Monday, March 29, 2004

Birthday Weekend

Because Anne's old roommate Alicia was getting married in Memphis on Saturday, the Rucker family came to visit this weekend. Saturday was also the 6th birthday of George, Adam, and Emma.

Julia's granddaughter Adrienne, a student at Vanderbilt, also came with them. It was great to have her smiling face around. She is good with the kids because she has a little sister Calista the same age. Her parents live in California.

Both George and Adam have lost teeth but Emma hasn't. However she definitely has a loose tooth, so it will be coming out soon.

We went out to the nursing home Saturday afternoon to see Mother. Anne was suffering from spells of allergies and did not go. It is a bit heart-breaking to see the reaction to children visiting at the nursing home. The eyes of all the patients follow them as if they are starved for the sight of children.

Adrienne and I went to visit my brother James's stepdaughter Brittney who works there on weekends. She is in nursing school during the week. Adrienne was surprised to hear that Brittney is engaged.

Back at my house Anne and Ken got ready and left for Memphis. They enjoyed seeing Alicia and a lot of old friends from law school. Sadly, they found that Alicia's father had died a few days before. Sadder still, they were estranged and he had said he was not going to the wedding.

I had a little family party for the kids. It was small, just them, me, Julia, Adrienne, Denee(Janice's daughter), and my brother James and his wife Rene. I had particularly wanted John's grandchildren to come but it was a weekend they spend with their fathers. (But I was grateful for the ones that did come.)

Julia brought her usual tuna fish sandwiches and stuffed eggs. I fixed spaghetti, coleslaw, bread sticks, and, of course, three cakes.

I had asked for small presents and the kids enjoyed the gifts far beyond the value.

With all the was going on, I did not get the kids to bed until 9 o'clock. Then we could not find Adam's blankets, a major crisis. He was so tired it was not as bad as I would have guessed. The next day Anne told me it was in the sack with their pajamas. I had just sent them to bed in the clothes they were wearing. I was so tired myself, that I read them no books, something I love to do. I made up for it Sunday.

Poor Ken worked all Sunday morning. He picked up the branches and brush in my yard, tried to fix my garage door, aired up Julia's tire, and finally reinstalled the toilet paper holder after Adam accidentally pulled it off.

I gave the kids each a gallon of bubble liquid and a sack of Lincoln Logs. George especially loved the logs. He would build houses and them knock them down, saying a tornado came through. Adrienne helped them build a lot on Saturday night. They were so proud of them and excited to show their parents what they had done. With a little help.

Someone gave them those soft pool balls. They used them to wage war on me all weekend. They would throw them at me. And Adam throws hard! Then George would yell Retreat and they would go up the stairs and throw them down on me from the balcony.

Anne asked George what the word retreat means and he gave a pretty good definition of it.

I taught the triplets and Adrienne how to suck an orange. Then I helped the kids make lemonade by using a Juice King, identical to the one we had at my house growing up.

Adam drank the lemonade despite it having some pulp in it.

I proofread a paper Anne had written for school about mathematics education. I could not do a good job of that because I kept getting mad at the content. The paper was explaining a mathematical teaching philosophy where there is no correct or incorrect logic. What a disservice to children.

When they left, of course, I was exhausted. I did clean up the kitchen but otherwise I slept till this morning. It was a great weekend and I miss them today.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

A Strange Computer Occurrence

Last week I received two ominous emails. One from some network saying I had sent an email containing a virus to one of their customers. I have never heard of this address and certainly never sent them an email.

Then I received an email from Jay Parchman's employer saying that I had sent him an email containing a virus and that they were quarantining this email.

That was serious. I stopped emailing anyone and bought online an anti-virus program.

When I got the program on Tuesday, I was unable to install it. I am now waiting for someone more knowedgeable to visit me and give me some help.

However, I was able to run the pre-installation search for viruses already on my computer. It took almost three hours for it to search every memory, file, program, etc. My computer came up clean.

I sent an email to Jay and he got it. It wasn't quarantined.

I missed the opportunity to send emails to people and am very glad to have it back.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Gadgets and products I love.

Kerasal. Available at Wal-Mart and drugstores. This supplements my last favorite remedy for dry feet, Zim's Crack Creme. Kerasal is even better. It is just fabulous and takes care of those rough, dry spots with one application. The only problem is the cost. It is about $7 for a half ounce tube. So I use Kerasal about once a week and use the Crack Creme or Shea Butter on my feet other days.

Grabber. Available at Walgreen and Wal-Mart. This used to be on TV. You are supposed to use this if you are old and can't bend over or can't reach things in high cabinets. The device is composed of pincers at the end of about a 3 foot long shaft. I don't use it inside the house; I use it outside. I have two acres of trees and those tree gift me with approximately 6 million sticks on the ground a year. Before the Grabber, it was an agony of stooping to pick up any reasonable number of sticks. Now I use the Grabber and don't stoop over at all. Just wonderful.

Caulking. Don't stand still for long in my house or I will use caulk to close the unsightly crack between your shoe and the floor.

Don Aslett's Floor Restorer. QVC or cleanreport.com I cleaned my floors and put two coats on this on every surface that is not carpeted. My floors shine, shine, shine and look new. Julia was very impressed.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

I welcome comment on the story that will follow this paragraph. I am unsure if I went too far, not far enough, or just right.

I won't be sending any emails for several days because I have unknowingly been sending a virus, maybe. I need a few days to clear it up.

Now to the story.

The other night I went to Wal-Mart, the Jackson Supercenter. I was wandering around the craft department trying to find a certain kind of wire that I had bought there another time.

There were three black, male teenagers there, looking at the yarn. They were neat, well dressed, quiet, and respectful in letting people pass by them.

After a few minutes two left and one teenager was left there, holding some pink yarn, looking perplexed. Then an older white female Wal-Mart associate went up to them with a scowl on her face and demanded to know what they were doing and trying to shoo them away. I was too far away to hear exactly what she said or what the reply was but she was rude, disrespectful, and her manner and behavior was not appropriate.

Then the other two returned and I went up to the young man and asked is the clerk had harrassed him. He said yes, and that he didn't know what she wanted him to do. I apologized and told him it shouldn't have happened. He said Thank you, but it is okay. I said it wasn't okay and left.

I don't know why she did that, whether it was their youth or their color. I thought the appropriate response from her would have been an offer to help. It was obvious they didn't really know what they were doing. Maybe they were working on a school project. I know that they were not stealing pink yarn.

So how did I do. Should have stayed out of it, should have spoken to the clerk, did okay, or should report her to the manager?

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Oh, my goodness, at my age I certainly don't need to make myself older.

In the post below, I say that I was five in 1947. NOT TRUE. I was born in 1943, so it must have been 1949 when I started school. That is right because I graduated from high school in 1961.

At age five in 1947, I started school at New Friendship Grammar School. The school has three rooms, the Little Room, the Big Room, and the kitchen. There were also two cloak rooms where we hung our coats. These were very large rooms and now one has been converted to bathroom for the community center the building has become.

The Little Room held grades one through four and the teacher was Mrs. Edith Hooper. Of course, we called her Miss Edith, in the southern manner. The Big Room held grades five through eight and my Aunt Velma Sells was the teacher. The Big Room also had a large stage.

There were no restrooms in the school building. The toilets were 2-seaters located about 80 yards behind the school. The Boys’ Toilet (we always pronounced these phrases as if the words were capitalized) was to the left and the Girls’Toilet was to the right. The downhill path to the Girls was worn smooth by many running feet, and in wet weather it was slick, so we would have to walk to the side. It was on this path that Elaine Latham broke her leg.

In the Little Room, while class was in session, one boy and one girl could be gone to the toilets. On each side of the outside door hung large pieces of cardboard with a big red circle on one side and a big green circle on the back. The girls’ sign was on the left; the boys’ to the right. If I wanted to go to the toilet, I had to look at the sign for my sex. If it was green, I could go. If it was red, it meant that another girls was gone. I would have to wait until she got back before I could go. If I were really desperate I would go stand by the sign so there would be no opportunity for another girl to go before me.

When the sign was green, I would turn it over to red as I left and back to green when I returned.

In the Big Room, only one child at a time could be gone. The blackboard by the outside door was used to record the initials of who was gone. If someone was gone and I wanted to go, I would put my initials under theirs. Sometimes there would be a long column of initials. When a student came back in, he erased his initials from the top and the next person on the list was free to go. I remember everyone’s initials to this day-----MJW,DJC, RLS, EAL, HTS, JAL. --- and how they looked up on the board.

During recess, we would run to and from the toilet and the girls never went alone. It was a social occasion and we would invite someone to go with us. It was a time to talk.

My children have always been afraid of pit toilets like we had at school. When Anne was small, she called them “deep bathrooms.” On our trip to Alaska at each campground she would ask as we started to the toilet “Is it deep?” (It always was!)

Perhaps she, like us, was afraid of falling in. No one at Friendship ever fell into the toilet. No one knew personally of a child ever falling in, but we had all heard of it happening. It was a myth passed from year to year. Most said it happened to someone at the Glendale school.

1. What did we do when it rained and we had to go to the toilet? We went anyway and just ran faster. None of us had raincoats.

2. We called the class sessions “Books.” We said “Books In” and “Books Out” for the beginning and dismissing of classes.

3. We feuded with Patsy Hopper and her sister every time they enrolled, and to a lesser extent, with the West girls, Gloria and Sandra. I don’t know what these quarrels were about. We got spanked once for it, about the 3rd grade. I deeply regret this now. As poor as we were, the permanent students were immensely better off than the more itinerant families like the Hoppers and the Wests, who moved into and out of the rental shacks in the community.

4. I think we called home plate “home place.”

5. The best position was the best girl ballplayer in a grade, especially the best girl ballplayer in the 8th grade. She usually got to pitch. I always coveted that position, the first girl chosen when we chose up sides to play ball. Since I don’t remember that being me, I just not have been the best but I can’t remember anyone else being any better.

6. Sadly, I can’t remember much of anything about our schoolwork. How were classes conducted? All I remember is going up to the table at the front of the Little Room for reading lessons. We would all read in turn When Joyce Latham got to a word she didn’t know, she would lower her voice, mumble something and then go on. Her strategy seemed to work all the time. I think we spent all of the 4th grade studying the salmon fishing industry of Washington State.

7. As a part of some pest control or health program, we would have a period some years where we would collect things like rat tails and crows’ feet and take them to school. Mrs. Edith kept them in a gallon fruit jar in the metal cabinet at the back of the room.

Games we played

Go In and Out the Window. We hated this because we had to be paired off in couples, boy and girl, boy and girl.

Jacks. Jacks was an indoor game that we played in the wintertime or in rainy weather. We played a straight game of jacks, first ones, then twos, etc. If the game went on, we played chicken coop, in which the jacks were captured in a “coop” made by cupping the left hand on the floor. Jacks was not a very competitive game. There didn’t seem to be such a thing as winning this game. The point of the game seemed to be not to miss so one could keep on playing without having to pass the turn to another player.

Other games we played

London Bridge
Leap Frog
Drop the Handkerchief
Red Rover
Stealing Sticks
Crack the Whip
Slinging Statues
May I?
Here We Go Loop-de-Loo
Red Light

Jump Rope Rhymes

Down in the Meadow

Down in the meadow where the green grass grows
Stood a little girl as pretty as a rose
Along came a pretty boy and kissed her on the nose.
How many kisses did she get?
(Then jump and count until you miss.)


Cinderella, dressed in yellow.
Went downstairs to see her fellow.
How many kisses did she get?

(Were we obsessed with kisses?)

Counting Out Rhymes

Eeny, meeny, miny, mo
Catch a --------by his toe.
If he hollers make him pay
Fifteen dollars every day.
O-U-T spells out goes you
You old dirty dishrag you.

(I regret to say that we filled in the blank with the N word. My children learned this by saying Tiger, a much better thing to do.)


One potato, two potatoes,
Three potato, Four,
Five potato, six potato, Seven potato, more.

My MOther and your MOther

My mother and your mother were hanging out clothes
My mother hit your mother right in the nose.
What color was the blood?


Order in the court,
Judge’s got to spit.
All who can’t swim
Had better git.

Ha, ha, hee, hee
Can’t catch me.
Can’t catch a flea
On Grandpa’s knee.

UNcle Carmen drove our school bus. It was a blue van with wooden benches around three sides in the back. The best seats were on each side by the windows that opened.

There were three bus routes. I rode the first bus route that we called “First Bus.” It went to the store and left the high school students there and then went directly to school. I didn’t have to stand down at the road waiting for the bus in the cold and rain. I could look out our kitchen window and see the bus coming on Peddy Road in plenty of time to walk down to the main road.

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