Category Archives: SCHOOL WORK

Stories about working in a Public School.

The Statler Brothers: “The Class of ’57”

Hi Friends:

With this song, the Statler Brothers were awarded the 1972 Grammy Award for “Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.”

Released in August, 1972, “The Class of ’57” was written by Don Reid and Harold Reid, and was the first single from the album “Country Music Then and Now.”

The Statler Brothers are:
Harold Reid, Phil Balsley, Jimmy Fortune and Don Reid.

The group retired from concerts and tours in 2002.

Here are the words:

The Class of ‘57
(Don Reid / Harold Reid)

Tommy’s selling used cars
Nancy’s fixing hair
Harvey runs a grocery store
And Margaret doesn’t care
Jerry drives a truck for Sears
And Charlotte’s on the make
Paul sells life insurance and part time real estate
Helen is a hostess
Frank works at the mill
Janet teaches grade school, and probably always will
Bob works for the city
And Jack’s in lab research
Peggy plays organ at the Presbyterian Church

And the class of ’57 had its dreams
We all thought we’d change the world with our great works & deeds
Or maybe we just thought the world would change to fit our needs
The class of ’57 had its dreams

Betty runs a trailer park
Jan sells Tupperware
Randy’s on an insane ward
And Mary’s on welfare
Charlie took a job at Ford
Joe took Freddie’s wife
Charlotte took a millionaire
And Freddie took his life
Johnny’s big in cattle
Ray is deep in debt
Where Mavis finally wound up is anybody’s bet
Linda married Sonny
Brenda married me
And the class of all of us is just part of history

And the class of ’57 had its dreams
But living life day-to-day
Is never like it seems
Things get complicated when you get past eighteen
But the class of ’57 had its dreams

The class of ’57 had its dreams
We all thought we’d change the world with our great work & deeds.
Or maybe we just thought the world would change to fit our needs.
The class of ’57 had its dreams.

Songwriters: Don Reid / Harold Reid

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Graduation: Three in Six Days: Introduction to “Class of ’57”

Hi Friends:

This started as a short introduction to the Statler Brothers’ song, written by Don Reid and Harold Reid, “The Class of ’57.”
I hadn’t planned on writing much … but here we go …

This will serve as an introduction to the video, which we’ll feature next time …

Somehow, I feel comfort when I think that I wasn’t even born in 1957, but the words from this popular Statler Brothers song continue to ring true today:

“We all thought we’d change the world
With our great works & deeds
Or maybe we just thought the world
Would change to fit our needs
The class of ’57 had its dreams”

I’ve been a “ticketed” guest at 3 different High School Graduation ceremonies in one week, at 3 separate, very different venues. 3 in 6 days. That’s one every two days.
I’ve witnessed speeches, marches, and the look of fear, anticipation, gratitude, joy, and excitement, with tassels being turned, and caps thrown into the air.

I’ve seen the pride and joy, that look of accomplishment, of a student who would be the first in their family to graduate High School.
I’ve also looked into the eyes of a student who had just been told that they would not be graduating …
The first place they came was to the Library …

I’ll never forget last Friday, when a group of graduates, as they saw me arrive, began shouting my name, running up as a group to hug me … It was exactly the same scene I had, a few years ago, when I walked into a local McDonald’s, and as I walked from the side entrance, through the restaurant, to the front counter, I passed a group of tables … where a group of my students (now, this was K-2), having “lunch at Summer camp,” saw me, and … there is no better word to describe it … they mobbed me … screaming my name as they ran up, surrounded me, and, literally, “jumped on me” …
You just don’t forget those moments.

By the way … and, all teachers know this:
When you teach K-2, and you see a student at Wal-Mart, they mob you.
When you teach High School, and you see a student at Wal-Mart … they ignore you … like they’ve never seen you before …

This past Monday, in another city, a pretty long drive, I was there to witness the Graduation of a student who had worked for me in the Library at the High School … first, as an internship, then, on a volunteer basis … The traffic in town was incredible, and I finally found a place to park. The only chairs available were at the back of the assembly, which was great, because, the Graduates entered the large hall from the back entrance, just behind me. As they slowly, step-by step, made their way up the aisle, I was turned around to see each Graduate as they “entered” the Main Hall area … I will never forget the look on this young man’s face, as he entered the “staging area” directly behind me … As he stepped into view … He saw me there on the back row … I’ll just never … ever … forget the huge smile that erupted from his face, as he realized I was there …

This young man had made a special trip to our High School, a couple of months before, to present me with the “ticket” to attend the ceremony … I, nor he, had any idea that he would be presented/awarded with an award at Graduation, that is the highest honor a Graduate could receive … in honor of Public Service … His Mother was a featured guest speaker at the Ceremony … His “sash” had the “USAF” banner … I was so proud of him … The photos of me and him, as he displayed his “Raymond Burton” Award, in full “cap and gown,” with the “USAF” sash draped across his shoulders, was one of the proudest moments of my life … eclipsed only by the opportunity to take several photos of him and his Mother … with her camera! I’ll just never forget that …

Then, on Friday, our High School had our Graduation ceremony.
More memories:
The young lady who sang the National Anthem, and whom I have written about in a previous post (I’m so proud of her!), practiced the Anthem … just outside the Library door … that is one picture I’ll always treasure …

I was able to fulfill a promise to another young man who had interned … and then volunteered … to help me in the Library this year. He is a proud member of the United States National Guard, and I had promised, if he would stop by, before Graduation, to take pictures of him (and us together) in his “Dress Blues,” which he proudly wore underneath his Graduation robe. He had just received his “PFC” ranking, and with his Insignia Pin, Award Medal, and sash proudly displaying “National Guard,” we were able to take his picture … and … which meant so much … “our” picture, in the Library …

I saw so many students … maybe, let’s be honest … I may have been seeing for the last time … who have helped me, on a volunteer basis, in the Library.
So many who just loved to stop by and visit …
So many … many students … maybe, let’s be honest … I may have been seeing for the last time …

It’s not that I may have meant much to them … that I may have influenced and affected their lives …
It’s how profoundly they have influenced and affected my life.
That they did … and do … mean so much to me.

As I saw the “caps and gowns” of some I have known since they were just “kids,”
I didn’t feel any older.
I felt prouder.

“And the class of ’57 had its dreams
But living life day-to-day
Is never like it seems
Things get complicated when you get past eighteen
But the class of ’57 had its dreams”

Blessings,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Quote: “Ready or Not, the Future Will Come”

Hi Friends:

I wanted to share this quote from a soon-to-be graduating Senior at our local High School.

One of our televisions in the Library is always tuned to a news channel, so current events are always “on display” for patrons to view, and, often, to share their thoughts about.
Today, like all days, the news was on, and, like always, we hear comments like “What’s this world coming to?” Or, concerns about “What’s going to happen next?” Needless to say, world political events, and especially the United States’ part in them, are always at the forefront of discussion, especially among adults.

I guess these are the same questions that mankind has had, to a certain degree, always. And, to a certain degree, “always” will have.

For a Senior graduating High School, getting ready to “step out there” for the first time, it does give a different angle to “all things become new.” I sensed the apprehension this young man had, as he contemplated the future … especially his future. We spoke about this, and then, “from out of nowhere,” seemingly grasping wisdom well beyond his years, he said this:

“The Future is going to come faster than you think it will.
The only thing is, “Are you prepared for it?”
Because only you can make your future become reality.
Everyone else can only help you from the sidelines.
Remember:
The future is going to come, whether you are ready or not.”

Wealth Stored for the Righteous-Part 19: “I Can Read!”

Hi Friends:
As the author of the continuing series “Wealth Stored for the Righteous,” I am always thinking about things we are blessed with, yet seem, so often, to take for granted.

Only recently, while in prayer, I “just happened to remember” that I was thankful for … the ability to read … What a tremendous blessing, just to be able to pick up a book, a piece of paper, see a sign or billboard … and, be able to read all of the words. What a blessing this is. Even as I prayed, thankfully, for this ability and gift, I was surprised how seldom I had actually, physically, said “thank you” for this ability and gift.

Eventually, we’ll get to the “Freedom of the Press” we enjoy in this country (which so many around the world don’t have), but, for now, I’m just thankful that I can read.

I’m thankful that I was raised to appreciation the written word. To appreciation books. And, to appreciation authors. In fact, I can remember spending many, many hours with my brothers and sisters playing the card game of “Authors.” Remember that game? I’ll try to remember to write an “I Remember” feature story on the game.

Once again, I find myself being thankful for the way I was raised.

It’s true: Parents who read have children who read. Parents who love books will have children who love books.
Yes, you could say the same thing about prayer, but, for now, the emphasis is on the example set by parents, to instill within their children the love of books, and of reading.

Could the following just be a coincidence?
Is it a coincidence that my first side job, after moving to the North Country, was at the College Bookstore?
Is it a coincidence that, after earning my Degree in Theology, I would earn Certification as a Library Media Specialist?
Is it a coincidence that, just today, I left the High School Library, traveled to another Library, and discussed “Library” for 3 hours?
Is it a coincidence that all of my siblings also have large book collections?
Is it a coincidence that these same siblings buy and sell used books, and I consider them to be experts in finding valuable books?
The list goes on and on, but I’ll just add this one:
Many writers, and other public figures, name their homes.
Before moving to the North Country (an operation we code-named “Operation Iceberg”), we named our home “Destiny.”
Yes, Destiny.
Do you know what our School Library Inventory/Collection Management Program/System is called?
Destiny.

By the way, my Beloved Sister had one of the largest collections of books I’ve ever seen. Among my most prized possessions are many of those books, tucked away, yes, but still I have them … has it been that long ago??? … I still have those books, and, sometimes, I’ll open up one of the totes, get out a book, yes, smell the pages, check out the pages for all of those passages she had underlined, and made “side-notes” beside … and … and … just clutch them … hold them … lovingly … tenderly … to my chest … I may not actively read them, but I will always have them … I will always have them …

There are so many quotes about the importance of books, both to the individual, and to society as a whole.
The same can be said about the value of reading.
I’ll mention just one, and, even though it’s so obvious, either I couldn’t remember who first said it, or it was just an original quote I thought I had first come up with:
“Readers are Leaders.” I’ve used this for years, even to the point of printing bookmarks with this quote on it.
After researching this quote, I found a longer version from President Harry S. Truman:
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”

I don’t remember hearing this quote before, and, just now, located the source. While not remembering if I’d ever heard the original quote or not, I do know this: While reading several “self-help/self-improvement/inspirational-motivational books, I did learn that one quality which all successful men share, is that they are readers. So, that must have been where I got the idea, first, for my “short-quote.”

Again, this is not, necessarily, about books, the right or wrong kind of books … just the fact that it is such a blessing to be able to have the ability to read, and, having just this one ability, can lead to so much further blessing, understanding, and action.

So, as I researched this, I did the Google Search:
“What percentage of the world’s population can read?”

The number is somewhere around 80%. That sounds, on the surface, really good. However (why is there always an “however?), this still means that there are well over 700 Million people around the world who can’t read. Closer to home, I also learned that over 32 Million Americans can’t read. There are a lot of statistics out there, but I was especially troubled by a statistic I read that stated that around 80% of US families did not buy a book in the last year.

By the way, yes, I do enjoy audio books. Especially if they are “dramatized versions.” Just thought I’d throw that in. In fact, at some point, the plan is to produce our own audio books.
I am asked, often, how I personally feel about Digital Books. For simplicity, let’s call them “Kindle” Books.

I can appreciate their purpose, and understand why so many people enjoy them. The “night light,” the fact that they can change (meaning to enlarge) the size of the print, and they can carry an entire Library on one, small device.

However (there’s that word again), I guess I’m just from the Old School. I love the smell of the pages. I love the feel of the book. I love turning the pages. I love placing the bookmark, closing the book, and, lovingly, placing the book where I can see it … looking forward to the next time I can get back to it. I love the smell of the pages (I may have already written that). I have even noticed that the smell of the pages have changed over time. The other day, I was going through a collection of books from the 1960’s and 70’s, and, well, of course, I brought the book up to my face, thumbed through the pages at “nose-length,” and … just the memories it brought back.

I really love the Bible on … on … let’s just say, “Audio Bible.” I was going to write “Bible on Tape,” or “Bible on Cassette,” but many of our audience may not know what that is. I even have Sermons on LP/Album/Record … but, I won’t go there, for the same reason.

Here’s a short rhyme I just got:
“God’s Word is meant to be heard.”
Of course, I agree … but, it is also meant to be read.
Pray More.
Study More.
Be More.

A final thought about Digital Bibles: There are many places where someone would be arrested, even killed, for reading a Bible in public. However … in these places, digital Bibles can be read, without anyone noticing. This is a large ministry, worldwide, in those nations (so many, many of them) which are hostile/dangerous to Christians.

Once again, I remind that this is not about freedom, necessarily, but the ability to, read. I’m thinking that that’s something “they can’t take away.”

You know how you’ll go to the Mall, and everyone splits up … to meet again in, like, 3 hours?
I’m the one, who, 3 hours later … is still at the Book Store.
Just drop me off at the Book Store … I’m not ashamed of that. In fact, I’m proud of that.
To hold a book.
To smell a book.
To carry a book into the Repair Shop, and not worry about “how long it takes.”
I’m not ashamed of that. I’m proud of that.
I can read.

Oh … okay … there is one more quote I’d like to share with you. I even have this on a tee shirt, hanging behind me, at the Library.
It is a quote from Mark Twain, and I write it now, from memory:
“The man who does not read good books, has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”

I am so blessed … just to have the ability to read. I thank God that “I can read!”
Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

Here’s a direct link to the entire series so far:
Wealth Stored for the Righteous

 

Remembering, Honoring, and Thinking: “The Wall” by Eve Bunting

Several years ago, this book was the “Book of the Month” that was shared with all of the students at our Elementary School. Each month, there would be a particular “character trait” focused upon, and a book was shared with the students, which featured that trait “in action.”

I’ve been wanting to share this video with you for a long time. It is a video performance/narration of the book, which was written by Eve Bunting, and illustrated by Richard Himler. Unique to this video performance was the addition of historical video footage, interspersed throughout the book, giving an overview of the War in Vietnam.

The Children’s Book “The Wall” tells of a young boy and his father, who have traveled to Washington, DC to see the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. They have come to find the name of the boy’s grandfather, his dad’s father. As the father and son look for the grandfather’s name, they meet others who are visiting the memorial. They see flowers, letters, flags, and personal keepsakes that have been left at the wall. Finally, they find the name they are looking for.

Eve Bunting was born December 19, 1928, in Northern Ireland. She, her husband, and children immigrated to the United States in 1958. Eve Bunting has written more than 250 books, from novels to picture books, covering a wide array of subjects, both fiction and non-fiction. She has a rare gift for writing about serious, important subjects in a way that even young children can understand.

Indeed, Eve Bunting’s work has the ability to touch hearts of all ages.

I had wanted to share this, and wanted to wait, until a time came when we, as a nation, are not currently engaged in a war. I don’t know if such a time will come. I do know that there is never a day which dawns over our Free Country, in which we should not take the time to honor those who have served our nation, given their lives for our nation, and are serving this nation … right now.
Every day we should “Remember, Honor … and, Think.”

Here’s a link to a current list of all of Eve Bunting’s books, from the FantasticFiction Website:

Please enjoy the video presentation of the book “The Wall,” written by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Richard Himler:

 

Notes on the Numbers: Civil War

Hi Friends:

I was doing research on another war, when I ran into the statistics for the United States Civil War, and in relation, the statistics for the Battle of Gettysburg. I’ll share these below.

This year, I have decided to study the history of one country, a different country each day, in an effort to better understand what is going on, and has been going on, throughout the world. I have concentrated my studies on countries which restrict religious freedom, and in particular, countries where religious persecution is a part of everyday life, every day, today.

On this issue of “civil war” and internal “conflicts,” it is almost impossible to find a country which hasn’t experienced involvement in war, and I’ve found, equally difficult (almost impossible), to find a country which hasn’t experienced a “civil war” at some point in their history.

We may all agree on the idea of the definition of “civil war,” as meaning “battles among fellow citizens or within a community.” I researched to see when the exact phrase “civil” first came into use. Early use typically was in reference to ancient Rome. Indeed, the Latin term “bellum civile” was first used of the Roman civil wars of the 1st century BC. The English term “civil war” was first used in 1651 to refer to the English Civil War.

I have found it very difficult to find current (2017) figures for wars and civil wars happening right now, around the globe. Most of the online information, for “total numbers” is not up-to-date, but you can get a clearer picture if you research a particular country. There are so few countries not involved, in one way or another, in a conflict, that the list of “countries not engaged in war activity” is really, really, really small. There are also so many countries with internal conflicts, civil wars, that the individual numbers are staggering.

However, there may be no greater current example of “war-torn” than what is happening in the country of Syria. Since 2011, hundreds of thousands have lost their lives in Syria. This, sadly, is just an example of what is happening in countries, “over there.” I read about Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. I see the photographs of refugee camps across the globe. And, see the children. As a teacher, in a public School, I am surrounded by so many who take for granted a free education, and the opportunities which surround them. Just going to School, having a family, being able to shop, work, and travel … just having a future that, and understand the context, is “within their control” … puts them so far ahead of so much of the population of the world. So many … I see, every day … have had no church or “religious” experience … so, the thought of the value of “religious freedom” is pretty far down the list.

Then … I think … it’s not just the kids, is it?
Is it?

That take freedom for granted. That don’t know, and, let’s face it (with sad honesty) don’t care what’s happening over there … or … really … what’s happening “over here” … I see so many, who live in this country … with all of their freedoms … yet, their lives … already … are “messed up.”
How true: No Jesus, No Peace. Know Jesus, know Peace.

“There is nothing civil about war.”
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

As I survey the situation around the world … and look around … at my surroundings … Here I am, worried about a little snow in April …Man … we don’t know … we don’t understand what “messed up” is …

Even getting the actual figures for the Civil War is not that easy. Each list I’ve found, and I’ve looked at many, all seem to have different numbers. The numbers may not all match, from different accounts, but they all, regardless if they differ in number and amount, all show how devastating a Civil War can be. And, show the cost of war. As we look at the war-torn footage from around the globe, think of how we looked, “over here,” just 150 years ago.

Here’s the list from the “bookshelf blog.” Again, every list I saw, had different numbers, but I felt this was a fair representation. Keep in mind that the “American Civil War” is the second most written about subject in human history.

And, also note, that even this list was compiled in 2013, almost 4 years ago:

July 1, 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, fought between July 1-3 in 1863. The battle is notable for several reasons: many historians recognize it as a turning point in the bitterly fought Civil War, it was one of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War (the highest casualties sustained in a single day of any U.S. war), and the cemetery at the battle’s site, the Soldiers’ National Cemetery, was immortalized by Abraham Lincoln’s brief but poetic dedication on November 19, 1863. The battle’s ferocity and short-lived intensity captured the imagination and interest of historians and war buffs for generations. Bibliographers have estimated that more than 65,000 books have been written about the Civil War — and perhaps up to 50% of those are on the Battle of Gettysburg alone. Bookshelf presents some of the notable numbers behind this legendary battle:

Number of deaths at Gettysburg: 51,112
Total number of deaths during Civil War: 620,000
Total number of casualties in Civil War: 1.5 million (620,000 killed; 476,000 wounded; 400,00 captured/missing)
Comparison to number of deaths in other U.S. wars: Revolutionary War – 16,000; WWI – 116,000; WWII – 405,000; Vietnam – 58,000 (If Civil War were fought today, there would be more than 6 million deaths
Rate of death for soldiers: 25%
Population of Gettysburg (before battle): 2,400
Population of U.S. in 1863: 33.4 million
Percentage of the loss: .15% of total U.S. population; .3% of all males
Civilians killed: 1 (Jenny Wade, a resident)
Generals killed: 9 (out of 120)
Horses killed: 3,000
Average age of soldier: 25 (age range 12-80)
Occupation of soldiers: 50% of Union soldiers and 75% of Confederates were farmers
Number of African-American soldiers: about 1,000
Range of weapons: rifles – 1,200 feet; muskets – 375 feet; cannon – 1-1.5 miles
Monthly salary: Private – $210; Colonel – $3,420; General – $5,390
Estimated wartime cost of Civil War: $2.3 billion
Comparison to cost of other U.S. wars: Revolutionary War – $100-140 million; War of 1812 – $1.5 million; WWI – 23.7 billion; WWII – 260 billion; Vietnam War – 140.6 billion
Number of Civil War soldiers buried at Gettysburg: 3,706
Number of words in Abraham Lincoln’s speech: 272
Number of words in Edward Everett’s speech: 13,607

Here’s a direct link to this list:
BOOKSHELF BLOG

 

Email Classic: “Prospective Teacher”

After being interviewed by the school administration, the prospective teacher said:

“Let me see if I’ve got this right.
You want me to go into that room with all those kids,
correct their disruptive behavior,
observe them for signs of abuse,
monitor their dress habits,
censor their T-shirt messages,
and instill in them a love for learning.

You want me to check their backpacks for weapons,
wage war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases,
and raise their sense of self-esteem and personal pride.

You want me to teach them patriotism and good citizenship,sportsmanship and fair play,
and how to register to vote,
balance a checkbook,
and apply for a job.

You want me to check their heads for lice,
recognize signs of antisocial behavior,
and make sure that they all pass the final exams.

You also want me to provide them with an equal education regardless of their handicaps or race,
and communicate regularly with their parents in
English, Zulu, or any other language, by letter, telephone, newsletter, and report card.

You want me to do all this with a piece of chalk,
a blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books,
a big smile, and a starting salary that qualifies me for food stamps.

You want me to do all this, and then you tell me …
I CAN’T PRAY?