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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Who's the Adult here?

Today during some down time (roughly translated that means I'm not standing in front of my class as the authority figure), one of my boys had taken scotch tape and taped one of his eyes from his eye brow down. That looked like an open invitation to Kid #2 to rip it off. How do I describe this? Think waxing. Think removing old bandages when you were a kid. Fortunately one of the merciful components of being a seventh grade boy who would think to tape his eyes is an apparent lack of pain receptors. But I'm so embarrassed to admit that what should have been me leaping across my desk to grab Kid #2 by the freaking scruff of his neck was me breaking out into uncontrollable guffaws with the rest of the class. It was hysterical! Do you ever look around waiting for the REAL adult to show up and make things all better only to realize that sadly you are now that adult...?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Beatles Italiano

When I look in the mirror I often gasp. Who is that and where did she come from? Graying temples, little crease lines around my lips. And then if we head south...let's not. In my mind I feel young. I have never been more comfortable with who I am or what I'm doing. But recently I was brought up short by a triple dose of generation gap-itis. One of my seventh graders asked me if the Beatles had come from Italy. I stopped dead in my tracks. Then I just turned slowly, walked to the window, and looked out over the street below. Is it possible that an entire generation (and I hold his parents responsible) will enter adulthood (however loosely we define that) not knowing the Beatles???? No Hey Jude, Revolution, Martha My Love, Here Comes the Sun?? NO HERE COMES THE SUN??? Can anything possibly fill that gap? It was a grim moment. I realized that not only am I waxing old and cracking as I do it, but the world I'm entering is peopled by short humans who will never know the 60's or Reagan or black and white TV or nickel ice cream cones or wearing dresses to school every day. And even though I can plaster my classroom walls with Beatles posters and teach poetry from a superb book called Beatles to Beowulf, it will just never be the same as turning on Ed Sullivan and watching America ape out as four mop tops direct from ENGLAND bounce around on a stage and change society as we knew it. And that is truly a sadness.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Remembering Wayne Johnson

My brother-in-law died in Minneapolis today. Exactly two weeks ago we received news that he had a massive brain tumor; then he had surgery; then he developed a fever and now he is gone. He stopped speaking a few days ago, but he did reach for a piece of fudge offered to him. I smiled when I heard that. In honor of his passing I'd like to record my best memories of our ten year friendship as the spouses of a brother and sister.
--canoeing the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota (and talking forever afterwards about the size of the insects!)
--camping on Lake Superior
--hiking all day near Lutsen Ski Resort, Minnesota
--biking 40 miles along an old railway track to Red Wing, Minnesota
--chomping on huge grilled turkey legs at a Renaissance Fair near Minneapolis
--Thanksgiving feasts
--eating decadent caramel cashew sundaes at ButterBurgers MULTIPLE days in a row!!
--shopping doorbuster sales at Kohl's!
--receiving Wayne's homemade caramels without fail at Christmas
--big friendly bear hugs and a kiss on the cheek every time we met
--feeding the missionaries during the Christmas holidays
--meatballs at IKEA
--watching the slide show of Diane and Wayne's marvelous adventure in Alaska
--teaching me how to rollerblade around Lake Harriet in Minneapolis
--strolling through Boys' Town in Omaha on a beautiful autumn day
--taking a day to explore the Bridges of Madison County in Iowa (Mugsy insisted on sitting on Wayne's lap the whole time!)
--taking pictures of each other in front of John Wayne's birthhome also in Iowa
--bar-b-ques at Carefree (summer home of our parents-in-law)
--meeting for the first time and cutting up vegetables for Don and Mitzi's 50th wedding anniversary together at the sink as we got acquainted
--eating those gigantic hamburgers and taking a boat trip around Duluth, Minnesota
--exchanging gifts
--giving Wayne and Diane the two bit tour of Bear Lake and Montpelier a year ago
--a taco party when I came for Charlie's birth in February--the last visit with Wayne
--lively conversations about Mormonism and Lutheranism
I have only good good memories which I shall recall always with fondness. Good bye dear friend.

Favorite books

  • Me 'n Steve
  • Thundering Sneakers
  • James Herriott's vet books
  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • Travels with Charley
  • A Walk in the Woods
  • Peace Like a River
  • The Egg and I
  • Mary Poppins
  • Extremly Loud Incredibly Close
  • How Green Was my Valley