…is 20/20 in the rear-view mirror

     Hello again, I know it has been  what has seemed like a lifetime since my last post. I have no perfect excuse for not writing; however I will try a couple of classics for life’s procrastination:


Anyone who knows me, knows this isn’t true…I am always doing something! 

The Dog Ate IT

This could work if I were 9 and owned a dog.

     With the excuses out-of-the-way, let’s move forward with the post.

I am teaching math and science this year to both 4th and 5th grade students. I enjoy both subjects, but math is my favorite…thank you Sister Alice*, CSJ and Sister Ellen*, SSND, both were tough, but excellent teachers of all things algebraic and “trigonometrical” ( yes, a made up word).

About one month into this school year, I was getting ready to proceed with some direct instruction for one of my math groups. Students who are seated further away from the whiteboard screen have a sticker on their desk which means they have the option of moving to flexible seating before this instruction begins. While this transition was taking place, a young man whose desk does not have a sticker on it proceeded to sit in one of the more coveted seats.

You can clearly see why they all want to sit on this furniture. I sewed slip covers last summer from remnants and samples. I painstakingly stitched both  our school mascot, the chanticleer, and our school’s monogram on those pillows. Yes, those are the Beatles on that chair.

The students began to complain…“Hank*, your desk doesn’t have a sticker on it. You can’t move.”

As you can see, we have many bosses in my class. Anyway, I did not immediately ask Hank to move, rather I listened to the discourse, before acting.

Hank was quick to respond to his bosses peers, “No, I can sit here. I have been to the eye doctor and he told me to move forward. I am going to be getting glasses.”

Finally, I chimed in, “Hank, I didn’t know you needed to sit closer to the board. I am so sorry, you should have said something sooner.

Hank then proceeded to tell us he had been diagnosed as “foresighted”. I could not help, but chuckle and quickly requested the evening’s lottery numbers. Hank was a good sport when I explained the difference between foresight and farsightedness. I decided not to break it to Hank, but I’m also pretty sure that farsighted means it is more difficult to see things when you are closer to what is being viewed. We still laugh about it to this day and I have yet to see a pair of glasses on Hank.

Fast forward to this past week….

I have been going through the suitcase of letters my parents wrote to each other in the years leading up to their marriage in 1945. Mostly, I have been organizing according to date as the letters are quite lengthy. In addition, there are cards and letters from other family members (some written in French, my father’s first language…which I am attempting to translate). This is a slow process. This past Wednesday, which happened to be Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday, I was unable to sleep so I got out of bed and decided to go through more of the letters. I came across the Valentine’s Day Card, my father sent to my mother in 1945. It was so sweet to see it, also there was a letter dated February 14, 1945. I took a photo of it and sent it to my siblings.

When I came home from school on Wednesday evening to the news of another school shooting. I found myself feeling nauseous because I am often fearful that although we practice for these types of scenarios in some ways I do feel helpless.  I turned off the news as I couldn’t watch the heartbreak and despondency as this is always too close to home. I rested the remote on the end table and noticed I left the card and letter I had taken a photo of sitting where I had left it in the morning. I decided to read my father’s letter to my mother.

It seems I may need to apologize to my student, Hank because being foresighted may be an actual diagnosis. In this lovely letter to my mother, just a little over two months away from their wedding date, my father wrote that he believed that they would someday make cute babies (they went on to make seven cute babies). He also wrote of picturing how much fun it would be fussing over these little miracles of life.

The first two miracles he fussed over… the Family Matriarch and Susan… twelve months apart.

He went on to say…”we might spoil them, but with our principles…and with those we learn in our way of life will make them pretty good living citizens.”  

My father had foresight.  He spoiled us as much as a man could with love, patience, and principles. We are “good living citizens”.

This photo from 1994….my Milkman father and his Sweetheart, surrounded by their cute babies.

Happy Presidents Day!

*names changed to protect the innocent.




  1. Kelly L McKenzie says:

    Oh, Beemie, your students are so fortunate to have you as their teacher. I love how you let them dispute Hank’s choice of seating without barging in and also how you chuckled over his “farsightedness.” My twin nieces (now 35) and I still giggle over the time one of them caused their teacher to lose it in French class. Instead of saying in French “It’s a lovely thing” my niece said very earnestly, “I’m so very pretty” and the teacher burst out laughing. She couldn’t stop for minutes. Love that.
    And your classroom seating is incredible. Seriously.
    As for the horrible events of this Valentine’s Day, there are no words. May you NEVER, EVER be faced with anything remotely like it.
    When you’re next awake at night going through your folks’ letters, think of me. Chances are, I’m awake, too!

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