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My humorous thoughts about life.

"My Humorous Thoughts About Life & Teaching"
Showing posts with label memory. Show all posts
Showing posts with label memory. Show all posts

Monday, April 18, 2011

Oops! Oliver--The Class Pet #AtoZ

Erica in First Grade (left) & her Best Friend Leah
When my littlest one was in the first grade, she was most honored to be chosen by her teacher to take Oliver the Parakeet home for Spring Vacation. So, we gathered up the little bird, cage and all, and carried him to the most frightening experience of his short life. 

Once we arrived at home, we set his cage on a kitchen counter where he happily chirped while perched on his wooden rod. My son, finding Oliver interesting, opened the cage to pet his furry head while I was engrossed in a phone conversation. Seeing a chance at freedom, Oliver flew out of his prison and lapped the kitchen. 

As the loose bird soared, my children tried to cup him in their hands, but no, children's paws are not good for capturing birds. To trap a bird, it takes a professional; it takes a golden retriever. That's right. Snap! Our dog Swaz thought he was helping by catching little Oliver in his toothy jaws.

I dropped the phone, let out a panic scream, and ascended on the bird-catching furball to pry his thick jaws open. Oliver fell out of the Swaz's dark mouth and landed on the floor. I picked up the slobber-soaked bird and placed his shaking body back in the cage.

Oliver didn't sing anymore. Not his high-pitched flute sounds nor deep-pitched oboe; not country, rock, or rap. He just hugged the wall of the kitchen and shook like a schizo. Every time our dog sniffed or even passed the cage, he squeezed even closer to his corner, shook harder, and his beady bird eyes grew as large as ping pong balls. Okay, they stayed small and beady, but he was scared.

Finally the day came for Erica to bring Oliver back to school and share her journal about Oliver's week. The shocking truth proved a bit of an embarrassment, especially when Oliver mysteriously kicked the bucket over the summer. I think it was heart failure from plaguing nightmares of sharp teeth. RIP, Oliver.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lost in France #AtoZ

As a child, I was fortunate to attend thirteen years at one of the best public school districts in the country--Clayton in St. Louis, Missouri. This city of predominately wealthy retirees allowed us few young folks to bask in the privileges of their high tax dollars. The school supplied us with pencils and art supplies, we received free swimming lessons at the high school natatorium, and had the opportunity to go on amazing field trips.

When I was in the eighth grade, I took a field trip to Paris, France for a week with seven other students and my poor French teacher. This was one of the most amazing experiences of my childhood, but unfortunately, the last time Ms. Silberg took a class out of the country.

The nightmare began at Notre Dame Cathedral shortly before Easter. My friend Judy picked up a spray of holy leaves that she carried through the paved area in front of the church. A stranger stopped us to ask Judy where she'd gotten her holy weeds. Having only studied French for a year and a half, it took us awhile to translate what exactly the gentleman was saying and figure out how to answer him. By the time we finished talking to the stranger, something one should never do, the class had disappeared. 

We wandered throughout the grounds of Notre Dame looking for our teacher and classmates, but no luck. Not to worry. Knowing we were smart, fearless kids, we'd just jump on the subway and get off at our stop, Bastille. Unfortunately, we did not know that there were two Bastille stops, and of course, we jumped train at the wrong one. So, we were forced to wander the subways shouting, "Parlez vous Anglais?" to any passing stranger.
One woman stopped to tell us, "Yes. I speak English," but she looked totally frazzled when we spat out our predicament in a language that she just thought she spoke. This was surprising because it seemed like many of the French speak English. For example, at another part of the trip, we tried to get off at our subway stop but found ourselves blocked by a rather large passenger. 

We said, "Excuse-moi! Pardon!" but the woman wouldn't budge until Laura said, "Move it, lady!" See! An English speaker.

Anyway, we wandered the Paris subways for two hours and amazingly found our way back with the help of a woman from North Carolina who spoke both languages. By the time we reached our dorm, the teacher's hair shot out in every direction, her nails were chewed off, and she didn't know whether to hug us or slap us. Sorry Miss Silberg!
Oh mon Dieu! by E. Lansky

Tune in tomorrow when I tackle the letter M and my amazingly ridiculous moving situation.