My creative and talented friend Nancy recently put this on her facebook post and I asked if I could re-publish it on my blog. She happily said yes. [THANK YOU, Nancy] I continue to be intrigued with what aspect of my personality would compel me to save so many random and seemingly useless items, but since my friend Nancy seems to have that same "quirk," I really enjoyed these insights from her last week. I think it has something to do with REFLECTING on days past and what lessons can be learned from those who lived before. Anyway... the following words are from Nancy Jesser-Halsey, fellow educator friend from our former hometown of Siloam Springs, Arkansas.
Lately I've been rummaging through a lot of "stuff" looking for teaching material that I had stored away for what I assumed was the last time.
During the digging process I've re-earthed several interesting items. Really not the things I was looking for, but items that can distract and delay the search. This might be one of the major reasons I have trouble throwing away all things ephemeral. Finding a simple piece of paper from the past can do mighty things. I've found scribbled quotes that inspire me all over again. I've found church membership cards from my dad's pastoring days that have spurred me to find a friend I had lost touch with.
I know my friend Janie is right. My world would be so much easier, tidier, and calmer if I followed the "touch it once" rule. But as much as I love Janie, I cannot be her.
I have to touch things over and over and over. I have to clutch them to my chest, wallow in them, kiss them, spill coffee on them and sometimes a couple of tears fall on them too. Then, maybe, just maybe, I can throw them away.
That's a big maybe.
We talk about our kids hating us if we leave a pile of crap for them to wade through when we die. Could it be that our children might need a little of that anger to help them let us go? Like a teen on the cusp of leaving home. The teen angst facilitates the break.
One of the things I found was a slender, red Russell Stover candy box filled with my father's report cards.
Since I can't ask for his permission, I'll just ask for forgiveness in heaven, where I'm sure forgiveness is standard practice.
I tried to find a picture of him that is pretty close to that particular year. I love the way his little tie is askew, and Aunt Mildred's clompers on those adorable little legs are just precious. Grandma looks pretty much the same always. She wasn't just doing the old-fashioned thing of looking serious in a photograph. She had a lot of sadness at that point in her life. She lost a baby in a horrible home accident and her heart never recovered.
My dad's grades that year weren't too shabby, mostly A's and B's. He was in the 5th grade in 34-35 in Montana. I remember him telling me about riding in the back of an old army-type truck used as a school bus and eating the first hot lunches at their school; buffalo burgers.
They lived in a one-room house and I think some grandparents lived there too at some point. Actually, school may have been an escape.
If you have time, take a gander at the inside and back of the report card. It made me laugh that the word "indolent" was on the behavior checklist; not for my dad, but just one of the possible descriptors.
Can you imagine if the word, "lazy" was on our report cards today?
It made me laugh that my dad got marked down in conduct for "Whispers Too Much". That was actually a category. I would've been ecstatic if my students just whispered.
I think we need to add the category "Inclined to Mischief" back to our report cards. Let's call it as we see it. Your.child.is.a.pill.
And I supposed my favorite part of the card was on the backside. The parents graded their children.
In case you didn't grasp it initially, I will repeat. The parents graded their children.
Parents only graded on appropriate categories, but my dad was graded in milking and gardening and care of livestock.
Some of the other categories were: ironing, instrumental music, care of room, and habits of economy.
Parents, if you still have kids in school, I think this would be great dinner conversation tonight. I'm constantly looking for conversation starters to use at supper when we are all captivated by food.
If you've made it this far in the post, thanks for joining and sticking with me. I hope you enjoy dad's report card as much as I did. If you have any interesting comments from your kids at supper, please share.
I'm glad I don't have to answer to the standards on this card today because I'm feeling pretty dang indolent.