THE TIMES, THEY HAVE A-CHANGED

When I lived in Kew Gardens, NY where I went to school from kindergarten to 5th grade, my friends and I spent our free time reading movie magazines, singing the popular songs, playing jacks and jump rope and hop scotch in the summer. In the winter, we made snowmen and snow angels,sledded, and ice skated. We went inside for lunch and dinner. Nobody checked on us. There was no fear on the streets.
When we moved to a ranch in California, my girlfriend and I rode horses almost every day,up and around the mountains and valleys stampeding the cattle and remuda of horses. Sometimes, we took picnic lunches. Always, we were accompanied by seven or eight dogs out of the eleven on the ranch. We made up plays and skits. We acted out the Western movie we had seen that month. We collected tadpoles, frogs, snakes, and beetles. We had school, taught by a tutor, in one of our bedrooms and read books by kerosene lamps. No one worried about us. No one knew where we were most of the time.We were allowed to be our ages. In the summer, when our families rented a house on Balboa Island to escape the heat, we swam, sailed, bicycled, and played games like “Red Rover” with the other kids on the beach. We would be gone all day, and as long as were home for dinner, no one bothered us.
Those were the days when kids were allowed to be kids. There was no pressure to take lessons or play sports outside of school. As part of our schooling, our tutor, who had studied ballet for years, gave us lessons in our living room. We cavorted about in our jeans that had cuffs distributing hay, straw and God knows what else on the hardwood floor. Sometimes,we wore handmade costumes appropriate to the dance. We were the only students and could take our time learning. Once in a while, we decided to cut afternoon classes and head for the hills on our horses. Punishment was extra homework.
Nowadays, children are hustled around after school for lessons of all kinds. Some spend time practicing sports until early evening before doing homework and eating dinner. It seems as if parents are determined to keep their kids constantly on the move,keeping them busy,not allowing them leisure or relaxation or just being their age.
I attended two high schools, one public in Forest Hills, NY, and the other private in Hollywood, CA. In both, I had friends with whom I went shopping, to the drugstore to sip flavored cokes or sodas or milkshakes, to the movies, on walks,or horseback riding. We sang a lot. It was an innocent time. There were no drug or sex or gang problems at school. The worst sin was to smoke on school grounds, but our group was a non-smoking one, so we never got into trouble. Today,of course, there is hardly a school, even a private one, that does not have drug and alcohol issues, and sex is an expected and accepted part of dating. California students drive as soon as soon as they can and load the car with friends. Girls and boys are thrust into relationships that are beyond their age level to intelligently handle. There are unwanted pregnancies. In my day, “making out” consisted of necking and a little petting and was as far as most teenagers went. Sex was for marriage. Now, the first kiss can lead to bed.
There is no time to “just be,” to think things through. Life moves too fast. When I was teaching high school seniors how to meditate in class, I used flowers or small objects or imaginative visits to places. They enjoyed these mind trips. On stressful days, they would ask for a meditation to calm them down.
We need to give our young people more time to mature and stop rushing them into life. The times, they need a-changing again.

The Day They Remembered

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This is one of the most touching stories I have read in a long time, and I want to share it with you. Thank you,Coach Muller.

Originally posted on Good Time Stories:

I love when I find stories that touch your heart and, more importantly, teach us lessons in ways that we can sometimes…never imagine. Today’s story is an example of a show of love from an unlikely source.

An amazing occurrence happened in South Africa when 31 elephants made a “Journey To Pay their Respect.” How did they know? Something that is greater and deeper than human intelligence informed them that their hero – the man who had saved their lives and many other animals – had made his transition from this earthly world. Lawrence Anthony (1950 – 2012), a legend in South Africa and author of 3 books including the bestseller “The Elephant Whisperer”, bravely rescued wildlife and rehabilitated elephants all over the globe from human atrocities, including the courageous rescue of Baghdad Zoo animals during the US invasion in 2003. On March 7, 2012 Lawrence Anthony died.

Two days…

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Monday Meeting — Boots the Nanny Dog

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We need “Boots Camps” across the country to make life easier for kittens and puppies.

Originally posted on Soul Gatherings:

Boots the Nanny Dog

Nine years after the trauma of Hurricane Katrina rocked his world, a sweet-natured rescue dog named Boots has found a successful new life as a volunteer nanny for nervous kittens at an animal shelter run by the Arizona Humane Society.

Boots, now 12, found his own second home long ago, when he was adopted by a volunteer at the Arizona Humane Society in Phoenix. He was one of hundreds of pets who became separated from his family in the aftermath of the devastating New Orleans flood.

His owner discovered that the Zen-like calm of this golden retriever/chow mix had a happy effect even on the cats in her home. So now, Boots spends Wednesday mornings at the shelter, greeting incoming kittens and giving them a welcome snuggle.

The project is designed to increase the adoptability of the kittens by giving them “one day of positive playtime and socialization” with the…

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The American Flag: 13 Folds of Honor

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Fascinating post from Good Time Stories. This is information that few of us have but should know.

Originally posted on Good Time Stories:

Photo Credit: Beverly & Pack via CC Flickr Photo Credit: Beverly & Pack via CC Flickr

The history, rituals, and the customs of the United States Military has always fascinated and intrigues me. I hold in highest esteem and respect, all people who has sacrificed their time and/or their lives for their country.

A military tradition that has always been deeply moving to me, is watching the person of a fallen spouse or child, receive the folded American flag during a funeral ceremony.

I often wondered the story behind the folded flag. Why is it folded in that particular manner? What does each fold represent? What is the history behind it?

I recently read a short article on the internet site, Folds of Honor, which answered my questions. It is for this reason that I thought that this would be a great article to share with you. I hope that this story will enlighten and encourage your…

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Happy New Month……welcome to February and the rays of Purple!

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This is my birth month. Thank you, Purplerays, for the information that describes it.

Originally posted on Purplerays:

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The beginning of every month is an opportunity for reflection and rekindling of hopes and plans! A time for new dreams; a new dawn of sorts!
Like other months, February comes with its own myths, birthdays, observances, symbolisms, etc. The month is said to have derived its name from the Roman purification ritual Februa, which is observed on the 15th to approximately coincide with the old Roman calendar!
Perhaps, the most popular day in February is the 14th; Valentine’s Day! Initially celebrated as the Feast of Saint Valentine, it was a liturgical Christian Festival until about the 18th Century when it gradually became more of a celebration of romantic love! Today, it wears a rather subdued religious toga while, commercially, it is the next big event after the Christmas/New year Holiday!
Welcome to the month that swings in Purple:
February’s birth flower is Viola (the violet) and its birthstone Amethyst…

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Passing Memories of Old Hollywood

A friend mentioned the dearth of gossip columnists today, and brought up the name of Hedda Hopper. She was one of the top ones for years. A former actress,she found another more lucrative, certainly more powerful, career as a columnist. She could make or break a career. The first time I met her was with my father at her beautiful home. A new actress had come to town and Hedda had invited my father to meet her, especially for him to give her some sound publicity advice. She was Amanda Blake, a gorgeous redhead who was destined to become Miss Kitty of “Gunsmoke” years later.
My father sometimes escorted Hedda to see talent, and once in a while I, a teenager, went along. I remember her as being bright,extremely attractive(especially in those extravagant hats of hers),talkative, and amusing.After my father died of a massive heart attack in New York,Hedda wrote a lovely eulogy to him, and when she talked to me, years later when I was working for Desilu, was thoughtful and kind.I know a lot of celebrities feared her, but the side I saw was of a loyal friend to my father.
Before he was a publicist, my father had a radio show late at night in New York.After the Broadway stages fell dark, after the final evening performances, some of the stars would wander up to my father’s studio and relax….on the air. Jimmy Durante would play the piano while his wife sang.Tex Ritter, starring in”Green Grown the Lilacs” on Broadway, would play his guitar and sing.
Many years later, in Hollywood, my father and I spent some Sundays mornings for breakfast or out for dinner with Jimmy and his gang.However, I didn’t meet Tex Ritter until I was working with Stan Jones, the song writer/actor, when we went to the Ritters for an evening. Stan and Tex’s wife had gone to grammar school together in Arizona. When Stan introduced me to Tex and mentioned who my father had been, Tex just looked at me for a moment before saying,”Don’t ever forget your heritage. Your father was a wonderful man.” Young John had taken my daughter in hand for the evening, and they spent the time with his handicapped brother. My daughter still remembers how gentle and kind John was toward his brother, and how courteous he was towards her. He was a gentlemen even as a teenager, and his death was a terrible loss to both his family and the film industry.
All these people have passed on, but they still live in my memories

Cast Out Of The Flock

It is April of 2013, and I am on my way to the all-boys high school where I spend three days a week mentoring teachers. It is also the school where I have spent 37 years, 21 teaching English and Public Speaking to the seniors and 16 mentoring. I love my job working with the faculty and students. When I taught English, I was, as the parents said,”Tough but fair.” I taught their sons how to think, speak, and write to the college level so they would survive the next four years. One of the seniors at graduation said,”If you didn’t have Mrs. B for a class, then you never really went to this school.”
Now, this morning, I’m ready to sit in a classroom for an hour-and-a-half observing a history teacher and commenting on the pros and cons of the session. After that, I have an appointment with the Principal, and that changes my life. “This is the hardest conversation I have ever had,” he says. “There have been three strong women in my life who have helped me, and you’re one of them. Due to monetary concerns, we are terminating the position of Mentor Teacher.I know you don’t get a lot of money, but we need it.” I am aware they are letting people go, and I suspected I might be one of them, but it is still a blow. I take the high road, smile and have a conversation, and wish him luck as he is being transferred to another job. The hardest part is letting the faculty, many of whom I have either taught or mentored (or both) or known for years, know that I will not be back. They are shocked.
I notice the change of attitude towards me by the VP. He doesn’t notify me to work with the student who is going to give the commencement address, a kind of tradition that I have performed for the past 15 years. He also kiboshes an article in the newspaper that bids me a farewell. This is a man I have taught and worked amiably with as a colleague and administrator. When I ask for a letter of recommendation, he readily agrees, “Of course!” After the second request, I let it go. It is a letter I have yet to receive.
At the end- of- the- year faculty party, they present me with a plaque for my 37 years of service and a gift card for $100.
Everyone in administration acts as if I am retiring, ignoring the fact that I am losing l/3 of my income and cannot really afford to retire. The head counselor,with whom I have worked for many,many years, suggests I launch an online tutoring and editing service which, with the tremendous help from the campus minister, I do.
It is called theenglishprofessor.net and I am trying to get it off the ground.
I recently read in Jo Nesbo’s book, “The Leopard,” that “to be cast out of the flock…..it’s akin to being buried alive.” No one ever calls from school. I am aware, only too well, how busy they are with school and their own families. I understand they don’t have the time, but I still feel “buried alive.” It has taken me until now to accept the situation that I am no longer one of the flock. But, I am surrounded by the love of my daughter and friends, and that is all-important in my life. I’m trying to build my business of teaching people how to speak and write English well so they can succeed in their chosen careers. I’m good at it, and I love doing it.
For all of you who have ever felt “cast out of the flock,” remember there is another flock waiting to accept you. We have the good times and the not-so-good times, but what matters is that we remember who we are, what we have to give to others, and move on up and forward!