SOMETIME WE NEED A FEEL GOOD POST IN OUR TROUBLED TIMES
Here is a true post about a teacher and one of her students, It is a story of learning. I had several who made a big difference in my life, by far my two favorite were Ms Barbin and Ms Glasscock. They lived together in a time and place where we did not even bother to question their relationship. They loved their profession and the children that they helped along the way. I dedicate this post to them and all the other teachers who do not get enough THANKS~!
FOUR LETTERS FROM TEDDY STALLARD
As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stallard.
Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where his fourth grade teacher would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big ‘F’ at the top of his papers.
At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.
Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners…he is a joy to be around..’
His second grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.’
His third grade teacher wrote, ‘His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest, and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.’
Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class.’
By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stallard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, ‘Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.’
After the children left, she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her ‘teacher’s pets..’
A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.
Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors.. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.
Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stallard, MD.
The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.
They hugged each other, and Dr. Stallard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear, ‘Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.’
Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, ‘Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.’
(For you that don’t know, Teddy Stallard is the Dr at Iowa Methodist in Des Moines that has the Stallard Cancer Wing.)
Warm someone’s heart today. . . pass this along. I love this story so very much, I cry every time I read it. Just try to make a difference in someone’s life today. Tomorrow. Just ‘do it’.
Random acts of kindness, I think they call it!
Believe in Angels, then return the favor.
And there is more to the story of Ms Barbin and Ms Glasscock so I may find a way to put it down in prose as soon as it is worked out in my mind~! The last time I saw them was in Algiers Algeria, and they were getting off a tour bus long after retirement.
Oh, April first has been a problem for me, sense I was a young kid. This was how we entertained our selves before the invention of the cell phone and the internet~! I always found some great “April fool” thing to do. Sometime destructive, like calling a grocery store and asking if they had Prince Albert in a can, but mostly in just writing terrible letters about things that were not really true, like how I lost my left foot. Or having the largest nose in school. One sister who believed that I was writing my letter from prison would not talk to me for months. So due to the seriousness of this year, I will not do this, instead I will just repeat a good poem that touches on the ridiculous. So a happy April first to all of you and the joke is on me this time.
ANOTHER IS LEAVING US, AND OUR KIDS MAY NEVER KNOW IT~!
Remembering Tomie dePaola
(photo: Laurent Linn)
Tomie dePaola (September 15, 1934-March 30, 2020)
The field of children’s literature lost one of its great champions. Tomie DePaola died yesterday at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., due to complications following surgery after a fall last Thursday.
Oh Tomie dePaola, how could you leave us at a time like this? We need your humor, your talent, and your joie de vivre now more than ever.
Remember when you shared the stage with Julie Andrews, who hosted the 2009 Children’s Book and Author Breakfast, and you said, “Let’s get this out of the way,” and began singing, “The hills are alive…”? Someone else might have felt intimidated by the iconic actress, but not Tomie dePaola, no. You went on to talk about how the two of you “spent a night together in our teens.” You, a student at Manhattan’s prestigious Pratt Institute, sitting in the audience of The Boyfriend, where Julie Andrews was making her Broadway debut. And how did you exit the stage? By serenading her: “So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodnight…” Maybe you should have been an actor!
But we’re so glad you weren’t! The first book you illustrated was for Coward McCann in 1965, a science book called Sound. Someone else might have been discouraged by the review: “Good facts, but the illustrations are far too imaginative for a science book.” Instead, you were encouraged. You went on to give us Mother Goose rhymes and Christmas songs and a world war seen through a child’s eyes on 26 Fairmount Avenue (Putnam, 1999), a Newbery Honor book.
At the urging of Eunice Holzart you wrote down a story about your bedridden great grandmother, which Barbara Lucas at Putnam read and led to Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs (Putnam, 1973). Soon after, you began thinking about the age-old Porridge Pot story, which–thanks to your Italian genes–morphed into a Pasta Pot and… along came Strega Nona (S&S, 1975), a Caldecott Honor book. At last count, there were nearly 25 million copies of your books in the world.
You were even named a Living Treasure in 1999 by the governor of New Hampshire, where you lived and worked in your 200-year-old converted barn, complete with ovens for baking your beloved bread.
Tomie dePaola, it is comforting to think of your warmth and faith and love of family, your Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, your strength emanating from 26 Fairmont Avenue, carrying us forward in the days ahead. As always, you get the last word: during your acceptance of the 2011 Children’s Literature Legacy Award, you told the audience, “I am extremely humbled and totally grateful. You have given me and my work eternity.” So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodnight. —Jennifer M. Brown
Here is another thought from K.G. to help you get over your virus shut in.
Solitude is a silent storm that breaks down all our dead branches. Yet it sends our living roots deeper into the living heart of the living earth. Man struggles to find life outside himself, unaware that the life he is seeking is within~!
It is all our fault…..We are to blame… and now we must live with it… When we moved into this little “one horse town” things were different. It had one hardware store where you could buy nails by the pound not by the box, pick out the screw or a bolt that you needed instead of buying a “value pack” of a dozen or more that will end up in a drawer. You could even get kerosene from a pump into your own can, or a bottle of propane etc etc etc.
The “farm store” had everything needed, out of a sack or barrel and all the needed hardware to fix a gate. But it was run by an ole S.O.B. who made it clear that they did not want outsiders moving into their quiet little town. So be it; he just did not know what was to come, and not from us retirees, but from “big business”, who would quickly remove such as he.
Then, there were three grocery stores, one larger mom and pop one, which had fresh bread, a meat market section, dairy, and even fresh vegetables and fruit, mostly locally grown. The people working there all knew you by your first name, and would accompany you, when possible, by getting what was not stocked. There were a couple more, connected with service stations, which took care of the quick, “forgot to get” items, which we did not completely appreciate, because their selection was not large enough, (we thought), but what should you expect out of a gas service station.
One locally owned bank, which I did not like, but how did I know what it would quickly become, when it was purchased by Wells Fargo. Now there are five banks and the one above has been taken over by the largest conglomeration in America, Wow~! Instead of talking to the people I knew, If I am lucky to sit and hold the phone long enough, I must then talk to someone living in India, so they can earn a little more off my business.
The Mom-n-Pop store just couldn’t survive the cost cutting of the HEB that moved in, and everyone was so exited about. The service stations are closed, but that slot has been taken over by 7-11 or Dollar General, and I must say that I still use them often out of utter last chance.
The hardware store was replaced by an Ace Hardware, and then when it folded, The Home Depot, which put the others out of business, then by Tractor Supply, none ever did have the plumbing part you needed, but you could replace it with three pieces at three times the cost, to do the same job, and remember those screws mentioned above~? Yes they both have that “convenience” (to whom~?), well I have a special drawer full of all those bolts, nails, and screws in packages and a box full of pvc parts that I will never use, but I just can’t bring myself to throwing something I paid for away. Get my drift~?
But my big sorrow is to see that damn HEB. (as I also see Home Depot), It seems that they run it as a “poor relative” of their larger stores in Austin, and I swear that the HEB produce comes from the larger stores in the city, when they are too old to sell there, and they must have hired someone who claimed to be a baker, who puts together packaged bake stuff out of a box then bakes them to a hard half burnt crust, or half raw and my sensitive nose can often smell the meat, fish counter when I enter the store. (but they tell me when you can no longer smell, you may have Coronavirus. Wonder if HEB will pass this smell test~!
But now with the current Virus thing, and my being up in my 80’s; shopping has become a real problem to me. I am not so much worrying about passing on a sickness, because I am as healthy as a person can be for my age, but I am also in that age bracket that is most in danger of catching the bug.
So first I went on line, yes they have “special programs” for ordering “curb pickup”. Lots of luck with that~!!!…. Great, you put in your zip code and start your shopping off a limited mixed up list. So after and hour or so, I had a nice list made up and and hit return…. It came back with a time and date, when I could pick it up, what they might have, a week from the date I made the request, in a store in Port Lavaca, Texas over 150 miles from me. So this would be at least a 300 mile round trip to do my convenience shopping…. Something was wrong, Austin and San Antonio were much closer, so I tried again, and again, and again, in fact three times more, then gave up.
There is another number for old folks like me, but I felt that I could outsmart them and get that milk before it soured and the eggs hatched. I could go when others were asleep; I am so smart~! NO that was not possible, they have changed their hours from six in the morning to almost midnight to a more convenient time of from 8:AM to 8:PM….Wow that is the way to cut back on crowds, just make the same number of people shop for the same amount of food, in a shorter period~!
So what to do…. I knew that if you arrive at a time when others are, or should be, sleeping, the store has fewer people. Now because churches are no longer having service, I had a great plan. I would arrive a little before 8 on Sunday, and be one of the first through that door. Only need a few critical things like eggs and milk, I would get in there and out through the express “eight items or less” lines.
So I arrived and started for the side (mostly exit) door where few people go, as it is so far from the produce. NO LUCK, it is now locked with an employee standing there, and she told me that I must stand in line and only use the main entrance, Looking at this “main” door there was a line of people around the block, nose to ass, and the doors had not even opened yet~!
If the Mom-N-Pop store still existed, I could have called them ahead, and they would have had what I needed at the front, where I could pay and go, (been there, done that), but they now live in Florida. Old Mr Evangelical H. E. Butts is long dead and his descendants even sell alcohol in his HEB stores, but not to all of us old farts.
Now I am back home and must figure out how to get those eggs and special milk, in a place where I can pick it up without standing in a Diseased “Coronavirus Conga Line”. But it is not as urgent as it was, because I stopped at “Dollar General” on the way home, got my milk, eggs, ice cream, breakfast rolls, and treats for Tami, being the only person in the store, and you know what~? Those people who work there are pleasant, and seem to be happy to have a job in these hard times~!
I have been in a writers slump and have not come up with anything worth while, but sitting here this morning, a thought came to me that has bothered me for years. Maybe I should have stayed in that slump~!
SKIP TO THE LOO MY DARLING
In my travels around the world, great things to see, great things to do, but there is another I must hurl, just describing this unique thing to you.
I did not pay much attention to it, until one day it came to me, while on such a contrivance where I sit. How different people use it you see.
For around the world that common thing, can be so different in which land you be, how evolution took a different fling, to all people and this is what I see.
In the land of sand you see a man, trot across a dune quick, in demand, but in his hand he has a can, hurrying quickly across the hot sand.
While in the great city of Paris, when nature calls to them, on the streets, they do not seem at all embarrassed behind a short wall they will beat.
In north Africa it is a hole, in the center of the floor, with a place to put each shoe sole, so that is it, and not much more.
For they must do it while they squat, and this is the natural way for them, they can’t understand why we do not, but just sit there on a cold rem.
Other places in Europe you may see, a low walled place inside a cafe, a man standing there taking a pee, humming, not bothered about doing it that way.
In England it is a fancy thing, a tank above, pipe coming down too, and from the tank a chain, wonder why they call it the loo.
And in America some seem aggressive make you wonder if they can be, a danger to our things possessive hanging down where we can’t see.
So many ways can’t know them all, to sit to stand, or to squat, you see, you may need instructions on the wall, for the simple thing, on how to take a pee.
There is so much on Corona virus on TV and online that I have come to ignore all of those repeated things, knowing most of them verbatim. But this morning I read one that seemed to be something I did not know so I thought I would pass it on…..This one is worth reading~!
AND HERE IS SOMETHING ELSE TO THINK ABOUT WHILE SITTING ALONE
The more we talk, the less we think. The more we filibuster by filling the air with words, the less comfortable we are with aloneness. The more we engage in protracted monologue, the less aware we are that our audience is respectfully only half-listening. Think more, be alone more, but engage in more meaningful thought and conversations. Thought, solitude, and dialogue are triplets.
My son Cass, as a child, was a very quiet person. People use to say that he was just not involved. BUT I knew better, and so did others, he was listening and thinking. So when he felt that it is worth talking about, the results was usually something profound and worth listening to~!