Archive for School Days

If An Athlete Gets Athletes Foot, What Does A Snowmen Get?

This afternoon, after picking my new-battery installed car from the theatre, I went to the school to watch the dress rehearsal of Alex and Alyssa’s Elementary Christmas program.  I just found out about it this morning and since I am otherwise engaged this evening, I thought I would go and lend an ear.  The program was divided up into two adorable musical revues.  The K-2 portion featured close to 90 little ones in a show entitled The Incredible Reindeer.  It seems that an asteroid is hurtling straight toward the North Pole which will not only wipe out the planet but will cancel Christmas.  Enter a quartet of super-powered reindeer: Lightspeed, Mighty Moose, Laser, and Robodeer.  Will the heroes save the day and who will lead the sleigh through the murky fog with Rudolph out with a cold?

The second half was an American Idol parody entitled North Pole Star.  The eight reindeer were the contestants with the host and three celebrity judges: Santa and Mrs. C, and the obligatory Simon stand in (sorry did not catch the name).  The audience got into the act by voting for their favorite on a ballot sheet.  Personally, I thought Comet the Comic was the most talented, but once again I was not in the majority.

The shows were really cute little ones standing in front of the microphone delivering their short lines. I was impressed with many of the older kids’ solos, not bad for the age group.  I remember the program my 5th grade year, the masterpiece that is Santa and the Snowmobile.

Toboggan… t-o-b-o-g-g-a-n

Just found out that my nephew, Joshua came in second place in his school’s spelling bee putting him on the next step to the National Bee.  As you might have guessed, he misspelled toboggan.  As his father so eloquently pointed out, Joshua did not inherit his spelling and grammar skills from him.  Definitely his math and computer knowledge.

I just am curious as to when they started taking the top two finalists on to the next level.  I would have progressed not only my 8th grade year but at least my 5th grade year when the champion and I went back and forth until I finally incorrectly spelled illegible. My sixth grade year, I had an unfortunate slip of the tongue when I put a g in pajamas (still remember that).  I do not remember how far I got my 7th grade year nor do I remember the word I won on my 8th grade year… go figure.

Anyway… good luck Joshua in January.

If You Are A Happy Green Grape And You Know It

This morning, after she got out of preschool, my four-year old niece brought home a song to sing called “I Wish I Were A Juicy Green Grape.” Sydney ran to me and asked me to sing it.   It is set to the tune of “If You’re Happy And You Know It.”  Really, the exercise in song parody was not an easy one.  My dad kept trying and sounded like he was singing The Oscar Meyer weiner song.  See if you can make the melody fit the words”

OH, I wish I were a juicy green grape.

OH, I wish I were a juicy green grape.

When squeeze me

I will squirty

Onto everyone’s shirty

Oh, I wish I were a juicy green grape.

Of course, this presupposes that you know the tune and words of “If You’re Happy and You Know It.”  In elementary school, I remember having such an exercise in which I came up with a parody of “White Christmas” entitled “(I’m Dreaming of a) Cheese Pizza.”  How adorable.

Another Thespian In The Family?

On Tuesday nights, my niece Elizabeth and nephew Noah come to the house while their older brother is taken to Boy Scouts.  Last night after returning from rehearsal, I asked Elizabeth when her school play is going to be.  I never got the dates but I remember last year’s was sometime in November.  I was able to drag out that she has the title role in Mulan, Junior.  I was excited for her and even had to ask again to make sure I heard correctly.  How awesome is that?!  I asked if Joshua got a part… forgetting that he is too old to be in the 4th and 5th grade show.

I must admit… and I don’t know why… but I have never seen the movie.  It must have been because I lost track of Disney movies in the years following The Lion King up until Pixar joined the studio with Toy Story.  I do remember that Lea Salonga was the title voice with Donny Osmond and Eddie Murphy also voicing roles.

Another aspect of Elizabeth that amazes me is her voracious reading.  For her birthday, I gave her two books: a mid-level edition of Marley and Me and a Peter Pan prequel (it had Disney’s stamp of approval for whatever that’s worth).  I thought the first book looked a bit simple for her (she has read all 7 Harry Potter books) but, eh.  I was right because I asked how far she had gotten in them and she finished the first and started Peter Pan earlier that day and was already beyond the first 100 of 500 pages.

Apparently, school children are rewarded for outside reading far more than I was.  When I was in elementary school, we received a coupon for a free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut after reading so many books.  Today, children can read a book go onto a website, take a quiz, and earn points which they can build up to obtain all kinds of fabulous gifts.  I had no idea there was such a thing until my cousin asked if I made sure the books were on the AR list?  I think it is a neat idea but for one thing:  The points do not carry over from year to year. I really don’t have a problem with rewarding those who enjoy reading and I don’t believe that the incentive is connected with the classroom.

Not trying to take anything away from the fabulous news of Elizabeth’s first lead role, so CONGRATS! Break a leg!  OH… my brother came in the store tonight and he had no idea of the news when I asked him about the show dates.  And I was informed as I walked into the house last night?  Priorities.

I Can Play On My Trombone

One of the many things I look forward to at the beginning of the school year is to check out the fresh faces of the new faculty of my alma mater, particularly in the spot that seems to be a revolving door as of late.  Let me say that from experience and word of mouth the previous band director will not be missed.  However, the new director had to jump in quickly as days after her arrival, she had to get the band ready for the Festival of Flags parade.  A group of 20 marching down North Michigan Avenue doing the best they could under the circumstances.

Reading the new instructor’s bio in the hometown scandal sheet makes me think that she is very ambitious and hopefully will stick around long enough to bring some of these goals to fruition.  Miss Reardon is a Sandusky native who graduated from UT.  She plays the trombone, cello, piano, and sings.  Very well versed.  One of her goals is to bring musical theatre back to the EHS stage.  AWESOME!  It has been several years since Emily and I (can’t remember who the dramatic director was) brought the “Nifty Fifties” to the stage.  More of a revue of car tunes strung together by a flimsy plot, but fun.

Good luck to the new musical maestro!

J’ai Besoin Dix Bonbons

I have posted numerous times about my favorite teacher, role model, etc (it is very nearly the first anniversary of her passing).  Tonight at work, I had a surprise when my high school French came into my line.  “Bonjour, Professeur Peters! Comment allez-vous?”  She looked really well.  A few years following my graduation, she had some health problems.  She asked me if I was still a Star Trek/Star Wars fan.  AH, she knows me so well.  I made flash cards of French vocabulary in the shape of the NCC-1701 (“No bloody -A, -B, -C, Or -D”).  We would get bonbons or other rewards for creativity.  I told her that I have been doing plays around the area over the last several years.  She has seen pictures in the paper but has yet to come to any.

One of my favorite parts of French class was the video contest.  I believe it was a countywide (or maybe even longer reaching than that) contest in which classes could submit short skits to be judged for prizes.  How I wish YouTube was around back then.  I did not think to ask Madame if she kept any of the videos.  Anyway, the senior year video Nicolas, Thomas, Jean, and I made was by far our most hilarious.  It was a cooking spoof in which we made lapin a la moutarde (or… rabbit in mustard sauce).  Think the Swedish Chef (or Julia Child it was French after all) meets the Three Stooges and you pretty well get the idea.  Whoever decided to give me the role I undertook, I’ll never know but… it was memorable to say the least.

What a fun trip down memory lane!

Back On The Mound

On Sunday, the Seattle Mariners defeated the Oakland Athletics 8-7 in 15 innings.  While neither team is high on my radar to follow, the Mariners possess one player with very close ties.  Denny Stark pitched to four batters in the game.  This came after an absence of 1747 days (last appearing on the mound in 2004) and two Tommy John replacement surgeries on his right elbow.

How well I remember back in the day (he was a year behind me in school) when Denny was on the mound or on the hardwood either scoring 1000 points in basketball or pitching on the mound at EHS.  Totally amazing and he was definitely one who started out as soon as he was big enough to throw a ball to his father.  I know for a fact that his parents encouraged his talent and gift.  His father, “Connie” (and mother, Roz), coaching, developing him, but never being the stereotypically domineering parent.

Sometimes, coming from a small town and knowing everyone and what they are doing is a good thing.  In little league, I remember having Connie as a coach who never demanded anything less than what you were capable of giving.  So often we hear of coaches or parents who push as hard as they can in order to realize their own dreams through their players or children, but it was absolutely untrue in this case: THIS IS DENNY”S DREAM and it has been realized once again… if only for four batters.  Hopefully, this is only the beginning.  Perseverence does have its rewards.  I remember going to a Ft. Wayne Wizards game one summer when Denny was scheduled to pitch for the opposing team.  However, we were unable to see him pitch as he was called up to the next level.

UPDATE: According to a more local newspaper, Denny will be used in a middle relief capacity.

Wasn’t It Yesterday…

when we were small?

I dunno… feeling nostalgic but I took out my senior year yearbook (Log of E) the other day just to see how much I remembered.  Best facial expressions, moi?  There was also a baby picture section.  I honestly do remember the picture… not the actual posing, but… Actually having a head full of hair!

Then the not so proud moments of my class.  Those who did not graduate and actually had “Did Not Graduate” printed right underneath their photo.  Not the most flattering thing to have under your picture I would say.  I do not remember seeing the senior photo of the aforementioned inmate who made a few appearances on America’s Most Wanted.  I don’t know whose bright idea it was to post the DNG, but why defame our class with that?

Our senior trip to Florida was memorable for many reasons.  Ours was the first class to have the opportunity since the class of 1988.  Ironically, my second brother was in this class and my mother was the class advisor.  And the stories I heard about that!  Even more ironic, the class of 1992 was the “good” class.  Well… the class of 1993 was the last class to go on a trip because of some of the goings on of our trip.  I almost felt left out because I was one of the few who was not called to the principal’s room days after our return.

The trip was fantastic!  On my first trip to the Walt Disney World Resort, I was pulled from 2 different audiences to participate in some of the shows at the (previously known as) Disney/MGM Studio.  For some reason, the Superstar Television attraction was discontinued.  However, I was put into a scene as a butler in a Three Stooges short in which I got thrown into a pie tossing battle.  I hit Curly right in the face and actually got one in return.

I had actually forgotten that a female classmate was called down along with me for the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular in which some of the action sequences from the first three films were recreated by a stuntman.  I was asked to demonstrate an evil belly laugh as part of my “audition.”  The show was full of pyrotechnics and other eye-catching trickery.  I’m actually amazed that I remember most of this as if it were yesterday.

Another forgotten flashback courtesy of the yearbook was a harmless, yet not so flattering photo snapped of me in the hotel room.  Which I must admit was more flattering than someone losing their swimsuit while going down a slide at Wet ‘n’ Wild.  One of the stories that I heard about the class of ’88’s trip.

Back At Good Ol’ EJS

Ok… I must have been mistaken to think that I previously posted on my small junior high school’s science teacher and his intriguing way of chastising craziness in the classroom.  Mr. Stoll had a copy of the 6,7, and 8th grade spelling books.  Every week, there was a list of 20 spelling words that we had to learn.  In science class, if a student stepped out of line, he had to write that list of 20 words 15 times.

On two very rare occurrences, I found myself on the short end of that punishment (and almost a third time).  The first time (the only time I remember the particulars but I know I had one more) was at the sink following an experiment as we were cleaning up.  I guess I got a little carried away with the water because all of a sudden I heard the dulcet tones of

MISTER SHAFFER… FIFTEEN!

Another time, my cousin was given his turn.  A classmate had borrowed his pencil and he was attempting to reclaim it.  Apparently, he was a bit more vocal than needed because once again came the all powerful howl:

MISTER MAXWELL… FIFTEEN!

However, this did not stop Dan.  He was adamant that he did not deserve the cursed punishment.  At the teacher’s suggestion that the fifteen might be turned into thirty, he reluctantly gave up the fight, but recovered the pencil.

How did I fit into this drama you might wonder?  I don’t know why but something about two students fighting over possession of a pencil just struck me as hilarious.  Even after Mr. Stoll inquired whether I would like to practice my spelling skills,  I still found it hard to contain myself much to my cousin’s disbelief.  BTW Dr. Maxwell, if you can help me remember my second time…


Miss Shaffer, Fifteen.

I have already posted on my junior high science teacher’s most famous reprimand for students who step out of line.  Today, I discovered that he may just be getting rather lax in his distributing of “15” in his old age.  I found it ironic that Shelby should bring it up because I thought that he had retired a few years ago… my mistake.

It seems that my oldest niece stayed up WAY too late last night.  She was sleeping in class.  Her friend sitting next to her attempted to revive her to no avail.  Moments later, Mr. Stoll went to her table and (apparently) quite gently nudged her and revived her.  HA!!!! I got fifteen for two separate incidents (and ALMOST a third) in my day for less than that!!!

A few years ago, I had a cousin who passed through the hallowed door of the science teacher.  I would periodically hear her relate tales that would have led to her writing spelling words as well.  I don’t think she ever got the pleasure.  To this day, I think Charnel was his pet.  It sounds like he has another.