos. old?
Yesterday I wrote a story about teaching some problem students that had somehow fallen behind, maybe this was before the infamous "No Child Left Behind" policy. I think we need to be honest with ourselves and admit that the only time that policy really works is when the last bell sounds and the buses pull out. Otherwise someone is always a little or sometimes even quite a bit behind. But when the yellow buses leave No Child is Left Behind! Not everyone learns at the same pace and if we slow down too much all the GLEs (grade level expectations) will not get covered, then everyone is behind...Vicious Circle. I hate it. The professional educators I know and am associated with love their jobs and strive to do it well. None of us actually want to see ANY child behind or lost. We would like to see all excel and shine in their own way. I believe they are all gifted, they just open their packages at different times. Sometimes I get to see it and sometimes it happens after they leave me. I know educators have wrestled with the problem of student "mastery" for years, perhaps forever. Different teachers use different strategies but all have the same ultimate goal: draw the absolute best out of each and every student. One fellow teacher I worked with years ago, believed if you didn't master a concept he owned all your free time. He kept them in from recess, P E, computer class...ANY free time a failing student had or anything that looked like fun he owned until that student had mastered the concept. It appeared to me both student and teacher were a bit frustrated in this effort, but I left it ALONE. Until...remember that class I spoke of...remember Lil' Richie...he knew the cursing phone number...One day Lil' Richie came into my class so very upset. He had Mr. O'Hand for Social Studies, and had yet to master the Amendments to the Constitution or some such. My "secret" answer was learn where to find them in the encyclopedia or such, but no one asked me...Until Lil' Richie came in that day, so very upset because he owed that particular teacher his recesses and his P. E. for the week. I think his question to me summed it up well, "Mrs. Evans, Is it right to keep a boy inside all the time just 'cause he don't know nothing?" Now what are you going to do with that? Keep those school buses running!!!
I love teaching the Middle School Age children! They are finding themselves and other selves and just really finding out what life is all about. I like to think I can make a difference, but sometimes you just wonder. I tell them every year that I can teach a monkey to do math (and then I demonstrate with my hands 1 + 1, beat my hands together, hold up 2). They are always impressed with that. Then I say I want to teach them to understand math, meta cognition, think about your thinking. Sometimes a student will just let a cuss word slip here. They just can't help it. Love math, think about math, understand math...the woman is crazy. If they only knew! When I hear that first curse word, I always tell them my husband is a Baptist Preacher and he really doesn't want me around cursing. So, he taught me this poem and I want them to remember it:
He'll cuss for all of us!
Strangely they like that and they'll remind each other or say, "Call Gus" or something along those lines almost every time. I don't think I've ever in twenty years written a student up for cursing. I just don't hear it. Some may think me deaf...anyway.
One year I had 17 students for three hours. This was a group of students that had "fallen behind" for some reason. One big reason was their behavior. They were a rough bunch. But I loved them...Some of them were absolutely precious to me...some of them were savable...some were not. One graduated from high school with honors and one is in prison for life. You never know how it's going to turn out, so you just give it your all and love them as much as possible. Anyway back to the story, as always first or second day of school, some child said a big old curse word. All the class looked at me, what will she do...I told them my poem. Told them to write it down and memorize it. Then continued teaching math. A month or so later "Joelathem" came into the classroom an hour late and very disheveled. I took one look at him and knew he was having a rough morning and if I wasn't careful it could work into a rough day for all of us. So I gently asked him, "Joe are you alright? Can I help you?" His reply, "Ms. Evans, I need that phone number." I shook my head and looked at him, had no idea what he was talking about until Lil' Richie spoke up, "I know it! It's 1-800-Cus-Word!" Joe then asked if he could go to the phone...Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow and enjoy the ride!
Yesterday, March 18, was a very special day some 50 or so years ago...One of my best friends growing up, Janet, was born on that day. Janet was and is a royal hoot! She and I, along with quite a few wonderful Swartz (Wham Break) kids, had some really great adventures. Some of them I'm still sworn to silence on, I believe she made me promise to take them to the grave. Problem was none of us thought we'd live this long. I remember when 30 was OLD...but that's another story. Today I'll just tell about one of our school adventures. Janet and I enjoyed pretending to be spies. In fact I still have my Spy Book from the summer I turned 16...that'll be a HOT TOPIC at our next "Girls Night Out!" Janet is one year younger than me; she has a sister, Karen one year older than me. I loved and love both those girls! You talk about daylight and dark, they are...in temperament, in thought, even in looks. Karen is a lovely blond and Janet is a beautiful brunette. Janet encouraged my "brattiness" and Karen tried to contain it. Janet was happy to be embarrassed with me, Karen was afraid of it but always accepted it. They were both in my wedding and have been important in my life forever...Back to the story. When Janet arrived at Ouachita High School one year after me, we'd already spied out everyone just about in Swartz so we had new game. The first "marks" she spotted were two upper class men that arrived everyday in a Trans-Am. You gotta know they looked goooood to us little bumpkins. Now it seems these guys were late everyday, or sometimes anyway. At Ouachita, back in the day, if you were tardy you had to report to detention or something like it. It was a classroom, held by one of the coaches, until the bell rang for second period. Janet nor I were ever late. We rode the bus and got to school way before daylight. So our main problem was to hide somewhere until the bell rang so we could report to the "holding room" just so we could find out info on the guys...We didn't know what we'd do with the info and heaven forbid if either of them had talked to us, we'd died right there on the spot. Of course I don't think either of them ever even knew we existed. Janet and I had great fun though, putting "anonymous" notes in their lockers, setting up friends in the library, showing up right as they were coming out of a class...these things were not easy tasks. We were sophisticated with our work. We enlisted a teacher who got us class schedules and everything. I even joined the Chess Club...We stopped the day one of them looked at us sideways and kind of elbowed the other one. It's no fun when someone suspects you...We were on to bigger people...Elvis and Tom Jones! But that's another story...Happy Birthday Janet, I've enjoyed the ride!
This evening when I walked out with Ken to feed the cats, dogs, chickens, and rabbits, he asked me to turn on the water hose. As I was reaching behind the stoop he said, "Now, watch out for snakes. There could be one near by." I'm not afraid of snakes or spiders or anything like that...I'm afraid of mice...but that's another story...His warning of the snakes reminded me of one of my all-time favorite Ken & Snake stories! We were living in Natchitoches and our neighbor was the basketball coach at NSU. Coach "Jones" kept an immaculate yard with immaculate hedges. Ken will tell you that his hedges were like a table top...smooth and straight. One evening Ken and Jonathan walked over to Coach's to ask him something or other that's when Ken spied a snake on the table-top hedge. He pointed it out to Coach. Coach shivered, evidently snakes are not his favorite species. Now Ken loves to listen to the old-timers and he'd heard quite a few of them talk about "popping" the head off of a snake. He, personally, had never done this nor seen it done, but he was definitely interested in trying so he spoke up to the situation. "Coach, would you like me to "pop" its head?"
"Well, Preacher, can you?" If I'd been there I would probably have saved him on that one...Really, is there anything this man can't do? And if you dare say, "Can you?" That's like saying, "It's on like a chicken bone!"
Ken replied, "Sure, I'd be glad to." He reaches for and grabs the snake by the tail. Ken had not anticipated the snake turning for his arm...When that happened Ken let go of the snake, threw it up in the air, and wouldn't you know it, the snake hit Coach's porch ceiling and came down around Coach's neck...The whole community heard the blood curdling scream as Coach took off running across his front yard bent over with the snake dangling down both sides of his neck. I looked out the front door just in time to see the snake slither back to the ground and Coach backing away holding his heart as the snake was coiling for a strike. Then Coach stormed into his house slamming the door. The worst part of the scene was Ken was slapping his knee laughing so hard it's a wonder he didn't hurt himself. Jonathan just looked at Ken and said, "Daddy is Coach mad at you?"
Ken, "Well Jonathan, looks like he might be. Go get the hoe." Jonathan went and got the hoe, Ken killed the snake and a year later Coach spoke to him again.
Moral of the story: If Ken is going to pop the head of a snake, I'm going inside...That's how I roll!!!
I told a story earlier in my days of blogging about Ma Brown ("A Much Kneeded Lesson"), the 100 or so year old American Indian from Natchitoches. Remember, Ma Brown lived in a shack and literally had next to nothing. She had enough...
Actually that's not true, I believe she knew the Lord, therefore she had everything. Remember also I was a young preacher's wife and a bit pious...and maybe even a little haughty in piety. Oh the lessons life teaches us! I remember one Christmas, I bought Ma Brown some pretty winter gloves, a warm winter hat, and a scarf. I wrapped it very prettily and was extremely proud of my family's gift to this dear Saint. When the family all went together to deliver the gift, Jonathan, our oldest who was six at the time, pulled out a little plastic wallet he'd been given by someone for Christmas. It had a horse and rider on it, clearly a wallet for a little boy. He said, "Mama, I want to give this wallet to Ma Brown." I said, "Oh Jonathan that's very sweet of you, but she doesn't want your wallet, baby. We have this nice gift for her, it'll be fine." Probably we finished with the "You kids behave while we're visiting" speech as we walked up to her door. I really thought no more about Jonathan's gift. Until...I presented our family's gift to Ma Brown probably with a pompous air, just sure she didn't have anything that nice and would love it. She opened it and set it aside, saying thank you...and that was done. You see now I know she was very warm with her kerchief that she enjoyed wearing around her head and her hands were worn and leathery just as warm, but most importantly Ma Brown was warmed by the very breath of God. After visiting for maybe five minutes my sweet Jonathan could stand it no more. He said, "Ma Brown, I have a gift for you too." He pulled out his little plastic cowboy wallet. Ma Brown's eyes came alive! She "leaped" out of her rocker and started praying, "Oh Jesus, thank you for a little brother that listens to You!" She took the wallet from Jonathan, went over to her bed, pulled up the mattress and took out a handkerchief. My eyes filled with tears when I saw her unwrap her handkerchief and there was a tattered, worn out plastic wallet. She carefully transferred her treasures to her new wallet, praising the Lord and the child the entire time. That night a young woman witnessed the value of a child's gift to an old woman, but most importantly she learned to value the heart and words of a child. I've tried to let this lesson weigh heavily in my dealings with children and especially their gifts to me. Most especially, I thank God for all the children He has blessed me with in my life. Children are surely a gift from God...and I'm glad my gifts started with a special boy...my sweet Jonathan...let the journey continue on!
Jonathan and Stacy have been blessed with four precious gifts...but that's another story...
If you've read some of my other blogs, you know that our son Ben was a "something" when it came to going to school...He taught us a thing or two. It came as little surprise to me when his eldest went to school and I got a call from Ben. Ben's little wife, Ashley, is a quiet person who likes to please others. She listens well, knows how to follow directions and I don't think was really ready for a "Wild One". But she is a QUICK, eager learner! Ben called me a little after a week or two of Kindergarten, the conversation went something along these lines. It seems Ashley had gotten a bad paper home on Riggs. The teacher had marked - 5 at the top of the paper, she highlighted and put an asterick * by the directions that denoted a note she had written at the bottom of the paper. She had written "Riggs is not following directions, he can do better than this." She had placed a smiley face for mom at the end of her note. (K teachers are like that; they try to soften the blow.) Ashley, the mom, had tried to talk to Riggs about following directions and listening but she was feeling all "talked out". She decided it was Dad's turn. When Ben got home, she handed the paper to him. He was going to be "Mr. Tough Guy." (That's only for Chuck Norris, but that's another story.) He tells Riggs to meet him in his bedroom. Riggs bounces in. Did I mention he's kin to Tigger?
Ben scowls at the youngster. "Boy, do you see this paper?"
Riggs, "YES SIR!"
Ben, "Well, what do you have to say for yourself?"
Riggs, "I did really great! Look Dad, I got a high 5 (-5) a star (* denoting note) and a smiley face (for mom)!!!!
Ben said all he could do was say, "Ok, I'll get back to you..."
He calls me, "Mom, what do you do with that?"
Me, "I think you better realize THERE'S LIFE AFTER KINDERGARTEN AND THE BOY IS A GENIUS!!!"
I've never known a kid that could turn three strikes into such a positive message...except maybe his Dad, Ben, and Pappy, Ken...But that's how those folks keep on rolling!!!
Pappy and Riggs...so very much alike...WONDERFUL FOLKS!
Saturday morning I attended my beloved Sophee "Debbie" Lynn's birthday party at a park in Natchitoches. Everytime I visit Natchitoches, I am swamped with memories and nostalgia. Ken and I lived there for 18 years. It is where we raised our children, where I finished college and where I began my teaching career. The place is haunted with real good memories and filled with friends. I'm glad Joe, Cas, Sadee "Janice" Ann, and lil Sophee still live there. It gives me a real good reason to return and visit.
Yesterday, in the park, I was "in charge" of trying to fly kites, a self-posted position. Joe mentioned it would be fun so I bought Sophee a new kite and brought some tetrahedral kites my seventh graders made last year for some colorful fun. The new kite got up a few times thanks to Ken, not enough wind to keep it up...the tetrahedral kites...ummm not so good. They were a little too heavy with next to no wind. But I'm sure there is not a design flaw; I'm sure they'll fly with the right wind. But that's another story. Anyway there we are in the park, when I see Ken speak and then call Tafta (our daughter) over to speak to a young man who is in the next part of the park watching his son at T-ball practice. After a few more runs up and down the field, trying to fly a flightless bird, I made my way over to meet the young man. I was delighted when he said "Hi, Mrs. Evans, it's me 'Lance'." Wow! He's now a grown man, a responsible father, and a real asset to the community. I knew he came from "fine folk" but boy did seeing him again bring back memories.
"Lance" was in the second group of eighth graders I was privileged to teach at St. Mary's Catholic School. That group of kids had something like 12 girls and 18 boys...and they were "BOYS!" I was hired to simply teach two sections of reading and two sections of math that year. However, first day of school, all the children are waiting in the gym and my principal taps me on the back and says, "Mrs. Evans, I need to speak to you in my office." As a child this was not unusual for me, but as a teacher, I think this was the first time I was summoned and the door was closed behind me. Mr. Lee cleared his throat, rubbed his forehead, and looked at me pityingly. I stood strong. He said, "The nun that was suppose to be your teaching buddy, quit on me this morning." (That's not so good for a Baptist Preacher's wife...) He continued, "I'm going to ask you to take the eighth grade class, self contained, all subjects. If you need to take time and think about this, or if you feel you need to quit or talk to Mr. Evans, I don't blame you. Knowing the demographics of the class it's going to be tough." I was young, I was brave, maybe I was an idiot, but I said, "Sure I can do it, as long as it's ok with Ken that I go full time." That decision was one of the best decisions I made. The class Lance belonged to was a challenge, a DELIGHTFUL challenge. They were young boys full of mischief, full of fun and I loved them.
I told Lance yesterday, every Christmas I think of them, because one day before Christmas they hid an antique birdhouse ornament from Germany in my room behind some books. It "tweeted" all morning before I finally found it, the boys heehawed...I adore that thing...
I also spoke of Lance last week in my class. I had the class taking a test and when complete they had to staple their worksheet to the test before turning it in. I'll never forget the day Lance did that. I warned the class not to do what he did. When he stapled his test, he stapled his finger too. That poor boy...the staple went in, his eyes (filled with tears ) met mine, he ran out my classroom door, into the hall, out the back door of the school onto the tennis courts. You could hear him cursing long and strong. (No wonder the nun left me...) All the kids in my class looked at me in fear for him, wondering what I would do. When he returned, quite shamed but ok again, I just hugged him. There was nothing else to do, but grade his test...first 100 he ever made...That's how I roll on this journey. That test had proved to be painful enough and he learned a great lesson. When I visited with him yesterday, he still remembered that event...
Happy Birthday Sophee and thanks for the walk in Memory Park...
A friend of mine and Ken's, much older in years and wisdom, use to say to us all the time when the children were very young, "Yes siree, before you get those youngins raised, you're going to know what a circus is all about!" And he was right. The good news is we're still on that circus ride, now we just get to ride it vicariously and sometimes straight up with the twelve grandchildren...and sometimes their parents...Today's story is about reflections I've made about my own way of doing things based on my granddaughter Anne-Claire.
Anne-Claire and I both love the rules. Doesn't matter what we're doing, we want to know what the rules are first. How do we win? How do we stay out of trouble? How do you want the job done? We want to make sure we understand on the ground floor. What has amazed me in my personal life is how well I've been able to understand the rules, abide by the rules and stretttttchhhh the rules to fit me like a warm winter glove. Anne-Claire can do this extremely well. She truly desires to understand the rules and abide by them, and bless her heart has already learned to adapt them...
Anne-Claire is in Kindergarten; she is Ben and Ashley's second born. They live in northwest Arkansas.
Everyone that lives in Fayetteville knows how COLD this winter has been. Anne-Claire might have been born in Bentonville, Ark., but she's got a warm Louisiana heart. She gets cold..She and her older sibling, Riggs, attend a private school that is pretty doggone prestigious...The school is touted as one of the best. They are in school uniforms and each blouse, shirt, hoodie, sweater,etc. bears the school insignia proudly. One freezing cold day this winter, some of the parents were visiting the K class for a short program. One mother had brought a younger child still in his footed pajamas. Anne-Claire and some of her little girl friends sat near the feet of this mother and young child. She overheard their conversation. It went something like this...
Anne-Claire's Friend: "I wish I could wear footed pjs to school." Others ooohed, ahhhed, ummmed and agreed.
Anne-Claire: "We probably could, we just gotta get that patch sewed on!"
See there that's what I mean! Understand the rule and STREEEETTTCH the rule. That baby is brilliant and with footed pjs in the classroom her journey would be a lot snugglier and warmer!
There have been two men in my life that stand out as men with a "Servant's Heart", my husband and my brother. My husband...that's another story. My brother...today is a story for him. Today happens to be Frank's birthday. It's the first speed limit I recall; it's the big 5 - 0!!! It doesn't seem like fifty years have passed since Mom delivered him at home, didn't make it to the hospital on time...had him in her room, with us older three girls at the other end of the house. I don't really recall that, it was late at night and I was only three. My daddy got home just in time to tie the cord. He had hired a lady to stay with mama and help her get to the hospital if necessary, but she got excited I guess when it was time and got the car stuck in the ditch beside the driveway. Mama just went to her room and delivered! That's how she raised us also, if a job needs to get done just DO IT! Anyway, that's also another story. Remember this blog is about lessons, I'm not really going to give a lesson on birthing, I just wanted to talk about my brother and the things I've learned from him during this journey. He has a "Servant's Heart". He loves people. He loves his family, always has. I don't recall that fellowfussingwith any of us older three girls EVER when we were young. He was and is simply PRECIOUS! I do remember sitting in the living room, watching TV and being cold. It was probably at the best part of a really great movie. I (or any one of my sisters) could say, "I'm cold, Frank Honey, would you go get me a blanket?" and up he'd get. I don't remember him denying us anything that he could get done. Even more recently, he sold our old home place. He called me, asked me if I wanted it or had any problems with him selling it. I said, "No, it belongs to you. But I remember when the new sidewalk was built and I would like a piece of it. (I'm very nostalgic.) The kid dug up the whole thing... He is "Laid Back" when he needs to be and a person of action when he needs to be. Frank can be so laid back that you wonder if the job will get done in this life. He might not get excited about everything you think he should. However if the boy needs to get it on. He can. When he was a teen-ager he was really "bulked" up and he did a few gigs as the "Hulk". I think if he had to move a mountain he could. Believe me, I've seen him move.
I do remember when us older three went to school and had to leave Buzzy behind. The darling cried. He so wanted to go with us. He was also waiting there in the front yard by the road when the bus came to bring us home. He missed us and loved us and wanted to be around us. But maybe not always...Frank also knows how to disappear! Sometimes we would look for hours for Frank Jr. after he got old enough to wonder on his own. He might be asleep by a tree in the woods, swimming in a forbidden hole, running through fields with friends, climbing trees somewhere, or visiting with Grandma but you sure wasn't going to find him if he didn't want to be found.
I think he still has these characteristics, he's a GREAT man...just ask any of his sisters! By the way, when the little lad went to school and the teacher asked him what his name was, he told her straight up,"Frank Honey." Still is...love that boy~!!!! (The journey's been sweet.)
I can shop, til I drop and never buy a thing...I am the Queen of window shopping! I love to find a good deal, sometimes I buy and sometimes I walk away... Sometimes I just love to SHOP,SHOP, SHOP... I think this love has been passed down to my granddaughter Audrey Jane. This is one little great shopper. She's content to just go and look; she's content to buy. Audrey Jane has taught me a few lessons about shopping I didn't know until she arrived on the scene. Maybe you also can benefit from these tidbits of knowledge:
Lesson # 1 A. J. loves for me and her to be engaged in making some sort of project (at my house or hers) constantly...One day, much to her delight, I took her to the ultimate crafter's store: MICHAEL'S. She was delighted just standing outside the doors. And outside the store is where she taught me my lesson. "OK Mammy, before we go in, this is a Arts and Craps (couldn't say Crafts) store. Before we go in, we gotta decide are we gonna do Arts or Craps; we can't do both. So, Mammy what's it gonna be?" I wasn't sure but I was pretty sure her pronunciation of the situation would be exactly what it turned out to be. So before you go in...you gotta decide...What's it gonna be?
Lesson # 2 Audrey's mama took her on a pre-Christmas shopping/planning trip. Tafta was letting A. J. pick out what she thought she wanted Santa to bring her. Audrey looked at everything (and I mean everything) on the shelf. Her eyes rested on a box; she pointed to it and asked her mama, "What's that?" Tafta looked and said, "Oh Audrey, that's a Snow Cone Machine. You get that and we could make snow cones." Audrey's eyes lit up and her little hands went to both sides of her mouth, "Oh I did not even know I needed that thing!" The story of my life & shopping...
Lesson #3 Tafta, A. J., and I were out of town for a family function. Audrey Jane got her feelings hurt by someone inadvertently. The poor child was devastated. Nothing could cheer her up. I was driving so I pulled into a HUGE store that Tafta and I wanted to visit. It had EVERYTHING! You could tell this without going in, just by looking in the great big picture windows that covered the storefront. I knew A. J. was depressed, but I didn't realize how much until she said, "I'll just stay in the car..." Yeah, like I'm gonna leave my 5 year old shopping buddy in the car. We convinced her to come in and told her she could just walk by the buggy and not even talk. She did...for about 1/2 the store. All of a sudden she stopped dead still, through her hands up in the air and shouted, "OK everybody let's just cheer up and BUY SOMETHING!" Another testament to my shopping mantra...
So here it is folks, we're not going to take it with us when we go so we might as well follow A. J.'s advice and, "cheer up and buy something" 'cause you probably don't even know everything you need yet. Just make sure you choose between your arts and your crafts!!!
Our third child, Ben, can be quite an improviser. I used to say of him, when he was yet a mere lad, "That boy sees trouble coming and puts out a welcome mat." He was never BAD, he just saw opportunities...The first "opportunity" involving school that I recall was afforded him in kindergarten. He was barely out of the gate so to speak...barely on his way in the journey...barely getting the car started...you get the drift. His K teacher, Mrs. "Loydrock" loved him. I'm glad. You remember "K" class...you get a fresh start every morning. If you get in trouble, you might move your stick (warning), more trouble...flip your stick, more trouble, I don't know by this time I'm ready to put your stick in the trashcan, but that's another story. "K" teachers are very forgiving, you get 4 - 5 warnings before a note goes home, of course this depends on the offense. Anyway, one day I was home and I got a call from Ben's "K" teacher. She says, "Mrs. Evans, did you or your husband read the note I sent home yesterday concerning Ben's conduct." Me, "Uhummmmm, (shaking in my boots) No. I didn't see a note and I did go through Ben's backpack." Mrs. Loydrock, "Well, are you sure your husband didn't?" Me...(More nervous) "Yes mam, I'm sure, he's out of town." Mrs. Loydrock, "That's what I thought. Ben got in trouble yesterday, several minor offenses, anyway I sent a note home for you or your husband to sign. I got it back this morning and it was signed just 'KEN' and it looks like Ben's handwriting. I think I'm just going to let you handle this. I'll send it back today." I hang up thinking well at least he can spell "KEN". Ben gets home from school...I say, "Ben did your teacher send me a note yesterday or today." He gives me a precious sideways glance. There's no where to run and nothing to say..."Yes mam." Hand it over boy was my attitude. He did. I tell you his "KEN" was fantastic. I gave the child a law review right there and then. I covered fraud, forgery, lying...believe me I can go on and on. When I was finished, my precious boy stomped his little foot and said, "UMP, I knew I shoulda wrote in cursive." LOVE IT!!! All I could think of was "Man this is just Kindergarten! if this is a journey we've got a long way to go before we get 'There', wherever the end may be." When Daddy got home, all I could think of is "Are we there yet?"
Justice: He's grown and he's got some just like him!!!
Reward: Priceless ;)
Yesterday was Sunday and I was sick!!! Did not get to go to church. I missed meeting with the sisters and the brothers. As I was lying in bed snuffling and sniffling, I reflected on all the years of Sunday School I've been privileged to attend. I was raised in a church where I believe people loved their community and the people that were around them. I remember very fondly some of my Sunday School teachers that were older women and wonder still today how did they do it? They put up with some smarty youngins that really didn't care about anything but playing. I think they truly cared about us. I KNOW that some of the younger women at the time HAD too. There is NO way some of those young and older couples could have put as much time in us younger ones if they didn't care. Some of these young couples opened up their homes and let us gather there; came to the church at "off" times and let us play. They must have loved us. (But those are stories for another day, but thank you Ms. Ann, just the same!) I like to think that now we pass that on.
Today's story is about a Sunday School class I landed in after I became a "Young Married", and boy was I young...(That also is another story.) I won't even change this name because I don't feel I need to. The teacher was Mr. Shorty Legget. My husband was the Music Director at the church, so often he was not in Sunday School, in fact I don't think he ever attended that class. Many of the "Young Marrieds" were needed to fill other positions in the church...teachers, helpers, nursery...etc. I was one of the faithfuls to the Sunday School Class. I remember on SEVERAL occasions it would be just me and Mr. Shorty. I will never forget the love and concern he had for his class. I remember how he came in the first time it was just me and him. He said, "Deb, You and Ken can read the scripture and lesson at home and discuss it pretty plainly. I think you and I will pray for our class during this hour." He dropped to his knees and so did I. He lifted everyone of the members of our class, whether they were there in another position or absent, by name out loud to the Lord. He prayed with a fervency and love that left no doubt in my mind that he loved and cared for the souls that were under his tutelage. Still today I like to think that maybe Bro. Shorty is praying for me and Ken. I love him dearly and I have tried to convey to him every time I've seen him how important he was in my journey. Some of the people we meet along the way act as shock absorbers and make the road feel less bumpy. Oh that I would be a "shock absorber" for someone along the road...let the journey begin...
At the beginning of each new school year, I remember Mama. ALWAYS! She was and is remarkable.
My mama sewed for all of us, six, children. She made everything we ever wore and she is a very talented seamstress. When us older three girls were in elementary grades, we had a new dress for every day for at least the first three weeks of school. When my little brother joined us older three, he had a shirt made out of the same material as our dresses if it wasn't too "girly". Mama took pride in her "brood" and she made sure we looked good. One of our school bus drivers complemented her by saying, "Watching your children get on the bus is like watching a fashion show every morning." Mama loved that and rightfully so, she worked hard for us. (Mama if I haven't said so a million times already, "Thanks.") Anyway, none of our dresses were "Plain Jane." They had the ruffles and the big bows, the collars and the buttons, the puffed sleeves and the frilly aprons. The big bows in the back of my dresses were my favorite. I've always had a body with a built in bustle, if you know what I mean, a bow on my rear set the whole outfit off! That big bow came in real handy one day for my third grade teacher, Mrs. "Edgear".
I had a REAL hard time staying in one place, still do, can't sit still for long. And one of my favorite things to do was and is to dance around a classroom and maybe help someone along the way. Mrs. Edgear had enjoyed all of the frivolity from me she could on this particular day. She told me, "If you don't get in your chair and stay there, I'm going to use your big beautiful bow to tie you to your chair." I guess I didn't think she would, you know it, I got up and sashayed around the room, I'm sure to help some unfortunate speller or something. Here she came, and you got it again, she tied me to my chair with my bow. And there I stayed for the rest of the day. Today that would probably mean a lawsuit...then it meant when I got home a scolding and probably a whipping. Which, by the way, explains my bustle today...permanent swelling...Either way I learned to stay in my seat and ENJOY THE RIDE...
In twenty years I really don't know how many students I have taught. There are so many memories and so many faces that come to mind. Some stand out for reasons I can't explain, and some just tug at my heart. I don't know about other teachers, but I really can't explain why I just absolutely LOVE some students. These are what some call the "brats". My mama said it's because I are one! Don't care. Every now and then I'll dream of one at night and wonder if they made it. Sometimes it's hard on those of us that like to walk on the edge with our tongues out singing, "Nana-nana-boo-boo". One came and visited with me last night as I was dreaming. His name, "Destin" (as in Florida) an African American male that I had the privilege to teach math to in fifth and sixth grade. He got thrown out of a lot of different classes by a lot of different teachers for a lot of different reasons. But for some reason, I loved him. I thought he brought a lot of life, spark and thought into class. I, though, like the other teachers, did HAVE to ask him to leave one day. He had not only stolen learning from the others that day but was disrespectful to me. As I recall he actually yelled at me that day. After I threw him out, Destin sat in the hall and wrote me a note. I kept it for years and it went something like this:
Mrs. Evans, I don't know what got in to me. That I would yell at a beautiful teacher like you. I must be the stupidest person alive. Next time that happens, you just call me up to the front and slap me as hard as you can and say, " 'Destin', come to your senses." Signed Your Grateful Student
It still makes me chuckle. I never did have to call him up front and slap him, I don't think I ever had to discipline him again. He felt safe in my world; I understood him.
As stated earlier I teach math. Before Promethean Boards and Doc Cameras, I used my overhead projector A LOT!!! I went through a whole bunch of transparencies. Every now and then a group of students would stay in during their breaks to clean them. What angels! One day Destin volunteered himself and a friend of his, "Marcette". Now Destin was not one you would leave alone in your room or that you really wanted to spend "extra" time with, but I'm glad I said yes that day. Destin and Marcette settled in at a table to clean my used transparencies, all of a sudden Marcette yells out at me, "Mrs. Evans, this one won't come clean and neither will this whole pile." I thought, "Oh no, I must have used permanent marker." I walked over to where the boys were working and then I saw all the writing was backwards so I said, "Marcette turn it over." He did and of course the writing came off; Destin frogged Marcette and yelled at him, "Boy, and it's you who wonders why we don't make honor roll." Well, Destin I don't know where you are now or how you're doing, but you are on my Honor Roll, 'cause that's how I roll! Thanks for the laughter along the journey.
Not only am I a school teacher, I'm a preacher's wife. A whole lot of my understanding has come from this portion of my life. My husband pastored a church in Natchitoches for 18 years. What a wonderful place to grow-up! (me, my husband, and our children) My husband has a very large contact base. He knows people he doesn't even know he knows. Everywhere we go he introduces me to someone, famous - lowly, it matters not to him their station in life. He is an exceptional person. As such, he takes pleasure in introducing others to people that can broaden their horizons and such. At that little church, oh the people he brought in. For one particular week he brought in a "team" of people from big cities in La. and Texas. These people were leading us in classes for the children, ladies, men and then as a large group. They were published authors, big time speakers..."important" people. One of the members of that church was a "90" (some say she was a lot older) year old American Indian, Ma Brown. One afternoon before the evening service, Ken asked me to take two of the visiting women around to some of our people to introduce them and invite our people to take part. One of the people he asked us to visit was Ma Brown. Ma Brown chose to live in a shack. I say she chose this because the church had bought a house for her to move into that would have been "more comfortable" but she chose her home. This home of Ma Brown's literally had cracks in the walls and floors that she covered with tar paper & newspaper. You could still feel the wind blow through. She dressed to match this, several layers of thick old clothes, that were very worn and dirty. She did not live with the modern conveniences. Ma Brown always had a dip of tobacco in her mouth; that evening she sat in her rocker and spit through the cracks in the floor as she visited with us in her one room shack. We did not sit down. There did not seem to be a "clean" place to sit and there we were dressed for church (hose & dresses) in all our glory. When it was time to go, I told Ma Brown it was nice to visit with her and we hoped to see her in church. She looked at me and said, "What you ain't gonna pray with me before you go?" We all replied, "Oh yes mam, we'll pray." Ma Brown scrambled out of her rocker to her knees as one of the pious three of us started to pray; she turned and almost shouted at us, "On your knees you sinners!" Of course all three of us dropped in our hose & dresses to a floor covered with grime but after Ma Brown prayed for us we got up a lot cleaner than we had been. Lord thank you for the lessons learned on our knees and the pilgrim's journey through this life with your dear children.
One of my good teacher friends, "Suzanna", told me a couple of days ago she and her son, "Travesty" were traveling from Natchitoches to home in separate vehicles. Suzanna warned Travesty about speeding through certain parishes where she was unfamiliar with the local law enforcement agency. Travesty was very careful in those parishes, but getting closer to familiar ground his foot got heavy. Almost to home parish ground, sure enough, Travesty got pulled over for speeding. First thing he did, called mama for backup!!! Mama pulls up, says (something like) "I'm his mama and we're trying to get home from Natchitoches." Trooper, "Ok, just pull up in front." Trooper speaks with Travesty: (something like) "I'm just going to give you a warning, you need to be careful and slow down. I'm not going to write you a ticket 'cause if I did, I'd have to write your mama one too." When Suzanna relayed this story I laughed and laughed at her!!! (and with her) Next morning I'm headed to Funroe. Sure enough, I get pulled over. Not for speeding, but for an out of date license tag!!!
Moral of the story: Don't laugh, you're next.
Question: WHERE WAS MY MAMA WHEN I NEEDED BACKUP!!!?
It's poetic that my first "commenter" ("Can't let you leave the station without me...") is one of my sisters! Charlotte was on the journey ahead of me and was my first introduction to this ride called education. She went to school on that big fine school bus, 14 A, and brought back with her wonderful things to share. I remember after her introduction to school, Lenora (one year my junior) and I sat for hours under her tutorage. She taught us many things and instilled in us a love for this trip even before we had come of age. I tried the same thing when I went to school; I taught Lenora vocabulary words I knew she'd need. But Lenora did something I had never done. When Charlotte taught me, I kept that knowledge and tried to show off at just the right time with just the right amount of decorum. Lenora, not so much...One day her first grade teacher, Mrs. "Rock", was introducing new vocabulary. Her teacher asked the class, "Does anyone know this word?", knowing of course none of her darlings would. Up went Lenora's hand. Lenora knew the answer; Mrs. "Rock" asked Lenora how she knew the word. This was her opportunity to shine (I sounded it out. Oh I've been reading for years, etc...) instead she threw me under the school bus with, "Debbie told me." I didn't know that the secrets of teaching words was really a secret, and neither did sweet Lenora, until Mrs. "Rock" called me out of my second grade classroom and told me to never tell Lenora anymore vocabulary words, that was HER job. She probably even had a paddle in her hand; I recieved so many paddlings I lost count of them. I was so upset (not because of the rebuke or paddling but because our real school was threatened), but Charlotte said we could continue "playing" school we just couldn't tell everything we knew. We're still practicing that and we NEVER tell everything we know. So even if you get thrown under the school bus a time or two and the road is a little bumpy, the journey is wonderful. Don't let the train leave without you, get on board! Let the journey begin...