Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Z Is For Zebra

Is For Zebra

This is the final posting in the A to Z Challenge, and not a moment too soon.  I'm fresh out of ideas.   I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else came up with for Z.  Luckily I had the following photos of my grandchildren, or I wouldn't have anything.

I could also have done G is for Giraffe

or E is for Elephant

or L is for Lion.

But, we're at the end of the alphabet so it has to be Z is for Zebra.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Y Is For Youth

 Is For Youth and Their Future

Today is April 29 or 4/29, so it seems an appropriate day to talk about college 429 savings plans.

These are my grandchildren.

They are five and seven years old.  Megan will head to college in 2124 and Hunter two years later.  It is scarey to think about what college will cost by then.

When Megan was born I promised her mother that I would not shower her with gifts of toys and useless trinkets.  Instead, I fund a 429 Oregon College Savings Plan  for each of the girls.  (Well, I do, now and then, spoil them with gifts also.)  I opened the accounts when Hunter was born and a deposit is automatically deducted from my savings account every month.  In Oregon deposits to a 429 account are tax deductible on our state return up to $4,345. a year for joint returns.  Interest that the money generates is tax free if used for qualified higher education expenses.  When I first opened the accounts only $1200 a year was deductible, so that's what I've been depositing every year.  I checked the Oregon Savings Plan site and saw that amount has been increased, so I'll  probably increase my deposits.

I don't make a lot of money...heck I'm retired on a fixed income, but we're frugal and have no debt.  We live within our means.  We can afford to put a little aside each month for the future of our grandchildren.  So that's what we do.

I don't kid myself that we are saving enough to pay fully for their college, but every little bit will help,  and we take advantage of the tax savings to help us fund this. Year after year the deposits and the interest add up. 

Take time today to explore the 429 plans that are available in your state and others for the future of someone you love.  They'll thank you for it.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

A to Z Challenge: If X Marks The Spot, You Are Here

 You Are Here
One of many benefits of being retired is the ability to live in the here and now.  For years when I was working and raising a family, I always had too many things to do.  Even when I was attending an event or sitting in a meeting, my mind had moved on to all the other things that I had to do.  The X on a map may have showed that I was there, but mentally I had moved on.
As a young mother I attended my son's little league games, but many times I brought along work related reading material.  I was there, but not fully engaged. I know that now, but at the time I thought I was doing the best that I could to balance the demands of my work with family life.  The reality is that I short-changed the people that I love the most, my family.
The technology has improved greatly over the years and now parents can carry their work with them everywhere they go.  At any event that I attend, I see people with their fingers working the keys of their cell phones.  Instead of enjoying a performance live, audience members are busy recording it on their cell phones to post to Facebook. 
The ability to multi-task is a valuable skill, but there is also worth in offering your undivided attention.  The way to show staff, family or friends that they are important to you is to pay attention.  Show those you care about that they are important by focusing on them and what they have to say.  I think this is especially true for the children in your life.
My grandchildren are still small, but they are growing up quickly.  I know how fortunate I am to be able to spend time with them.  I am building relationships with them now, while they still like hanging out with me.  I hope that will carry us through the teenage years when I expect they won't be quite so eager to spend time with Nana.  When I'm with the girls I still carry a cell phone, but they are my priority...really, what is more important than grandchildren?


Friday, April 26, 2013

A to Z Challenge: W Is For When We Were Very Young

W Is For When We Were Very Young

Earlier this week I wrote about a treasured childhood book of poems, When We Were Very Young, by AA Milne.  That title popped into my head when I was searching for an appropriate W topic.  I thought I might share a little about my childhood and if I find some embarrassing pictures of my brother it will be a bonus! I'm going to visit him in California next week.  This week he is in Italy riding bicycles and there's not much chance he is reading my blog. 

Both my brother Leigh and I were born in England.  Here's a picture of us with some of our playmates.  Leigh is the one with his tongue out.  I am in the center.  Aren't we so very English?

Here is a picture of my brother and I on the ship that brought us to America.  Note that he is wearing a sailor suit.  He couldn't say his S's and called it his "dailor duit."  When we were growing up, every time a picture of him in the "dailor duit"  was shown, he had to hear that story.  Awww, precious!

Here we are at Knott's Berry Farm in 1959.  It's surprising that my brother didn't grow up to be a member of the Village People.  When we were very young he must have liked dressing up in costume.  (Sing along, you know you want to... It's fun to stay at the  YMCA...
spelling it out with your arms is optional.)

Earlier this year I visited my family in California and we went to a swap meet.  Here's my brother pointing out the quality merchandise that was available. 

And here we are with my dad at the ocean.  I never would have stood with him on a cliff when we were young; he would have pushed me over...and then told our parents that I started it!

I'm looking forward to seeing my family next week, even my brother!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A to Z Challenge: V Is For Victory

V Is For Victory

Earlier this week I wrote a post about things that have no value without knowing their back story.  This is another post about one of those things. 

When my mother died, one of the things I saved was an assortment of rocks and shells my mother collected as mementos.  Each object has a story, but because today's theme is "V,"  I will tell the story of the V rock.

My mother was English and as a child she lived in Harrow with her family.  During World War II her parents sent her to boarding school at the Marist Convent in Hythe to get her away from the bombing in London.  She had an aunt who was a nun there (Auntie Euphemia.) 

One day my mother went to the village with a group of students.  A German plane buzzed the town and fired its guns.  The girls all safely avoided the hail of bullets.  Later that day my mother wrote a letter to her parents and shared her afternoon adventure.  That was the end of boarding school for my mother.  Her parents brought her back to London; even with the Blitz, they thought it would be safer for her at home.

Before she left Hythe my mother went for a walk on the beach and found the rock that now sits with the other mementos in my back bedroom.  She told me that when she found the rock she knew with a certainty that England would win the war.  It was a sign.

V is for Victory.  

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A to Z Challenge: U Is For Unchanged

U Is For Unchanged

I sometimes envy people who live in historic places.  There is something comforting about places that are untouched by time.  I don't live in one of those places.  Hermiston was incorporated in 1907.  There aren't historic buildings and I haven't seen any historic markers celebrating that anything notable ever happened here.  

The schools that my children attended have been torn down and replaced by modern buildings.  Even the Hermiston McDonald's has been modernized and looks nothing like the original fast food restaurant.  The old drive-in theater has been replaced by a multi-plex theater. The town has grown considerably since we moved here over thirty years ago, but, compared to metropolitan areas, it is still small. 

When my children were young, we had only one city park.  It is still there and the grandchildren and I went there last summer.  The play structures had been replaced with newer, safer equipment, but the trees that shaded us from the summer sun were the same trees that sheltered me when I was a young mother with two active children.  Thirty years later I sat on the same bench to watch my grandchildren play.  I told the granddaughters, "This is the park where Mommy used to play when she was a little girl."  They weren't impressed.  They wanted to go to the park with the castle play structure.

When the granddaughters come to stay with me this summer they will once again sleep in "Mommy's bed," their mother's childhood bed.  One thing that remains unchanged is that I always sleep well when the people I love are safely tucked in under my roof.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A to Z Challenge: T Is For Things

T Is For Things
When my mother died, my brothers and I cleaned out her house.  We each kept a few mementos, but the majority of her household goods were donated to a local charity.  The items I kept are not valuable; they are meaningful only to me, because I know the back story. 
Several years ago I belonged to a local writing group.  One of the participants was writing a series of pieces on the things that she owned and treasured.  These were ordinary items that took on significance because of their history.  In describing a toolbox that had belonged to her father, she wrote about her relationship with her father and his gift for using tools.  The piece was a glimpse into her childhood and her connection to her father.  She explained to our writing group that she was writing about her things because when she died her children would inherit her estate and she wanted them to know the significance of some of her favorite things.  She didn't want a piece of family history to become just an old toolbox in the estate sale.

Good idea, huh?  So today I write about one of my favorite things: my copy of A.A. Milne's, When We Were Very Young. 

My copy was published in 1925, so it was probably originally my mother's book.  My name is written on the inside cover in my mother's hand, probably because I used to take it to school with me.  I love the poetry and the word choices.  I love that the poems paint a picture of an English life that I had left behind when my family immigrated to America.  Now, I was almost 5 when we left England and what I picture of an English life probably has more to do with imagination than reality. 

When I read "They're changing the guard at Buckingham Palace- Christopher Robin went down with Alice,"  I hear my mother's voice.  When I read one of these poems to my grandchildren, I use the same tone and inflections that my mother used.  The book is one of my favorite things because it represents, to me, my childhood.

So when it comes time to clean out my possessions, I hope one of my granddaughters will choose to save this little red book from the Goodwill pile and will read it to my great-grandchildren and remember when Nana would read "They're changing the guard at Buckingham Palace..."

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A to Z Challenge: S Is For Spam

S Is For Spam

With all the marvelous things that technology now does for us, why is it that we still get spam?  For a long time I didn't understand when fellow bloggers complained about spam, then someone in Pakistan or India or Russia discovered my blog and put me on the spam mailing list.  Everyday I am bombarded by ridiculous comments with links to commercial sites.

Because of participating in the A to Z Challenge there have been quite a few new visitors to my blog, but the spammers seem to have found the listing also.  Has everyone else received their messages? 

Sometimes the spammer comments are funny.  For "H"  I wrote a little piece about a woman who killed her husband with a hammer "for all the little things."  The spammer wrote "Plenty of useful information here. I am passing it on to a friend. Please also see my website..." What, exactly, was "useful" about whacking a spouse over the head with a hammer? Perhaps his friend also had an annoying spouse?

The A to Z Challenge post for "O" was about my home state, Oregon, and focused on my backyard.  The spammer said "I'm not sure where you get your information, but very interesting.  Please see my webite..."  Ummm, it's my backyard idiot!  I look out the patio doors; that's where I get all my interesting information.  Do they really think that we will fall for these canned comments?

Fortunately the spamming seems to hit my old posts rather than the most recent postings and my old posts require comment moderation.  Some old posts are hit harder than others.  For some reason Five Reasons Why I Voted For Obama seems to be a target for links for premature ejaculation treatments and penis enhancements...what's up with that?  My post Nana Tells the Truth About Nose Hair gets a lot of links to beauty treatments...well, maybe that one is appropriate, but I still don't believe it when they say "Everyone should read this post."  Yeah, everyone needs to read about my unsightly nose hair?

I've resisted moving to comment moderation, but I'd sure like some hints on how to stop the spammers.  Does it really do any good to identify those comments as spam?

Update:  I accidently published this a day early.  It was up less than 10 minutes before I had my first comment...a !#$%^  spammer!!!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A to Z Challenge: R Is For Recycle, Reuse, Retread

R Is For Recycle

In the interest of conservation (that's conserving my energy for letters S to Z), I've recycled and reworked a post from my early days of blogging.  It was fun to go back and reread some of those early entries.

Originally published August 23, 2010 on http://plentifulsufficiency.blogspot.com

School Shoes
In the late 70's the spouse and I served two years in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua. In so many ways that experience has impacted how we live our lives today. We went to Nicaragua as a twenty something married couple, and we came home a family, forever changed by our experiences. Our daughter, Sarah, was born while we were there.

We lived in a dusty little town in the north, El Jicaro. The spouse worked for El Banco National de Nicaragua and I taught English at the local middle school. Our first week in our new home we met Pedro, a skinny, barefoot kid who lived across the road. He and his even smaller, skinnier little brother hung around our house hoping to do chores and earn some money. We usually had something for Pedro to do. He knew where to buy the best tortillas, or when a cow would be slaughtered, or who had fresh eggs for sale. Soon his mother was doing our laundry and Pedro was our regular errand boy. One day we asked him what he was going to do with his money.

"I'm saving up to buy Rolters" he told us.

We frantically searched through our Spanish-English dictionary for "rolter."

"What are rolters?" we asked him.

"They are the best," he said "the best shoes. I want shoes for school."

Several weeks later he showed up at our door with a big grin, wearing his usual short pants with the ragged hem and a thread-bare T-shirt, but this time his outfit was accessorized with new shiny black leather-like oxfords.

"Look," he said "look at my Rolters."

We complemented him excessively on his Rolters. We had never seen a finer pair of shoes, we told him. From then on we rarely saw Pedro without his Rolters. They were his first ever pair of shoes.

I was reminded of Pedro this week when I took my granddaughter to buy shoes. We went from store to store fighting the crowds of back-to-school shoppers until we found shoes that were the perfect fit. She wore them out of the store, a big grin on her face, dancing happily. They are her first ever pair of school shoes; she starts kindergarten tomorrow.

I remembered Pedro and his Rolters and am grateful that my granddaughter will be wearing new shoes to kindergarten. It's a big step for a little girl.

The pink Chuck Taylor's were too big!

But the black strappy ones were just right
Update:  Megan is in second grade now and buying back to school shoes with Nana has become a tradition. This year we bought shoes for both Megan and her little sister.  Hunter started kindergarten this year.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q Is For Quail

Q Is For Quail

I thought Q would be a challenging letter, but when I looked at a list of Q words, there were lots of options.    What first came to mind was quiet...yep, once again I'm writing about my backyard.  After being away from home, what I really appreciate is the quiet.  In the backyard I can hear the rumble of the river below and, this time of year,  I can usually hear the quail chattering.  

We have a family of quail who live in our yard.  Two years ago we found a nest in the bushes outside our bedroom window.  There were over a dozen eggs and we anxiously watched for them to hatch.

It is difficult to tell the size of the eggs.  To put it in perspective, the green plant material is blades of grass.
All but one egg hatched.  They quickly left the nest and we would watch the line of  fluffy marshmallow sized chicks march across the lawn following their mother. Over the course of the season we lost a few, probably to neighborhood cats, but by the end of the summer we had nine or ten juvenile quail.
A sure sign of spring is the quail reappearing in the yard.  We have a pair that are nesting under the pine tree.  I'm looking forward to seeing more fluffy marshmallows running around the yard.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

P Is For Procrastination

P Is For Procrastination

I considered letting the title tell the whole story and leaving the rest of this post blank.  All day I've been mulling over P words and putting off actually writing anything. 

I do a lot of writing in my head; it's getting it down in digital form that's the challenge.  At night I lull myself to sleep putting sentences together with just the right words.  These perfect sentences rarely get written anywhere but inside  my brain.  During the day I frequently find myself thinking "Oh, I should write about that," but, again, I don't write it down.

Writing is not the only thing I procrastinate.  Maybe I enjoy the rush of trying to meet a deadline at the last minute?  Maybe I miss the days when I never had enough time to get everything done?  Now I have the time, but little urgency.  I've done quite a bit of travel this past year, always packing at the last minute, at 2:00 AM when I need to leave for the airport at 5:00 AM.  I know I procrastinate with the tasks that I don't enjoy.  Although I considered myself early with my taxes this year as I dropped them at the post office at 4:00 PM, a full hour before the 5:00 closing.  Most of the things I put off are not difficult, I just don't want to do them.  On the rare day that I make a "to do" list, it's almost a given that there will be distasteful task left undone.  They make it back on the list for several days before I break down and get it done. 

I am currently procrastinating the following:
  • Drain and clean hot tub
  • Make dentist appointment
  • Clean out spare bedroom ( It's a hoarder paradise, storing everything that might come in handy or have a sentimental value, but it's the room where the granddaughters will sleep this summer.)
  • Write Q-Z posts for the A-Z Challenge
Procrastination: it's a character flaw...and I have it!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A To Z Challenge: O Is For Oregon

O Is For Oregon
Oregon is where I live, in the north eastern part of the state.  People think of Oregon as wet and green, but I live on the dry side of the state.  It gets cold in the winter, but the days are usually sunny.  When we get snow it usually only sticks around for a few days...by the time we're tired of dealing with snow, it's gone.  Spring is windy and summer is hot.  I am blessed to live in a beautiful state.  
This is where I live...
The view from my backyard looking across the river to Hermiston Butte.
Here's a view of the backyard looking down to the Umatilla River taken this winter when we had frost.

Just east of Hermiston (about 30 miles) are the Blue Mountains.  This is where we took our granddaughters camping and fishing last summer.
Oregon has a lot of public lands.  The picture below is Hat Rock State Park on the Columbia River just a few miles from our house.
Wide open spaces and beautiful sunsets.  I love that we have uninterrupted vistas.
I like to travel and enjoy visiting the big city, but I am always happy to come home. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A to Z Challenge: N Is For No Fear

N Is For No Fear

When I visit the granddaughters in Austin, we always go to the neighborhood park.  I'm not sure what they enjoy more, playing on the equipment, or eating the snack that they always insist on bringing.  Somehow food always tastes better when it is eaten outside.

The park has a climbing rock with those little multicolored handholds that allow kids to scramble to the top.  Hunter enjoys climbing to the top and then posing herself on the rock like Ariel, the mermaid.  She perches there and sings mermaid songs, and if I'm lucky I'm sitting far enough away that I don't have to hear them. 

On our last visit I had just settled onto the park bench when I hear Hunter say,

"Don't look, Nana.  It's dangerous!"

I turn just in time to see her leaping down to the ground.  She lands, unharmed, in a cloud of dust.

This child is daring.  She runs headfirst into the future and knows no fear.  Although I want her to be safe, I also hope that she can retain that confidence as she grows up.  I hope the world and her overprotective Nana don't drive the boldness from her.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A to Z Challenge: M Is For Marriage Equity

M Is For Marriage Equity

I'm a little late posting today.  I've spent the day finishing up our taxes.  The spouse and I file a joint return, one of the many benefits of being a married couple.  A few years ago when the spouse had a heart attack, I was the person the hospital notified.    We have great medical insurance because we're double covered by both his employer and mine.  Our retirement income is secure because if either of us dies, the remaining spouse will continue to collect the benefits.  For forty-two years I've taken the perks of marriage for granted. 

I have friends in committed long term relationships who can't count on these same benefits.  If their partner is ill, they have no right to be informed of their medical condition.  If their partner dies, they won't collect survivor benefits.  There are a lot of benefits that marriage bestows that I never think about.

I live in a small town in a conservative part of the state.  There are very few openly gay people.  Oh, there are plenty of people who identify as gay, but our area seems to have accepted don't ask, don't tell as a way of life.  When I think about it, I realize how terribly hard it must be to live a lie.  How heart breaking that a gay person doesn't feel safe holding their partner's hand while walking down the street. How unfair it is that a couple can't formalize their relationship legally.

Oregon has not yet legalized same sex marriage.  It's time.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A to Z Challenge: L Is For Learning

L Is For Learning

When I was working I was constantly learning new things. Whether I liked it or not, there was always something new. A new improved way of doing something that had always been done, or a new routine to incorporate into the myriad of routine routines that filled my day.  Training days were built into our calendar.  I regularly attended conferences and workshops.  I kept on top of the game and enjoyed sharing all the tricks of the trade that I had learned with my coworkers.  Then I retired…

I am no longer at the top of my game.  I was surprised at how quickly I fell behind in the use of technology.  The technology has just gotten so much better in the three years since I retired.  I was responsible for purchasing the first three smart boards in our school district, and now I need the assistance of an 8th grader to turn one on!  One of the things I enjoy about substituting on an irregular basis is the opportunity to learn.  The students freely share their knowledge with me.  I think they like being the experts.  I learned how to text from an expert high school student.

Living in a rural community I don't have access to a lot of organized learning opportunities.  As I read the blogs of my peer group I am envious of the workshops and classes available in metropolitan areas.  But the lack of organized instruction is not preventing me from exposure to new ideas.  The Internet has filled the void for me.  I am learning things from Pinterest that I never even knew I needed to know.  Want to know how to grow cucumbers, clean your floors, or use social media to promote your blog?  These are all topics that I read about last week on Pinterest.  (Okay, I wasn’t really all that interested in cleaning my floors, but the floor cleaner with all natural ingredients does a great job and it’s cheap.) 

I ran across a great quote from Henry Ford:

"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.” -Henry Ford

It doesn't matter how old we are, or how we learn, it's the joy of learning that keeps us relevant.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A to Z Challenge: J is For Jokes

J is For Jokes

I can tell stories, but I can't tell jokes.  I don't remember jokes.  You can tell me the same joke every day for a week, and I will laugh every time I hear it...and that's not just because I'm a senior citizen!

Telling jokes is a life skill that I don't have.  Everyone should have at least one good joke, and  I don't have one.  I need a short, easy to remember joke for social situations that require telling a joke. 

Tell me your best joke in the comments. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A to Z Challenge: I is for the Strangest Thing I Ever Ate

I is For The Strangest Thing I Ever Ate

Longtime readers of this blog probably recall that years ago when I was young, adventurous, and oblivious to danger the spouse and I served as Peace Corp Volunteers in Nicaragua. We lived in a small, remote mountain town in the north of the country, well off the Pan-American Highway. There were no grocery stores, but just about every house on the corners of the streets had turned their front room into a "pulparia" and sold something. Our house was on a corner and if we left the front door open inevitably someone would walk in and ask if we had tomatoes, or onions, or some other commodity for sale. It took me awhile to figure out that Nicaragua had a whole different system for grocery shopping.

There was a butcher who killed a beef on Wednesdays...in the road in front of his house. Buyers brought their tin pans and carried home fresh cuts. I discovered that the hardware store was a reseller and if I purchased my beef from them, it would come packaged in a plastic bag. There was no need to view the actual carcass. It was well worth the small markup.

When we purchased eggs, they were usually wrapped in banana leaves or corn husks like a tamale. I think this was because they were brought to town to sell by campesinos from the countryside and made the journey by burro.

I bought fresh tortillas from a neighbor, handmade and warm from a wood stoked fire.

It was rare to get chicken and the only fish was dried and salted.

My family says I'm a picky eater; I prefer to think that I am discerning. I am not an adventurous eater. Although I am not a big fan of McDonalds, I have to admit that I have eaten there in more countries than I care to name. Not because I love the food, but because it's familiar.  There was a McDonald's in Nicaragua, but it was an eight hour bus ride from our town.

So... one day Pablo, a neighborhood kid who had appointed himself as our personal guide and community liaison, brought us a bowl of soup from the lady who owned the hardware store.

"It's delicious," he tells us, "Dona wants you to try it."

 I am apprehensive, but the spouse jumps right in.
"It's pretty good," he says "Tastes like chicken."
I finally agree to try one spoonful...and it tasted like chicken.

We tell Pablo to thank Dona for us and tell her it was very good.

The next day I'm in the hardware store and the owner asks me, "How did you like the iguana?"

Yep, I is for Iguana!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A to Z Challenge: H is for Hammer

H is For Hammer

Years ago my friend Darla told us about reading in the paper of an elderly woman who had murdered her husband with a hammer. When the police arrived at the home she was sitting on the porch waiting for them. When asked why, she responded, "For all the little things."

That phrase has become a code for the spouse and me.  We've been known to mumble "For all the little things," to each other when faced with frustration.  It's a way of letting the other know that we've reached a limit.  Through the years we've developed variations like,   "Where's the hammer"  or signaling with a hammering motion.  This year we will celebrate our 42nd anniversary, but I tell you, there are still some days that I'm looking for the hammer! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

A-Z Challenge: G is For Gardening

G is For Gardening

Spring has finally arrived.  Our tulips are in bloom and the spouse mowed the lawn for the first time this year.  We've (and by we, I mean the spouse)  tilled the garden.  This morning I planted onion sets.  I've got seedlings of tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers in little pots in the dining room.  Every morning I set them outside to get some sun and bring them back inside in late afternoon.  I always worry when I plant the seeds that nothing will grow and it is still a miracle to me that I manage to actually germinate seeds and create little plants.

This year we are planning a large garden.  We learned from our experience last year and are planting wider rows and staggering our planting schedule so that we will have plants ready to harvest at different times.  We're planting more onions and less tomatoes.

In a few weeks we will begin to harvest lettuce for our salads and for the next five months I won't need to buy it at the grocery store.  I'm so happy that spring is here.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A-Z Challenge: F is For Four Freedoms

F is for the Four Freedoms

There aren't many specific lessons that I remember from school.  Sure I can read, write, and do basic math so I must have learned something, but there are very few learning experiences that made it into long-term memory.  I do, however, distinctly remember learning about FDR and the Four Freedoms.  I don't remember the teacher, but the class was in one of those portable classrooms that was set up and then never moved, at George K. Porter Junior High School.   

"We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom of speech and expression--everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way-- everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want . . . everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear . . . anywhere in the world."
--President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Message to Congress, January 6, 1941
I think this lesson was the first time the concept of universal human rights made an impact on me.  It was the early 60's and the civil rights rights movement was raging.  We had to make a poster that illustrated each of the freedoms.  I remember cutting out pictures from Life Magazine...an iconic photo of a drinking fountain with a sign that said "whites only."  Which freedom did that illustrate?  As I think about it now I'm not sure. Freedom from fear? I do know that this lesson stuck with me and reinforced a belief that there are basic human rights for everyone, male-female, black-white, gay-straight, American or not. 

What a wonderful world we would have if the four freedoms really were universal.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A-Z Challenge: E is For Encyclopedia

E is For Encyclopedia

Today anything that you need to learn can be found on the Internet, but when I was a child there was no Internet.  I had to rely on the encyclopedia.  All through elementary school (and probably middle school too) my favorite reference material was our set of Golden Books Encyclopedias.  Sixteen volumes of just about everything that a kid needed to know.  I'm pretty sure that my mother purchased them at the grocery store...a book a week for 16 weeks, and that we were missing a few weeks.  We had a full set of Encyclopedia Britannia, but the Golden Books were written for kids and had colorful illustrations.  I liked to read them just for fun, not only when I needed to do homework.  (Because I rarely did homework!)

Now I wish I had a set of Golden Book Encyclopedias for my granddaughters.  Would they love them like I did?  Or, are they already conditioned to get their information from technology?

As I typed the title to this post I had the voice of Jiminy Cricket in my head spelling it out


Did you grow up in the 50's?  If you did, I bet you can sign along with this video.  Enjoy:

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