Friday, August 19, 2016

Never Again

I read an article about some of the things school kids today will never experience. Stuff we “old folks” dealt with.

Encyclopedia sets
With the Internet, you can find anything. And while I find that fun, I can remember taking a volume from the set I grew up with and just looking through the entire book. Not looking for anything in particular, just browsing.

TV Carts/Projectors
There were no TVs for me in elementary school, but coming into the classroom and seeing that projector set up let me know that something fun was going to happen. I think I was the ONLY kid who really enjoyed those factory movies about how crayons are made, or how jam is put in the jars and sealed.

Walking to school alone
In second grade, we lived close enough for me to walk to school. On rainy days I took an umbrella. Both my kids walked to school in elementary and high school. For middle school, they rode a bus. If a child is seen walking alone now, CPS is called. And sadly, for good reason.

Pencils, “grinder” style sharpeners, troll toppers
I LOVED my pencil topper people!! I didn’t have trolls, but I did have fun toppers.

Cursive writing
Mrs. Berg in 5th grade was a real stickler for good cursive writing. My daughter-in-law has the most amazing cursive style. A letter from her is a work of art.

Ditto machine/stencil copies
Was there ever a better aroma than this??

One of the biggest things that I DO NOT miss is the dress code. On days when we did physical fitness in elementary school, girls were permitted to wear shorts under their dresses/skirts. Once I got into junior/senior high school, of course we had uniforms. But those winter days in the lower grades when girls were only allowed dresses or skirts were awful. Once the dress code changed when I was in high school, the only thing I wore from that point on was jeans and some kind of shirt.

Friday, August 12, 2016

End of (a very short) Summer

I am so tired right now, as I have been staying up late every night to watch the Olympics. I have been enjoying it all, even the kayaking. I just can’t imagine the tremendous physical effort that goes into these sports. I’ve always been very lazy laid-back and now that the kids are grown and gone I don’t even have the exercise of chasing them around.

Lia started school this past week. Insane. What happened to having almost 3 full months for summer vacation?? I think she ended school in mid-June and now she’s back at it. Of course, she also gets 3 weeks at Christmas winter break and 2 weeks at Easter spring break. I guess you gotta make it up somewhere. She’s in 3rd grade. My teacher then was Mrs. Pegendarm. Not sure about the spelling of her name. I don’t remember much about that year except making a faux leather skirt out of paper (girls) and doing a rain dance (boys).

I saw a couple of good movies this summer: “Ghostbusters” and “Nine Lives”. Excellent, both of them. Apparently Ghostbusters tanked financially and there will be no sequel. Don’t know why..I thought it was great. And even with just his voice in Nine Lives, Kevin Spacey is such a good actor! He was an excellent cat! And you can never go wrong with Christopher Walken.

We never did anything vacation-wise this year. Things just didn’t work out. Maybe Marv can get some extra days off for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’ve been steadily plowing through my books and being hard-nosed about what to keep and what to give away. And once again, I wish I could discuss some of the books that had belonged to my mom. I get a little pang each time I see her name written in a book.

And that’s about it. Back to school. The days will still be hot, the evenings long, but it’s a long slog until Thanksgiving…

Thursday, August 4, 2016

August 2016 Book Report


Caravan (1943) by Lady Eleanor Smith

Adventure writer James Darrell is at the end of his life and grants one more interview. Afterward, he reminisces about all the journeys he went on and wrote about. He was rejected by his true love because he didn’t have enough money. By the time he had achieved fame, she was unhappily married to someone else. This was a well written, interesting book, but the ending was a real bummer.
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Cluny Brown (1944) by Margery Sharp

A top-rate little charmer of a book! Orphan Cluny is living with her uncle, who is at his wits end. She doesn’t seem to “know her place” as a middle-class young woman and is finally sent off to go into service as a maid to a wealthy family in the country. She still insists on doing things her way, and causes a great deal of turmoil. Lovely little book.
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For the Birds (2015) by Emily Thomas

Bluehill Library series. Coraline is sure that a local bird sanctuary is going to be taken over by a big corporation and the land spoiled. She disappears suspiciously and librarian Anne and her children have to take care of Coralines pet parrot.
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O River, Remember! (1943) by Martha Ostenso

A sprawling story of 2 pioneer families, the Wings and the Shaleens in Minnesota. Fighting, feuding, loving, losing. Prairie fires, blizzards and a plague of grasshoppers. Starts in the 1870s and goes up to the beginning of WWII. Well written, but sure a lot of turmoil, angst and death along the way.
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A Fine and Private Place (1971) by Ellery Queen

The Importunato brothers have an enormous business empire, spread throughout the world. The oldest brother, Nino, is obsessed with the number 9 and allows his superstitions to rule. One by one, the brothers are murdered until the only ones left are Nino’s much younger, very beautiful wife and the handsome young private secretary. WHO DONE IT???