True Stories

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279 articles in category True Stories / Subscribe

Iit was the first part of December and the frozen ground was covered with snow. My little girl said to me, ‘Daddy can we have that tree we saw on our hike through the woods last summer, for our Christmas tree?

My little girl had a bad accident in the autumn and the doctors had said that she would be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Wanting to do all I could to please my precious child, I began getting things ready to do my chores, in order to get an early start next morning. I forked some hay into a pile to feed the cows and horses, I also set a bucket aside with some grain in it, to feed it to my saddle-horse. I then filled a pan with slop, to feed the pigs. This was all so that I could go and look for the tree that my daughter wanted.

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Fifteen years just isn’t enough. Today we live in a nation that has the possibility of having a President Trump or Clinton. Working through my first six decades our political and social atmosphere is now undermined by partisan policies.

I believe this is all in response to when our nation was changed fifteen years ago on what was a normal September in a normal time of our nation’s history. I still remember that day in my class with my students; that day when all of our histories changed, that day I spend most of my life trying to not only understand, but to also believe. This is article did appear fifteen years ago. I believe it has more relevance today.

I just couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t express what I was feeling in words. I knew everyone of those people who were condemned to die. I didn’t know their faces or their names but I knew them all. They were husbands and wives of families working to make the people they were responsible for safe and comfortable.

They were the children of families whose hard work and perseverance made their families proud. They were the grandparents who were almost ready to live out their lives doing something they had dreamed they could do. Continue Reading →

The past few weeks have been difficult to watch or understand. My wife and I watch a lot of news and with the election finally closing in we especially attempt to understand what our nation will look like in the immediate future. The murders of innocent men and police officers have been especially hard to observe. It is obvious we live in a kind of Utopia called York, Maine but still feel sadness for the families of those that have been so affected.

I am now retired, so what do I do? I have to admit it’s a strange feeling. I’ve worked full time since I was 15. It wasn’t legal to hold a job at 15 but back then one had to. I am now 67, which means I’ve been working for 52 years.

I think this is the reason why I am upset with Governor LePage of Maine when he described the large percentage of people on government support in the State of Maine. He included those of us on social security. I am not on government support. I am getting some of the money I paid out for 52 years.

Advice, opinions, and suggestions came days before I retired from people who have already retired and from people who have not retired yet but knew of people who had retired. To put it in a nutshell everyone advised me to stay active and basically not retire.

This made little sense to me because I was under the concept that one wanted to retire and thus have some time to do things they didn’t have time to do before. I was also warned retirement meant the beginning of poor health because I wouldn’t be moving as much as I did when I worked. I was also cautioned to keep my mind active and multi-task as much as possible to keep my mind vigorous. This particular warning unnerved me the most. Continue Reading →

They say that all things are relative but the time-span and areas they are related to can cause problems. In my case too many of the ‘old days’ could not be described as ‘Good’.

World War 2 against Germany was declared a few months before my fifth birthday and the area of the south coast of England, where I lived, soon became affected. I can remember my infants/primary school lessons being interupted by air-raid sirens and having to go outside to the former playground which had been filled with a number of corrugated-steel shelters.

Once inside them, we settled on the hard wooden benches, lit a candle and tried to read our lesson books until the all-clear alarm sounded. Too often this process happened more than once a day and became unsettling to some. Looking back, I realise that, even with the covering of turf on the shelter, a falling bomb would still have blown us to pieces.

In fact, this was soon realised by my father who had served in the Royal Horse Artillery in WW1. After being woken one night by the Air-raid alarm, we slept the rest of the night in the shelter installed in our back garden. Next morning he decided that, if we were bombed, it would be better to die in our warm home than spend too many of our nights in the freezing cold, useless ‘shelter’. It wasn’t wasted though, as it soon became a place to grow mushrooms and keep our home-grown vegetables and fruit. Continue Reading →

Now that I am retired, memories of when I had a definite purpose started to amuse me. One included being part of the many thousands of meetings I attended during my last 30 years of teaching.

There I sat with about twelve colleagues around an oval table discussing specific strategies concerning educational issues. The meeting was moving along at a crisp rate but it was also getting a bit late. Because the time allotted for the meeting had run out my principal asked when we could meet again to continue our discussions.

At this point everyone around me pulled out their cell phones whose job it was to inject times and dates into its tiny but powerful hard drive. All of a sudden everyone looked toward me. I think it was because I was the only one of the group who didn’t have a cell phone in front of me.

At first I was surprised but that surprise evolved into shock the second I clearly understood everyone was waiting for me to put something on the table. Since I had nothing to show all I could do was pull out my wallet, open it up, and take out an old receipt that somehow found it way into my wallet. Continue Reading →

Aall I remember was seeing white. In a panic I jumped out of bed wondering if I had just been attacked by the largest piece of lint known to mankind. It turned out to be my cat who decided to see if I was still alive by sitting on my face.

When one’s day starts out like this it usually means there are a few planets lined up in a way that makes the day go a bit odd. I am now a fervent believer in this hypothesis. The day was supposed to be a happy and busy one. We were going to a wedding in Massachusetts and had to be ready to leave by midday. Since it was only 7am my wife and I knew we had plenty of time. She basically planned everything.

All I had to do was survive waking up. Earlier that month she bought me a brand new summer suit. The old one I had was from my first communion. She also bought me a new shirt and tie. At the time she asked me to try it on but since I was a bit too comfortable in my combination pajamas, bathing suit, and shorts I told her I would do it another day. I had a pair of shoes dating back to the disco era but since what comes around goes around these were once again in style.

My wife also bought a beautiful outfit for herself. I think she had hopes we would be the best looking there. I knew she had a chance but as for me, well, reality does what reality is. Around 10:00 we decided to get ready for the wedding. After my wife laid my new suit and shirt on the bed she asked me to be careful. I asked her what I could possibly do to destroy a suit by putting it on. She just gave me a look and I quickly admitted precedence had been set.

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A publisher from Great Britain answered my complaints, via e-mail, about how I couldn’t believe the present elections in the US, by welcoming me to the wonderful world of the, “AOP”. When I questioned his response he told me that an “AOP” was an angry old pensioner. Since I am retiring this year all I could do was agree. An “AOP” in the States is simply considered a curmudgeon. A curmudgeon?

In the heat of many political discussions concerning how our society has become obsessed with today’s political environment, my brother-in-law stopped my argument with that single word. A curmudgeon is a simple phrase that made all the onlookers of our squabble stare and agree that my newest of titles was the one that fit me best.

Sensing success he didn’t stop there. He added the adjectives pessimistic and simplistic to the noun curmudgeon. I then wondered if I was destined to be known forever-after as a pessimistic and simplistic curmudgeon.

On the way home, I kept asking my wife how a man, whose earliest memory of politics had to do with donning a white shirt and thin black tie so I could emulate my belief in Jack Kennedy’s New Frontier, be called a curmudgeon?

How could I be called such a name? How could a man, whose history evolved with the concept of the Great Society, be reduced to such a, well, simplistic description?

The End.
It took all my life to reach the status of AOP by Jim Fabiano.
Jim Fabiano is a teacher and writer living in York, Maine.
Email Jim: james.fabiano60@gmail.com

 

Ii just got back from seeing a wonder of my Maker. It is the beautiful Forest Park in my neighborhood. I ride along on my electric cart, gazing at the wonders that surround me. The trees reach so high they seem to be reaching for the Hand of God.

All about me, as I ride down a planned path, are wonderful shrubs, hiding the cottontails from view.
Look! There is a red squirrel, he must be gathering his nuts and food for winter. There is a rose garden in the park. Oh! What a fragrance it produces.

People are playing their games on the well-kept grass and lovers are on the benches, kissing. What a joy it is to go for a summer’s evening ride in my park. The winters are cold here in the northwest. It rains a lot but I can wait for spring and summer to arrive.

I look out my window, and, when it looks all right, I will ride in my park once more. It may be my last ride. You never know what God has in store for you!

I would like to say goodbye to the trees and shrubbery, and the green grass. Also the birds on the wing, the cottontails, and the squirrels that cross my path before I leave this beautiful park. Thank you, the men and women that made it possible.

But mostly, thank you God!

The End.
My Park by Don Fraser

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Not long ago everyone was excited about Disney’s new movie “Tomorrowland”. The movie concerned bright, optimistic teens bursting with scientific curiosity.

It also centered on other children jaded by disillusionment about what they thought the world should be. This basically defines what my classroom has been like for the past three decades. I am retiring this year with the knowledge I did the best I could do to astonish my students about the wonders of science. I tell them science is not magic but magic is definitely science.

For my entire career I’ve taught young adults. These were usually juniors or seniors getting ready for their futures. I sometimes wish I had my shot at younger students who were just discovering how much fun learning can and should be.

Working at a school that contains students from 6th grade to their senior year, I’ve had the opportunity to visit many classrooms demonstrating my passion for science and how they could easily enter into its world. I am especially proud of the times I invite 6th grade students into my chemistry class. I tell them that if they work hard they would one day join the ranks of these motivated and talented young men and women they are working with now. It is interesting that every one of them remember this time when they reach the age they can join my class. Continue Reading →