Wednesday, March 30, 2005
ONLY IN SEATTLE
1. Only in Seattle does lightening strike the Space Needle and it makes the news. Yes, yesterday, lightening hit the Space Needle and there were some fantastic images of the event on King5.
2. Speaking of weather, only in Seattle has winter returned. Finally we are getting some snow in the mountains and the North Cascade's Highway which had reopened earlier than ever before has now closed again. This makes us all feel better. Maybe we won't turn into crispy critters by the end of May after all. When we first moved here, I could not get over the fact that we could go cross country skiing 40 minutes from our front door in a complete winter wonderland in March and then we could drive down from the mountains to see green and growing grass, leafed out trees, and flowers everywhere.
3. Only in Seattle are the Blue Herons pitted against the Bald Eagles. And no, these are not sports teams. Evidently, in a neighborhood near Microsoft the eagles and the herons seem to like the same trees for nesting and sitting and they are not getting along. Oh my, controversy in the suburbs over turf is not exclusively human according to King5 news. We have both Blue Herons and Bald Eagles living on our street. Actually we have about four herons and two eagles. So far, we have enough trees for all of them. You see, they have a great view of the water and fish from the tall trees. At dusk, the herons get a little testy--like if you are walking your big baby of a Golden Retriever and you disturb one of these huge creatures, they take off and fly low over your head, looking like a damn pre-historic pterodactyl, and they SQUAWK really really loudly, and they scare the bejeebers out of you and your fraidy cat dog, and your heart momentarily skips a beat, and you think you may be attacked by a flying dinosaur and...and.....no wonder Bald Eagles don't get along with them.
4. Speaking of Microsoft, Only in Seattle is Bill Gates "secret" compound not really a secret. Evidently, the Wall Street Journal reported on Bill Gates "think week". Twice a year Bill Gates spends a week alone in his cottage with a view of the water and the Olympic Mountains. He reads, he writes, and becomes inspired in his cabin on the water which according to the WSJ is a "secret Northwest locale". Everybody I know knows exactly where it is. In fact, pretty much everybody in Seattle knows exactly where it is--nothing secret about it as noted in today's Seattle PI. It is just that here in Seattle we do not bother people and we respect the privacy of others; it is a supreme part of our culture. Bill Gates can drink his diet Orange Crush in complete seclusion and nobody will bother him because his inspirations tend to be exciting and a benefit to all of us in this area.
Monday, March 28, 2005
Sometimes we have sunny Easters and sometimes we do not. This Easter we had rain and snow in the mountains but we need it so nobody seemed to mind. It is a little weird to be thinking in March that I should give my rhodie bushes some water.
Also, my family had a profound and moving weekend. I love being an Episcopalian and I find my denomination to be a wonderful vehicle for my Christian journey. Of course, this is very personal for me so I will just say the weekend started with a somber and educational Seder Dinner on Thursday. We finished with a family viewing of Jesus Christ Superstar for fun. The main event was our Easter celebration of the Risen Christ.
Puget Sound--sailboats in Easter rain.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
My puppy will be three years old on Sunday. Unfortunately, he still engages in behavior typical of a six month old Golden Retriever. Apolo has a thing for remotes. I have lost count of the number he has crunched into destruction. We have a new television with an HDTV box provided by the cable company. They also provided us a brand new remote. This has been too much for Apolo--a remote without his teeth marks.
Last night, while I was with Kaley at her piano lesson, Dave was enjoying a glass of wine, listening to the news, and cooking our steaks outside on the barbeque. Evidently, he was not paying enough attention to the gold furry child. The minute I walked in the kitchen, I heard some expletives and looked out in the back yard to see an adorable Golden Retriever with a remote IN HIS MOUTH!! Not again.
After we ate dinner, Dave went outside and gathered the pieces and the batteries. Voila! With a little duct tape, the remote works just fine.
Did I chew on that? Who me?
But Daddy was ignoring me!!
But aren't I cute?
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
I needed to stare at the water to calm down. Picture from this morning.
The sad sad case of the woman in Florida who has irreversible brain damage as a result of a heart attack because of an eating disorder bothered me a lot. Personally, as an adult, I have been through the deaths of three grandparents, my father, my brother in law, and both of my husband's parents. I do not count the death of my Grandpa Lane because I was only four and I don't remember it too well. (I do remember my parents did not take me to the funeral and little Janet was frightened to be left with a woman I did not know.) I have been an adult for 30 years so on average, I have been involved intimately with the death of a beloved family member every four years. It is never easy; I had moments of sobbing for every single one--the worst being the death of my father who was only 57. He suffered four months after a massive heart attack before he was finally at peace.
My Grandma Lane suffered for four years after having a stroke. Her mind was as sharp as ever but she was paralyzed on one side and miserable for four long years. She wanted to die. I remember clearly at the end she had a series of strokes. I will never forget the look of disappointment on her face when she awoke from one of them. There was no question that she did not want to be here any longer. I believe she had seen heaven and had been jerked away. A few days later she was finally at peace. She was 82.
My Grandpa Robinson suffered for five years from Alzheimer's until quickly everything failed and he died at age 78. It was an icky five years beginning with horrible things like trying to flush all of the garbage down the toilet and ending with a vegetative state in a wheel chair. But at least it was only five years in the nursing home instead of the 10 years for my Alzheimer's affected mother in law.
My Grandma Robinson's death was one of the best, yet still not perfect. But with her, I had the wonderful gift of being with her when she passed on. The nursing home knew she was nearing the end. Her mind had not been with us for two years but she still stubbornly decided she would no longer eat; she was 92. My Mom was on a trip so I spent the last moments with her and it was a great honor. I believe she knew I was there and I told her she had our permission to leave us. She seemed to need that permission. I watched her eyes flutter like she had seen the face of God and she was at peace. Truly, it was beautiful. She died simply of old age.
My father in law seemed to manage to die in the way he wished. We actually laugh about it now and frankly, we are not certain he did not take his own life. He had indicated to us many many times that he did not want to be a burden nor would he be able to stand to be disabled. Dr. Kevorkian was his hero. Five years ago, he died peacefully in his sleep after only two weeks of discovering he had some major medical problems. He was 82, supremely confident, and had lived a completely normal life until then. He had paid for and made all of his funeral arrangements the week before. It was a shock to us but comforting to know he was calling the shots. Everyone always called him by his nickname, Zip, and that about says it all.
Two months after my father in law died suddenly, my brother in law died of a brain tumor at age 53. He had been fighting the good fight for two years; he desperately wanted to live. But glioblastomas have no mercy and are incurable. This death was terrible and sad and out of the blue. My brother in law was one of the nicest kindest people that ever lived and this was not fair. It was NOT fair. We managed to get him cutting edge treatment at the Univ. of WA but it probably only extended his life two or three months. No decisions had to made at the end other than keeping him comfortable with pain medication.
My mother in law died two months ago after suffering from Alzheimer's for 15 years. I wrote about it then on this blog. All of these deaths and funerals were in Helena, Montana--every one of them. I have learned that death brings peace and resolution. Death eventually comes to us all; we have no choice and it is nothing to be feared. Sometimes death doesn't come soon enough but other times it comes too soon. Clearly, those who are able to make the choice to end suffering, like my father in law did, leave a great gift to their families. It allows family members to move on and build from there. My sister in law is now very happy and having the time of her life. She thought her life was over when her husband of over thirty years died of a brain tumor but she has met someone new. Her life has moved on. Likewise, my mother, also a widow in her early 50's, has lived a full and happy life traveling to all parts of the globe.
In all of the above situations, family members were of one mind that no extreme measures should be taken to prolong the inevitable. I urge everyone to discuss with their family members how they wish the end to be. Fill out a Health Care Directive, known as a living will, have it signed by two non-family members, have it notarized and give a copy to your doctor. Do it today. Personal family matters such as this do not belong in our courts and the United States Congress certainly has no business constitutionally getting involved. At least, that is what I learned in law school.
To me, this Florida woman's parents are unwilling to let go and are prolonging their grief and misery. I feel so sorry that their daughter's picture is plastered all over the newspapers and TV. What an invasion of her personal privacy and dignity! My advice to them would be to tell their daughter they love her and give her permission to go to the wonderful Place of Peace that I saw in both of my Grandmothers' eyes. Death, by definition, is an end point and brings resolution and allows everyone to move on. The spectacle needs to end.
Peacefulness--taken this morning.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
"Mom, I need some kinda costume for the Gong Show! I have that suit I got from Value Village. What could we do with it?" Lucas asked wanting my help. He was a senior in high school in 2003 and he had entered his school's most cruel talent show.
"How about some giant paper question marks? I could pin them all over the suit." I responded. Later that day I found myself tracing and cutting out giant question marks to pin on the used dark suit. Lucas was Mr. Geography and here he was about to finish high school with a big splash or a gigantic dive and I was nervous about which it would be. The Gong Show, seemingly run by the "popular" kids, has been known to take down the most talented musicians with the sound of a gong if the contestant is "uncool".
Lucas's idea was to come out on stage without singing or dancing, wave a crisp new $50 bill around with the challenge he would pay it to anyone who could stump him with questions about all of the capital cities of the world. His sister was a freshman at the time and she was going with a bunch of friends. I cringed remembering how little Lucas sometimes had trouble with other children who did not understand his geography game. Would he just be laughed off of that stage?
"Mommy, mommy, let's play geography....again!" insisted three year old toddler, Lucas, to me--me a tad bedraggled from entertaining Lucas, caring for a 5 month old baby girl, and keeping a two year old Golden Retriever happy.
"Daddy will be home soon, sweetie, and he hasn't played geography all day. He'd love to play!" Lucas liked to take a little car in his hand, drive it all over the big world map pinned on the wall, and name every country, ocean, and island he traversed. "By the way, babes, do you want to try the new potty we bought for you?"
"NO! Vroom, vroom. I'm driving over Mada..gas..car; I need gas in my car to get to Sri Lanka and IND..I..A!" this tiny person dramatized. Now he was ignoring me. His grandmother constantly reminded me that any child who could point out Madagascar on a map and pronounce it correctly should clearly no longer be in diapers. She had no idea what I was dealing with day to day with this child--like I wanted two kids in diapers??!!
By the time Lucas was three and a half, still in diapers, and after beginning his first year of daily preschool, he could name every country and ocean in the world. He could do it two ways. We would point to the shape and he would name it or we'd name a country and tell him to show us which one it was. At first we thought it was simply color recognition until we switched to maps with different colors; it made no difference. I then thought if we had a globe, he would be thrown off because the shapes were askew; it made no difference. Furthermore, though he recognized letters and numbers, he couldn't read so he was getting no clues from the names written on the maps. Finally, Lucas actually understood what the map represented. At age three, he had been to Montana and Hawaii by car and airplane and he was completely aware that the shape of Montana with the little star for the capital was right where his grandma lived. He had seen out of the airplane window and he knew. As easily as a child knows the picture of their puppy represents the puppy, Lucas knew the map was a big picture of the earth. Lest anyone question my veracity, we have it all on videotape.
School at times was frustrating for Lucas because never was geography studied in the way he wanted. In kindergarten at Christmas time, the children "wrote" stories by dictating to parents an imaginative trip by Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. Well, nobody had quite the story that Lucas had. About the moment Santa skidded over the rooftops in Mongolia, his teacher thought we as his parents had made up the whole thing. In spite of school, Lucas's interest never waned; he could spend hours in his room "reading" atlases. The walls of his bedroom were covered with maps and the depth of his knowledge increased to include statistics about languages, religions, and cities. As he became a teen ager, when I'd clean his room, I would find paper back atlases and almanacs scattered under his bed along with an occasional baseball card.
Middle school presented the opportunity Lucas had been waiting for his entire life--the National Geographic Geography Bee. For three years in a row as a 6th, 7th and 8th grader, Lucas took home the first place trophy which he still proudly displays in his bedroom. Each year he qualified for the Washington State competition which was determined by a test after winning the school competition. Out of thousands of kids, 100 would be picked to go to State. Attending these comptetions impressed upon me that all of these kids were like Lucas and were very closely matched in skills. My husband, a scientist, decided there is a geography gene. Parents told similar story after story about their children sneaking atlases after bedtime or staring catatonically at a spinning globe. Unfortunately for Lucas, Washington seems to be a hotbed for the geography gene because he barely missed the final 10 three years in a row. And each year Lucas was involved, Washington had children in the final 10 nationally with Alex Trebec in Washington, DC. Statistically, percentage-wise, Lucas was right up there for geography ability. Undoubtedly, however, he was by far the cutest geography kid in the state and the nerd portion of the gene did not seem to affect him as much as the other kids.
"You look....interesting, Lucas," as I pinned the last giant question mark on him. "And have fun--just have fun!" I said still not convinced this Gong Show thing was a good idea. But my handsome boy did look smashing in this outfit. Off he went and I worried for a couple of hours that he would bomb big time. I mean, really, who goes to a talent show as Mr. Geography?
A few hours later, he burst through the front door. "Mom, it was awesome? Totally awesome! I came out from behind a curtain and they played the theme from 2001, A Space Odyssey and had cool lights and everything! And they did not gong me! They let me go and nobody--nobody was able to ask a question I couldn't answer. I still have the 50 bucks. Awesome!"
Still wondering, I verified with Kaley later that he indeed was a tremendous charismatic hit. As little sister she would have been the first to tell me eagerly and honestly that he was a gigantic geeky failure. To this day two years later, Kaley still has kids ask her if the awesome geography guy from the Gong Show is her brother.
"Wow!" I thought. "The little hand that always had a Hot Wheels car was now waving a $50 bill as a challenge to an entire audience. And the confidence he had in himself had surpassed mine."
Maps in his room with pins to represent where he has been. Now it is not the little car anymore, it is him.
Friday, March 11, 2005
Lucas, my beloved son, complained that I did not write enough about him on my blog. These days I spend a lot more time with my Golden Retriever, Apolo, than I do with him because he is away at college. So today, I will write about Little Lukie.
Two year old Lucas--1987--Seattle
Lucas has an ability and it came to light very early. Before he was two years old, he started to attach names to shapes and it became an obsession. I used to put him on the bath mat in the bathroom with a basket of Duplo blocks to play while I took a shower. Lucas was very active and walked early; I did not believe in play pens so this was the only way to keep track of him while I washed my hair. He could say "block" but one day, his cute little hand with a Duplo appeared inside the shower curtain with a "What's dis?"
I responded with confusion, "Lucas, that is a block!"
His little hand appeared again with a Duplo of a different color and he said, "NO! What's dis? Mommy, what's dis?"
"Oh my," I thought. "He is not even 20 months old and he is asking me about colors?" "Lucas, that is a YELLOW Duplo block!"
"Yes, Mommy, what's dis?" he asked as he held yet another block.
"BLUE, a blue block!!" I hurriedly got out of the shower and within a couple of hours Lucas knew all of his colors--just like that--including "brun" and "lello". It wasn't long after that while in his high chair being fed by me his babyfood out of a jar, that he pointed his little finger at the letters and asked, "What's dis?"
"This is your applesauce, Lucas."
"No, Mommy, what's dis?" as he pointed to an individual letter "A".
"Ah, sweetie, that is an 'A'?" I said with shock. This was not in the baby books and believe me I read everything before he was born. I was 33 and had been practicing law in Seattle for six years and I did nothing without a lot of research including having a baby. What you have to understand is that Lucas was completely uninterested in feeding himself because his hands were too busy pointing out letters and numbers and he learned them all before he was 21 months old.
To be honest, he embarrassed me because he had a loud little voice. Trips to the grocery store were great adventures of letters and numbers. He used to point out the letter "P" and then start giggling, "Peeeee!" People would look at me. I remember a trip to the mall to look for a gift in the Fine China section in the Bon. I was holding him in my arms at the check out stand when he pointed at the wall and shouted loudly each letter "N-O-R-I-T-A-K-E". The store clerk looked at me and at the baby in my arms and asked me how old he was. I specifically remember replying, "21 months." She then asked me if he was a genius or something.
With letters, numbers, and colors mastered, dinosaurs were next. And trucks. "Big big big lello front end loader with big big black tires!" The Halloween he was 2, he wanted to be a "monoclonius" but we convinced him to be a stegosaurus instead because making a stegosaurus costume was a lot easier than trying to figure out a monoclonius. I was pregnant with Kaley after all. He could name every obscure dinosaur and every type of truck in existence. (I really hated the truck books) Lucas had dinosaur puzzles and letters and number puzzles but it just was not enough.
On his third birthday, with new baby sister in arms, I managed to find a United States puzzle where each of the states was an individual puzzle piece. Within a week, we could hand him any puzzle piece and he could name the state. Lucas was not interested in reading though he loved to be read to. I realized that these were not steps he was taking to begin reading but simply a unique ability all on its own of attaching a complicated word to an interesting shape. He loved pronouncing the words as much as identifying the shape. "Kentucky!" We had a dilema; the America puzzle lasted a mere week. My Mom has always purchased for us a subscription to National Geographic so we had a gigantic World map. I push pinned it on the wall in the play room at three year old eye level. And literally, the world was opened to him. My little three year old boy did not care about using the potty nor could he name baby animals. But my oh my, did he love playing geography with his Hot Wheels in hand! More later!
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Apolo and I actually got quite wet after our walk so I guess I would call it rain today. It felt really good and smelled even more wonderful. I just cannot get over this spring and it is not even spring yet. I took a picture of my purple heather bush. Heather grows fabulously here and it blooms, depending on the type, all different times of year. My favorite are the dark pink varieties that bloom at Christmas through February.
Oh and an update! The ORCA has now been officially recognized as Washington's state marine mammal. Yippee Skippee!
Apolo included for size reference--and see my weeping cherry bursting out!
Wet Apolo posing next to our official state flower--the rhodie.
And all before 8 AM!! Kaley has a delayed schedule on Wednesday mornings so when I get up, it is light outside. First thing I do in the mornings is get my three newspapers. The Seattle Times and The Seattle PI are always up on my porch but the Everett Herald is thrown in our driveway. Lately, because we have no rain anymore, I have been running down the steps to the driveway without shoes to grab my third newspaper. However, today there is dampness--I will not even call it rain--but I ran for it anyway. You see, I was excited to see the front pages because Mount St. Helens is acting up again with a huge ash plume last evening.
While I was reading the papers and drinking my French Press coffee with my Costco croissant, I listened to the local news on King5. Red-haired Jim Foreman is King5's man of action and last night he was having a great time in a helicopter flying around Mount St. Helens. We Seattleites make fun of Jim because he is the one they send to snow storms, to fly over the Space Needle on New Year's, to report from mudslides, etc. And he gets so animated. But this morning the local news instead had an interview with a woman near the mountain who said she knew it was going to explode because her cats went flying all over her trees.
Next, I heard the distinctive call of our neighborhood bald eagles and sure enough I watched one of them land on his perch in a high tree. He had prey in his beak (I assume a small fish) and he ate it. Shortly thereafter, he was joined by his partner. I tried to take a photo but it is a little gray this morning. I returned to my reading about the affair the married CEO of Boeing had with another executive which cost him his job when I noticed a tug boat. The tug was pulling a log jamb which I call a "seal cruise ship". I grabbed my super duper binocs and watched those freeloader seals and at least one sea lion enjoying a free Puget Sound cruise.
Finally, Kaley was ready for school and in the car she needed money. She needed money for a green bracelet that Lucas took and she sold two more to me. The green bracelets she is selling are to protest the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan. Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, tortured and raped and the United States barely pays attention. I am proud that my children care about these horrors.
"The Save Darfur Coalition is an alliance of over 100 diverse faith-based, humanitarian, and human rights organizations that was formed in response to the massive crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan. Our mission is to raise public awareness and to mobilize efforts to help end the atrocities and reduce the suffering in Darfur and nearby refugee camps."
So at this moment as I type, my daughter is at school, I wear a green bracelet, my eagle still sits in the tree but the seals are in Everett by now. Mount St. Helens is quiet. I think King5 should send Jim Foreman and his helicopter to Darfur! And all of this happened before 8 AM.
Friday, March 04, 2005
1. Interestingly, Bill Gates had an opinion piece in today's paper about education and how our schools are in such great need of not only money but new ideas. He also mentioned the Kansas City, KS school district which I wrote about yesterday.
"We need a new design that realizes that all students can do rigorous work.
There is mounting evidence in favor of this approach. Take the Kansas City, Kan., public school district, where 79 percent of students are minorities and 74 percent live below the poverty line. For years, the district struggled with high dropout rates and low test scores. In 1996, it adopted a school-reform model that, among many other steps, requires all students to take college-prep courses. Since then, the district's graduation rate has climbed more than 30 percentage points."
I have some thoughts about this. First of all, just think about these statistics. WOW! Seventy-nine percent of the students are minorities and 74% live below poverty level. To me, this is unacceptable in America--completely unacceptable. Secondly, Gates points out that if you expect children to perform, they are capable. Yes!! I learned that 30 years ago in Kansas City. We must never assume these kids are not able to do rigorous work. They can succeed if we provide the right program. It has taken Kansas City an awful long time but it looks like they are beginning to have some success.
2. And on a completely unrelated topic, the USS Lincoln aircraft carrier is returning home at this very moment. I am so happy that they were sent to help provide relief from the devastation of the Tsunami at Christmas time. News reports told of how ecstatic crew members were to be able to provide humanitarian help instead of going to war. In my opinion, this was a wonderful use of our military and I am proud of all of the young members on board. Those little dark pegs in my pictures are the crew members all lined up as they pull into the Naval Station in Everett. Welcome Home!!
From my front deck
From back deck--see the people?
See the boat for size comparison? This thing is so huge.
It is truly thrilling to watch it sail by with Coast Guard and news helicopters. The massiveness of it cannot be conveyed with pictures.
Thursday, March 03, 2005
Posting that old photo of me from the 70's and thinking about Christo's art in Kansas City reminded me of how my life was profoundly changed in Kansas City. Seeing my long hair brought to mind the reason I had it cut--in Kansas City.
I went to Helena High School in Helena, Montana. We had only two African-American families in our city. The daughter in one family, Janet, was a year older than me. She was incredibly bright and popular and the year she went to Girl's State, she was elected Governor. From what I heard, she went on to have a successful career and was one of the producers of the Phil Donahue Show. But, in 1970, she was not allowed to try on clothes at the local department store.
One of the sons in the other family, Charles, was my age and was our class president. He, too, was popular, smart, and athletic. I saw him recently at a high school reunion and he has had a happy successful life and marriage. They were my friends and you tend to become blind to society's categories when you know people. I am certain Charles like Janet has experienced prejudice and discrimination which seems so incredibly stupid to me because their background is the same as mine.
Charles and Janet were my personal points of reference when we moved to Kansas City. My husband was in graduate school and I had a teaching degree--in secondary education/ Social Studies. Kansas City spreads across two states and racial issues were unresolved and tense in 1974. School integration was a hot issue and whites were fleeing to the suburbs in droves to avoid the horror of their children being in the same building as black children. I could not find a teaching job in either Missouri or Kansas because evidently, they wanted their Social Studies teachers to also coach football.
The Kansas City, Kansas school district placed me as a teacher's aide in a remedial reading program in an elementary school. Quindaro School was in the poorest deteriorated area of the city and all of the children in the school were African-American. Interestingly, the school was brand new and an obvious attempt at creating a "separate but equal" situation to escape having to bus these children to the better schools in white areas. The remedial reading program was new and the teaching staff had been integrated for the first time the year before.
The first week on the job was an enormous cultural shock for me. As a kid from Montana I had never seen black people in an entirely black neighborhood. I had never seen such massive poverty. My supervisor, Myra, was an older African-American woman who had sent her only son to private school. I didn't understand, at first.
We had 60 children in our program. Sixty children with problems I could not even imagine. Sixty children from the poorest area of Kansas City who were picked for our program because their test scores were even lower than the other two hundred kids. These children had never even been out of the neighborhood. Many of them had never seen a white person in person until some white teachers came to the school the year before.
I will admit I was frightened driving into the Quindaro district. The white P.E. teacher's car had been smashed and trashed. One of the student's had attacked her and broken her nose. The student, Ivan, was in our program and he was a big 6th grader with scars on his face. I did not know what I had gotten myself into. But, it did not take me long to realize I belonged there. Within the first week, I knew every child's name--all sixty of them. Even Myra did not know their names. I learned that these children, the throw-aways of our culture, valued being called by name--by me, a pretty young white woman with long long hair.
Not long after I learned the names, I became attached. They loved my hair and they called me Wonder Woman from TV because I guess to them, I looked like her even if I wasn't quite as buxom. Tiny little Rodney wanted to know about cows in Montana. He had never seen a cow. Little Marilyn wanted me to know her Dad was a policeman; she was better dressed than the rest of the kids. Even brooding Ivan warmed up to me. They loved "scaring" me by explaining what roaches were. I had never seen one until I lived there. The children comforted me after we had been robbed; I realized only too well they did know how I felt. The advantage I had was that my boss in the room with me was African American and I took orders from her. These kids had little familiarity with a white person working for a black person. She was in charge and their frustration, if any, would be directed at her, not me.
Myra was the one who told me to cut my beautiful hair. The children touched it and felt it and when I would crouch over them, it would brush over their heads. Lice-- Myra was afraid I would get lice. The thought horrified me and had never occurred to me so I cut my hair. Even with shorter hair, the kids still thought I looked just like Lynda Carter! http://www.amazing-amazon.com/wwlynda.htm They called me "Mizzzeaton" and it took me a while to understand when they said I drove a "baaad car" (my husband's old Pontiac Firebird) that it meant they liked it!
These kids supposedly had IQ's of 80 or less and that is when I realized that test scores are meaningless. The 60 children I worked with had a tremendous amount of potential; they had never had a chance to read books at home; to have enough food in their tummies; enough clothes; or to have experience outside four dilapidated wooden walls. The brains of these children were no different than the brains of the white kids in the suburbs. I experienced it with my own eyes and soul. It did not take much attention to push many of these children into reading. But, there was a gigantic difference in circumstances that would keep these kids from having lives like my friends, Janet and Charles. The thought profoundly affected me. And it made me angry.
And I am still angry because as a nation, we continue to throw these kids away. The number of black children in poverty has grown at an alarming rate. Circumstances, according to our government's own statistics, are WORSE now than in those days of my time at Quindaro School 30 years ago. http://www.childrensdefense.org/familyincome/childpoverty/default.asp For every six children in this country, one lives in poverty.
"That is more children living in poverty today than 30 or 35 years ago. A child in America is more likely to live in poverty than a child in any of the 18 other wealthy industrialized nations for which data exist. "
Not only have we done nothing as a country, we are moving backwards.
We have done nothing and we don't care.
We don't care about the children in America.
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Apolo and I took our daily walk and he does not always cooperate and I stepped in some big dog's pile of #&*^ with my hiking boots (you know with the tread--ick) but I didn't care. I didn't care because I had fun taking some pictures. So enjoy spring in Mukilteo!!
Olympic Mountains today
Martha Washington made it through winter
Blooms next door
Smell the rhodies
Plum blossoms in my back yard
- 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004
- 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004
- 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004
- 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
- 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
- 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004
- 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
- 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
- 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004
- 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004
- 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004
- 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004
- 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005
- 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005
- 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005
- 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005
- 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
- 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
- 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
- 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005
- 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005
- 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005
- 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005
- 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
- 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
- 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
- 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
- 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006
- 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006
- 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
- 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006
- 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006
- 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006
- 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006
- 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006
- 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006
- 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007
- 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007
- 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007
- 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007
- 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007
- 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007
- 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007
- 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007
- 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007
- 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007
- 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007
- 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007
- 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008
- 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008
- 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008
- 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008
- 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008
- 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008
- 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008
- 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008
- 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008
- 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008
- 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008
- 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008
- 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009
- 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009
- 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009
- 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009
- 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009
- 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009
- 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009
- 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009
- 09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013
- 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013