Times are changing on Miller Farm. It’s just Beekeeper Brian and Chicken Wrangler Sara in the house now so we are painting and rearranging rooms. In this process we have made some interesting discoveries.
Behind the lawyers stack, for example, were some posters. Most were disposable but one brought back fond memories. It is a large poster with Sara Lynn carefully written in it in large bold letters. It belongs to a long ago time in my life – my junior year of high school.
The senior class was holding auditions for their variety show and my group of friends decided to do a humorous skit about Julius Caesar. At the last minute everyone backed out leaving me alone at the auditions.
I had been taking piano lessons all my life and always had a song ready for performance. So, without any plan or preparation when it came time for my group to audition, I sat down and played a Tarantella.
As it happened, my piano performance was chosen to represent the junior class in the variety show. They asked for the name of my act and all I could think of was my name.So, they put my first and middle name on a poster that I have managed to hang on to through three children and two countries.
The experience of performing in the variety show was actually very lonely. I sat by myself at the rehearsals and even won a patience award. This should have been my first clue that performing was not the career for me. I much prefer being surrounded by kids making music in a classroom. This is especially true during the summer when school is not in session.
Before the school year started, I alphabetized my books in my classroom to make it easier to find what I wanted for each class.
Imagine my consternation when I went to pull “Six Little Ducks” and it was not nestled right next to “Silent Night” in the “s” section. I thought perhaps I had loaned it out and would need to track it down.
I chose another duck book, “Little White Duck,” and went on with my teaching.
Well yesterday, I wanted to read “Ten Little Indians.” It was time to start my Thanksgiving songs. It was also missing!
My first thought was “Now I’ve lost six little ducks and ten little Indians and the craziness of the holiday season has not even began. Not a good sign!”
I had to walk away from the bookshelf to collect myself.
Upon returning and carefully searching through the entire alphabet of books, I discovered that “Ten Little Indians” was actually titled “One Little Indian.”
Very relieved, I looked once again for “Six Little Ducks.”
I discovered the title of that book is actually “Five Little Ducks,” and it was right shelved right where it was supposed to be – after “Fire Truck.”
I slept much better last night knowing that every book and everything was in their proper spot.
Including the black hen in the chicken yard who apparently still has flashbacks to the possum episode and tries to sleep on top of the quail cage.
Have a great weekend.
Before anyone gets excited over CW (Chicken Wrangler) Sara using Ten Little Indians to kickstart Thanksgiving, I have to tell you that she grew up where Mama (me) made sure the “real” Thanksgiving celebration wasn’t forgotten.
(Image from: www.azgop.org)
The first Thanksgiving feast was to thank the Indians for their contribution to the Pilgrims’ survival.
To reinforce the concept, I wore an Indian squaw dress custom-made for me by an Apache seamstress on the White River Arizona Reservation.
I’m sure CW Sara told her young students all about a Mama’s custom.
I do wonder if she tells her classes about how I embellished the Five Little Duck story by having the Mama Duck (NOT the Daddy Duck) call the duckies back in the song’s punch line.
I’d tell her and her siblings that disobedience to Mama Duck meant the five little duckies might not have a happy ending.
On second thought, CW Sara probably doesn’t tell that story. That would be like the black hen’s flashbacks of the possum episode—recalling unpleasant memories.
I should have spent yesterday writing my ONE WORD WEDNESDAY blog for an early morning post today. I didn’t.
My daughter volunteered to help the son of an on-line friend in Minnesota with his Flat Stanley Project. She invited me to tag along while she and Flat Stanley visited the state capitol of Texas. I had a fun and enlightening adventure.
You’ve haven’t met FLAT STANLEY or heard about the project?
FLAT STANLEY is Stanley Lambchop the protagonist of Jeff Brown’s 1964 children’s books series. The story goes…
Stanley and his younger brother Arthur are given a big bulletin board by their Dad for displaying pictures and posters. He hangs it on the wall over Stanley’s bed. During the night the board falls from the wall, flattening Stanley in his sleep. He survives and makes the best of his altered state, and soon he is entering locked rooms by sliding under the door, and playing with his younger brother by being used as a kite. One special advantage is that Flat Stanley can now visit his friends by being mailed in an envelope. Stanley even helps catch some art museum thieves by posing as a painting on the wall. Eventually Arthur changes Stanley back to his proper shape with a bicycle pump.
In 1995, a third grade schoolteacher in Canada used the book for a letter-writing lesson between schoolchildren as they documented where Flat Stanley went. The students created a two dimension “paper doll” fashioned to look like them and mailed Stanley to pen pals everywhere.
That project has now become a worldwide adventure for children with Flat Stanley projects. The objective of which is for the child to explore through Flat Stanley’s adventures. Sometimes by writing diaries for language arts skill or travel journals of Flat Stanley locations for geography and social studies skills. Check for the full concept here.
Flat Stanley does get around. He’s traveled to Russia with me once. As you see, my Stanley was a small, easily transportable and pose-able paper doll.
The Stanley from Minnesota was a life-size ten year-old butcher paper cutout, flimsy and awkward to pose. March winds forced us to tape him or hold him upright for pictures. We had to strap him into the seatbelt for the trip to Austin!
Some of those observing our antics recognized Stanley from their own school projects. Others scratched their heads and thought we were two crazy ladies. Can’t post the pictures until the Minnesota student completes his project, but I will get snapshots on my Judythe Morgan FB page as soon as I can.
We began Stanley’s adventure on the University of Texas campus. One of the fringe benefits of spending the fun day with my daughter was touring her old college town haunts, her condo, the intramural field where she worked refereeing softball games, and campus buildings where she’d had classes. Her reaction to the familiar places all these years later was like seeing a child opening a Christmas present. Great memories for her, and I got a glimpse into what her life on campus had been when I sent her off to the big, bad UT.
I shared my memories of growing up in Austin. Flat Stanley saw my high school, the places I went on dates with my daughter’s daddy, houses I lived in, and some of the ancestral history of her great-grandparents who were among the founding residents.
I thought she’d be bored. Poor Flat Stanley didn’t get a vote. My daughter claimed to be delighted to see this side to her mother…the giggles and smiles made me believe her. She suggested I compose a tour plan complete with an Austin map marked with locations for her siblings. Great idea for a memoir.
Before we ended our visit, my daughter wanted to stop by and see my eighty-five year old aunt who still lives in a small group home for the elderly.
I hesitated. Would my aunt even remember her namesake? A stroke four years ago left my aunt blind. Already deaf, the loss of another source of sensory input and the stroke damage caused memory issues.
As silly as it sounds—my daughter’s a grown woman, I didn’t want her feelings hurt or the imagery of an old folks’ home stuck in her head. I suggested lunch at a favorite Austin eatery instead.
Imagine my surprise when over lunch my daughter told me she knew what those places are like. During her years at UT, she’d gone to see her grandfather in a nursing home nearby twice a week until he passed away. She’d be fine with seeing my aunt and insisted we go.
Tears nearly blinded me, and I gave her a hug. Shocked and pleased, the value of respect and honor for elders that her daddy and I tried to instill had worked.
Best part, when we saw my aunt, she remembered my daughter. We had a lovely visit. And over-sized, floppy Flat Stanley had quite the adventure.
YOUR TURN: Have you ever had a FLAT STANLEY adventure or an enlightening moment with a child?