November 9th, 2005


Veteran's Day Stars

Every year, our school hangs stars for past veterans of all wars, all services. I always put up one for Dad, who worked on payroll in Casa Blanca, Africa, during WW II. (Well, that's better than people lobbing live bullets your way, right?) As a civilian, he worked for IBM, and when they found that out, he was "requisitioned" by the guy in charge of payroll, who needed those skilled with IBM machines, especially ones who could REPAIR them. Mom writes, "It was Army Air Force first and somewhere along the line, the 'Army' was dropped from the Air Force. Dale (my dad) was Army AF."

This year, I was handed a sheet of four, and other relatives, even friends, were included. Anyone we KNEW in the service... Well, that could be reams of paper! With so many relatives living in Keesler's lap, I've even had blind dates with "doggies". (men wearing military "dog" tags.)

Well, it's a shame to waste a whole sheet... I thought. I "extended" my family and added my sister's husband, who was in Viet Nam in the Air Force. I added my Uncle Eddie, mom's brother, who spent three years in the Army during WW II, including walking up Italy, after spending three years in Panama. Mom said, "He marched, drove jeeps, and repaired or made temporary bridges. He was in the Engineer Company and went through Italy. He was wounded several times, but nothing life threatening. He would not talk much about the war. Mom also tells a hair-rising story of her friend Rutland, who was in the Navy and was wounded when an enemy bullet hit him in the bottom back of his head. He had a metal plate installed. Once when he was driving a car across the Biloxi drawbridge and heard a loud sound that reminded him of bombs being dropped, he dived for the floorboards. Scary!

I added dad's brother, my Uncle Russell, who was in the Navy in WW II, and later found out that his older brother Uncle Bob also was in the Navy. I thought mom's brother Uncle Don was in the Navy, but mom said it was the Merchant Marines, and another sister's husband, my Uncle Nick, was a Captain in the Air Force during WW II, and stayed in the reserves when he got out, at a higher rank mom can't remember.

Uncle Clyde, her youngest sister Carol's husband, was also Navy, on a tanker ship during the Korean Conflict. Only Uncle Byron (4F) from among the sisters' husbands did not serve, it seems, Mom's current husband My Friend George (4F), and mom's brother Frank (4F). The ones old enough and sound went.

One of Mom's oldest sister Jean's daughter's husband, Bill, was also in the Air Force. I know he was also stationed at Keesler, but not during what time period. Her son Stanley (who died a while back of a brain tumor) was in the Coast Guard, during the Korean Conflict, she thinks, not Viet Nam. One of Stan's children, his daughter Stephanie is a Master Sargeant who was moved into the Biloxi area while her father was bad, but is now stationed back in Texas.

My sister's husband Chuck's father LLoyd served in WW II, but I don't know the branch. His church would not let him be a member because of it... Chuck's number was not called during Nam, but he also got a college deferment, and had a conscientious objector's status, being 7th Day Adventist back then. That didn't help his brother Roy, who was used as a guinea pig. They shot germs into him, then gave him meds to cure him. Not a pleasant time.

Bob, one of my cousin's husbands, has been in the Air Force for 20 years, retired, but still flies organs for transplanting and is "on call" constantly. Another, Mark, just retired from the Air Force.

My brother's first wife was a mechanic in (Air Force? Navy?). I can't remember, but she did work on big engines and ships. (Or was she just on ships because she lived in Florida at the time and had access, and I've confused stories???)

The 4f's were asthma, double hernia, artificial leg... and were never called up (in fact, were turned down when some tried...)

I forgot NickB III--He was army--got just before the limit--30 years. He served in Germany--no was. Been out maybe 3years.-----

Teacher Promo from the Principal: What Do You Make?

For once, we're in agreement:

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.

One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education.  He argued, "What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?"

He reminded the other dinner guests of what they say about teachers: "Those who can, do.  Those who can't, teach."  To stress his point, he said to another guest; "You're a teacher.  Be honest.  What do you make?"

Having a reputation for honesty and frankness, the teacher replied, "You want to know what I make?

"I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could."

"I make a C+ student feel like the winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor."

"I make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall in absolute silence."

"You want to know what I make?

"I make kids wonder."

"I make them question."

"I make them criticize."

"I make them apologize and mean it."

"I make them write."

"I make them read, read, read."

"I make them show all their work in math and perfect their final drafts in English."

"I make them understand that if you have the brains, and follow your heart, and if someone ever tries to judge you by what you earn, you must pay no attention because they just didn't learn -- the big lesson of LIFE."

He paused and continued.

"You want to know what I make ?


"What do you make?"

"Great teachers make every other profession possible!"

What Should One Do With a Drab-colored Birthday Candle?

Like, a 4"x4"x2" with a little wick sticking up in the center...

Why, you write your aunt a THANK YOU NOTE:

I'm certainly not a very prompt THANK YOU writer... I can't believe it's been a month...

I've found the perfect place for your perfect gift -- in the teacher's workroom, on the table where the secretaries and a few of us female teachers take refuge from the noise of the cafeteria and dine in blessed quietude. I stuck it in there first thing in the morning...

Right on that table, right on top of TWO, count them, one, two, catalogs that feature fancy scented CHRISTMAS candles. (The first day, I said, "SURE GLAD my aunt's BIDTHDAY candle isn't one of those fancy scented ones. Oh, maybe if we lit it, it might be. I think it must be something extra special for turning 60!" and smiled benignly at everyone. DEAD SILENCE. Oh, would you have LOVED to be a little mouse in the corner that first day... Nobody, but NOBODY, took me up on my suggestion.)

One newcomer studied it for a bit. Her face looked perplexed. "What is THAT supposed to be?"

"It's a candle."


"Well, it is SUPPOSED to be some road apples, but my aunt couldn't find anything for horses, so she tried for some buffalo chips, then finally, in desperation, switched to a cow pie."

Hope you don't mind the ad lib... It sure got a tremendous WHOOSH of laughter.

Today, when I came down, it had been moved to a shelf, and replaced with a large pizza box. Handy excuse not to gaze at that as you commune with your lunch, no?

Thanks bunches and heaps. Wish I'd been able to be down there right at 12 to catch the first comer's reactions!