Back in the old days (Not GOOD old days!) the education that Bill and I and most of our contemporaries encountered was far different from the way things are now. Or, as my mother, Evie, would have said, “A white horse of a different color!)
Honors classes? Nope. Advanced placement classes? None of those either. The smart kids, the not so smart kids, and the really not smart kids all ended up stuck in the same classroom, doing the same work. Surprisingly enough, the smart kids usually finished their assignments early leaving them free to get into all kinds of mischief. Passing notes with a straightened out clothes hanger in the back of Miss Stammer’s fifth grade classroom? Yup, Patsy McAdams and Judy Busk, guilty as charged.
So the problem became what to do with those pesky smart kids while the ones, who really needed the help, were getting it. In order to keep from having to demote the bottom of the class, the teachers found a strategy to deal with the top part of the class—remote those kids, as in send them elsewhere.
For Bill, that meant being drafted to paint holiday windows around his grade school and to design and paint sets for school drama productions. During seventh and eighth grade, I spent very little time in actual classrooms. In seventh grade, I went from classroom to classroom every morning collecting the attendance sheets and taking them back to the principal’s office. In eighth grade, though, I hit the big kahuna and got sent to the library!!
There were books on the shelves in the library, but there was no librarian on staff. What they had was me. Teachers would accompany their pupils into the library where they would return their books and check out more. My job was to check ‘em in and check ‘em out, complete with check-out cards and a changeable date stamp for the due date record in the book. When the class left, I shelved the books. It was almost a part time job. Greenway school was K-8 at that point, with two classes per grade level. That was a lot of checking in and out.
There was no such things as a card catalog. Books were shelved in alphabetical order, regular books on one side of the room; picture books on the other. Then there was the Billy Caldwell section. That one was also alphabetical, but it was mostly bare. Billy was a sickly kid who loved reading and who died when he was in sixth or seventh grade. In lieu of flowers, people were asked to donate to a fund to buy books for the library. With that money in hand, Mrs. Caldwell, without consulting any educators, went out and bought a whole bunch of books that kids actually LIKED!! What a concept! She filled those shelves with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and Cherry Ames and the Bobbsey Twins. I never read them, but I’m pretty sure there were also some Tom Swifts!
Occasionally, someone would come along with a box of books to donate. What did I do? I put card pockets and date due slips in them and put them on the shelves. Some of them weren’t exactly appropriate. The one I’m thinking of right now, which I read cover, was entitled, “Honeymoon for Seven.” It was about two single parents getting together and blending families.
Divorce was, to quote my mother again, “scarce as hen’s teeth” in those days, so the book was pretty risqué reading for someone who was fourteen. I’m pretty sure I read the book in the library rather than checking it out and taking back to the classroom or, worse, home where Evie would have seen it. As I was doing my steps this morning thinking about the blog, it occurred to me that maybe that book was the original source material for what would later become the Brady Bunch. But I digress.
In 1985, when Bill and I married, he had three kids and I had two. We didn’t take anyone along on the honeymoon, but even at the time, I remembered the title of that long ago book and realized that, without knowing it, I had been reading fiction and also glimpsing my future.
Fast forward to last weekend’s wedding in 2017. The groom, our son and a single dad, came to this second marriage with three adult daughters, a son-in-law, and a bun in the oven. The bride, Kathleen, has four sons, all but two of them mostly raised. The eldest has a longtime serious girlfriend. That’s eleven people minimum.
The lovely ceremony was conducted by my long time friend, Bishop Mary Ann Swenson who flew up from California to officiate. (Yes, there’s a definite connection between my friend Bishop Swenson, and Joanna Brady’s friend, the Reverend Marianne Maculyea, but that’s another story for another time.)
The garden was lush and beautiful. Thanks to our caterers, Seasoned in Seattle, the food was great. It was warm, but not nearly as blazingly hot as it could have been or even as it’s going to be later today.
All in all, high marks all around. The day after the ceremony, everyone in the newly blended family trucked over to a spend a couple of days at a house in Ocean Shores. Bill’s and Kathleen’s honeymoon for twelve certainly tops our paltry honeymoon for seven.
Next up? That’s the grandkids’ call. Let’s see if they can top that!
Here I am with egg all over my face. AFTER I published the blog entitled The Word of the Day is Novella, the marketing people in NY made the unilateral decision that there wouldn’t BE a mass market edition of the novella, Still Dead after all.
So for this one, my readers are stuck with either an e-book, the downloadable audio, or else waiting until Proof of Life comes out in paperback, way down the road. Sorry, sorry, sorry.