January 2018

6 articles in January 2018

Education is once again changing. I am a retired teacher and have suffered through many education systems that were all said to save our public education system.

Some of these include the open classroom (at which time I taught the entire school chemistry), differentiated learning (as if we weren’t doing that before), no child left behind (when would any teacher leave any student behind), and now the beginning and end of common core.

Yes, you guessed it; I am old. When I began teaching the Carnegie System had subject over process. This had been in place since the beginning of public education. I clearly understand this is no longer viable in our technological global society.

I taught for close to 40 years and retired a few years ago. I still keep my mind in this important profession by substituting at the local schools. I still see teachers who are compassionate and dedicated to what they do. In fact, I’ve never met a teacher whose primary task was not the success of their kids. Yes, I did say “their kids” because that is exactly what they are. Continue Reading →

As I lean on my shovel that has not been used a few too many times I look over the winter wasteland that no longer looks like a winter wonderland. As a view the non-existence of anything white I reminisce about other times I found myself involved with winter survival.

One year was 1962. Everyone around me was proud and happy to be living in a nation of prosperity and hope. We had just elected Camelot and my mother was proud to wear what looked like an upside down box on her head in order to align herself with the wife of Jack Kennedy.

My father was watching the small black and white television that had become the center of our universe. Sunday afternoon was his time because the New York Giants were finally going to defeat their archrivals The San Francisco 49ers.

This made total sense because everyone knew that New York was the Empire State and all this talk about the west coast taking over the popularity of the country was hogwash. At least that is what my father used to say.

I used to like watching football with my father. He used to tell me that I was destined to play the sport. This was probably true because I was an over-sized 12-year old kid. Continue Reading →

We are working our way through another one. In fact, it is the first real one we have had for many years. The winter of 2018, brought back the snows and cold that all of us who live in Northern New England have come to both love and hate. Along with the weather of winter comes another famous tradition, cabin fever anxieties.

Cabin fever comes in many forms. The name comes from the necessity of all that live here to stay in their house to stay warm and dry. The days are shorter and the nights seem endless with the below zero wind chills and perpetual humming of our heating systems. Strange things happen to us during this time of year. We become aggravated by the most trivial of things.

For example, I enjoy those little pudding in cup snacks they sell at most grocery stores. I guess this is because I was fed the little jars of custard pudding baby foods when I was little until I was a senior in high school. The only problem is you can never tear off the plastic top on each portion. I understand there are arrows showing where one is supposed to pull but the easy open tabs never open. The company must use the same glue they use to keep the space lab together.

The other day I got so frustrated trying to open my Swiss Miss tapioca pudding cup that I resorted to using my teeth. Needless to say it took a bunch of paper towels and ice to stop the bleeding. I still didn’t get the thing opened. Continue Reading →

There I stood looking up at a white mountain of snow that seemed to reach the sky. The snow was packed tight with pale blue facets in the crevices and the wind whipped a fine spray from the summit like Everest.

I was absolutely awestruck by its size and beauty and I wished like hell it wasn’t in the middle of my driveway. The day after our first major snowstorm began with me trying to open my garage door. It took about half an hour, in sub zero temperatures, of me chipping away at the ice between the bottom of the door and the pavement that had sealed it shut like cement.

When the door finally opened to reveal the spectacular winter vista before me my first thought was how beautiful it all was. It was like that scene in The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy’s world turns from black and white to color – except in reverse. The world had been transformed into a glittering white wonderland.

After a few minutes standing there admiring the view of nature in all its splendor I decided I better start my snow blower. Like my garage doors it wouldn’t budge. It was frozen solid to the garage floor. It took me a good 10 minutes heaving it this way and that, like a team of sled dogs trying to break the runners loose, before I was able to budge it and drag it over to the open doorway. Continue Reading →

Iin hindsight, it was a day like no other. It started off innocent enough: I was late for work. Waking up has always been a problem for me. Falling asleep was always a breeze. I once fell asleep standing up and at attention in an Army formation.

I was out all night drinking… errr taking orphaned children to the rescue mission in Germany. After performing my Super Hero duties all night long, I returned to my Army base just in time to catch the morning inspection.

“Watson!! What are you doing? You don’t fall asleep in my formation! ” The Sergeant screamed!

“Yes! Sarg. I can explain that.” I offered.

“I don’t want your pathetic excuses. You sleep on your time, not Army Time!” He replied.  I knew from that point on, this day would not be an easy one to get through.

“Take these papers downtown and drop them off at our offices there. Report back to me when you return.” He spouted. Continue Reading →

Oh countryside! So changed are thee,
where once we walked forever free.
Long motorways stretch out their greedy hands
to gather more of our fair lands.
From noisy airports thunder planes at pace
to choke the air from human race.

Give back to me the trickling brook and bank,
where many a carefree foot we sank.
A picnic tea, such utter bliss!,
with sun and peacefulness exist.

Take back no more of our fair land!
Please keep a place apart,
for some to find the peace of mind
that comes just from the heart.

England by Wendy R. Chapman.

Contact her at: thetalewagger@hotmail.com

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