"The Wondering Jew"
2000-04-09 - 00:07:20
April 9, 2000THE WONDERING JEW
Spent the day trying to do some more or less spring house cleaning, but for a good cause. Today our kids are coming over to visit and see me and give me a few things in spite of the fact that every year I tell them, "Just come see me, that will be present enough." Heather has been preparing a few treats for the inner person, even the women enjoy the things she comes up with. Now days it hard to get our children all together at one time. Too many stumbling blocks, work, in-law-celebrations, travel, illness make it hard to get every one gathered round. But oh , what a joy it is to be able to do the adult to adult bit with our grown offspring. We all have more to talk about than we do time. And the kids have never stopped teasing one another, a childish thing that I enjoy watching because it is so good natured and fun for them. The 3rd will get invitations to volley ball games, skiing, and other violent sports, he is sporting new knees. Others will try to match up his younger brother with a woman, his girls are raised, married and living in their own homes. His attitude is that he has served his time and doesn't want to risk another one. One married daughter won't be here because she lives way out of state, but the other one will be here and will be teased for being a grandmother ahead of the rest of the kids. And there is plenty of baby talk for the women to swap back and forth. The 3rd's daughter's month old son is in Bahrain with his folks, his daddy is finishing up his medical training there. Pictures flutter to the floor like a paper blizzard. And I get to hug and pat each of our kids, at least once - - -yunno, the ones who used to drip on my lap or regurg on my shoulder and sometimes both ? It is gravy time now and I plan to enjoy it. A few more years and they can hold me on their laps.
I sat down to the keyboard tonight remembering some of my teachers and trying to make them alive again, just for the moment at least. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Gay was such a sweet lady to all of us kids. To our young eyes she appeared to be a thousand years old, but she started us on our way to desiring to learn and practise to perfection. I don't remember the name of the cursive writing training I went through in the lower grades, but the long series of vertical strokes would puncture the tires of an army of vehicles if they had been steel. The ovaly "O's" would have made roller bearings for all the cars in the world, that was just my output alone. I have never been able to write a regular hand, I can read my own, if it is not too old.
My second grade teacher Miss McKittrick was a lively lady who taught us the required subjects and put a lot of lively fun and games in practise on the playground. Our third grade teacher Mrs. Hollander, looking back on her I see what a classy lady she really was. Not a beauty, but impeccably made up and always dressed in sedate but beautiful clothing with the faint sweet aroma of perfume. Her manner matched her looks and her soul covered us with care. She was not sickeningly sweet but her goodness nurtured us. I spent most of the fourth grade absent from school with Chorea, "St. Vitus Dance," it was called. Our old family doctor, Dr. Weiss put me on a strict diet to build up the nerve sheathing I think it was called, oh lordy, how I grew to hate it. In addition to my regular meal, I had to consume 1/4 cube of butter and 1/2 pint of cream, no wheat and no sugar for a whole darn year. Of course I craved what I couldn't have and detested the cream and butter after awhile. At the end of the year's regimen I was pretty fat, but over the Chorea, and in a year or two was back at my normal weight.
Unfortunately on my return to school I was skipped over the fourth grade and put a grade ahead. The nice part was I rejoined my classmates. The unholy part was the fog of confusion I fought most of the rest of my school career. All went well with most of the subjects for me except English and Math, I had missed out entirely on many of the basics of both which was my personal millstone. In Junior high I had two outstanding teachers, C.E. Armstrong who could answer my "why" questions in a clear, logical, understandable language. He was the one who started me into vaguely understanding math. Mrs. Wilson my eighth grade English teacher, who had the patience and tender heart to spend more time after school with me than she probably could spare trying to help me through the intricacies of Grammar. She was an accomplished artist and her charcoal drawings were on display around the classroom. I still have the little book we made and bound in art class and used for autograph books. Mrs. Wilson made a graceful ink drawing of peacock on the upper half of her page and some nice words of encouragement for me on the lower half. At the end of her time with me came our final examination and I failed trapped in the morass of the inexplicable rules of grammar. Grading time arrived, she passed out the report cards at the end of the period, calling someone's name and giving them their card as they left the class room. I didn't quite notice really, but I was the last kid in the room with her and as she said my name I could tell something was wrong, and looked up and saw tears falling with one hand she gave me my card with a "D" and with the other gripped my shoulder and said, "No matter what, we tried." Junior High was about the peak of my good experiences and good teachers. In high school there was one or two whose integrity was noteworthy, my assistant principal was one I could talk honestly to, I would accept his meted out punishment without complaint unless he had been given faulty input and I rebelled at the attempt to discipline me. Due to the many instances I was before his desk, he became acquainted with the me who lived inside of my body to the extent that things would go this way, "Doug, I have word that you did xxxxxxxx the other day, you are guilty, no ?" And I could look him in the eye and tell him yes I was guilty, if so, and no I didn't do it if not and my word was accepted by him. We existed in an atmosphere of mutual trust.
There weren't too many bright spots in high school the Army sergeant who taught ROTC was one, but a good many of the teachers in our high school didn't seem to like young people. I struggled along until I finally dropped out and went to work.
But the good teachers were out there yet, and during my life at work I was taught many lessons by decent, peaceful people. Supervisors and people who worked along side of me. I had, somewhere along the line gained the nack of learning what I could from whoever could teach me.
During my last years of work, I continued to learn many things from people much younger than I, and those final years are in my secret memories as some of the best I ever spent.
School is in session, always. I am now learning from the people on the internet, the infinite variety of outlooks and ways of dealing with things are teaching me.
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