Today is Wayfarer‘s birthday. Go on over and wish him happy!
Monthly Archives: July 2006
So, here’s the scene: Husband is in the basement, trying desperately to make his way through the mass and tangle of crap down there in order to make full use of the dumpster we have in our side yard. In the process, he’s bringing up the occasional box and plastic storage bin for me to go through, making sure that the contents are either usable or desirable.
One of those bins contained a number of books; old Calvin and Hobbes and Far Sides, a bunch of Stephen King, three years worth of high school yearbooks, and, to my amazement, my baby book.
For those of you who may not know, I am not on speaking terms with my biological parents and haven’t been for going on eight years now. It’s best for all involved, TRUST me – you wouldn’t believe half the stories I could tell you. Anyway, as a result, I have no access to anything relating to my childhood; no pictures, no stories, no scrapbooks. Finding this baby book, even with only two or three pages filled out, was a bit of a shock; I didn’t remember having it and was surprised to find that I’d ever been given it in the first place.
ANYWAY, I’ve been thinking about trying to start a genealogy to see how far back into Scotland I can go, and I thought maybe, just maybe, this book might help me in finding out the names of my great-grandparents. No such luck, though. What I DID find out is that, on January 19th of 1969, I was baptized in St. Paul’s church by one Father John Goeghan. Remember him? The serial-offender, pedophile priest who was the blasting cap that set off the whole “pedophile priest scandal” in Massachusetts, and eventually, the entire country and who was eventually murdered in prison by his cell mate?
I’ve gotta tell you, I’m a little freaked out by that newly-discovered fact.
The family went to a state park lake beach yesterday with Bowyer and his brood. We arrived fairly soon after the place opened, found ourselves a couple of picnic tables in the shade of the trees and staked out a claim on the rough, pebbly lake beach. The water was warm, the sun was shining and we had an all-around wonderful time.
The point of my writing this, though – and the reason for the title and opening statement of this post – is that, by a WIDE margin, the beach area was populated by non-English speaking Hispanics and, for the first time in the 20 or so years I’ve been going to this particular state park, I’ve never experienced anything quite like it.
You need to understand that we live in New England. You know, that chunk of the U.S. where a tiny boat filled entirely with white people ran aground in 1620 and, after extracting whatever usefulness they could from the current darker-skinned residents, began a long and some may say gleefully enthusiastic effort, picked up by generations after them, of running their neighbors out of town? Yeah, well, for pretty much my whole life – which has been lived entirely in New England, I should add – I’ve been surrounded with people who look and speak just like me. I mean, sure; I had classmates of Italian or Russian descent, and I remember, growing up, that my father’s auto repair shop was visited by vendors who spoke with thick German or Italian accents, but by and large there just hasn’t been a whole lot of ethnic, cultural or linguistic diversity in this part of the country. Until now.
Yesterday, we heard the usual sounds of families at the beach: coolers were rolled down the sidewalks to the picnic tables, food sizzled on charcoal fires, children made a racket laughing and splashing while parents called at them to be mindful of their younger siblings or hollered at them to come to eat. There were a lot of not-so-subtle differences in this atmosphere, though: the scents coming from the grills told us that the food cooking on them wasn’t hamburgers or hotdogs, the parents called to children named Maria and Ernesto in a language I had to call back to high school Spanish classes to try to comprehend, the music coming from the portable stereos had a decidedly Latin flavor. As we were leaving, we were approached by a man who wanted our spot, but he could barely make himself understood and I got most of his meaning through his gestures and the longing look he shot in the direction of the table we were clearing.
Now, I should say that I wasn’t particularly bothered by this shift in demographics at the lake; I wasn’t feeling invaded or offended, though I could begin to understand how some people may experience those unpleasant emotions. I have often been bothered by the LACK of diversity in my home state and am pleased that my children are growing up alongside children whose lives and backgrounds are differed from their own. I did start thinking, though, about the current uproar about immigration (legal and otherwise). I also started thinking about how unwilling some of these new arrivals seem to be to learn English and participate in their local New England culture. I wonder, as an educator, how the children fare in their classes – particularly their English classes – when their home life is conducted in another language. And I worry about the prejudice and lack of acceptance these people face in this area which has been so predominantly white, Anglo Christian for going on 386 years.
Don’t ask me why, but I kind of like doing these…
note; my answers are given in no particular order…
Five things you have but you do not want
1) a cluttered, stinky basement
3) an unfinished house
4) spiders, fruit flies, mosquitoes
5) weak finger nails
Five things you want but you do not have
1) New furniture
2) a stove (oh, hell – a finished house!)
3) thighs that don’t rub together
4) a winning lottery ticket
5) a good teaching job
Five things you would like to know more about
1) how to achieve and maintain inner balance
2) how to write – and teach – well
3) how to sew
4) how to be patient with growing girls (hello? Attitude!)
5) how to be as healthy as I can possibly be
Five important lessons you have learned
1) it’s important to be honest
2) it’s easier to be kind than to be not
3) family and friends are important, and worth the effort it takes to maintain them
4) if you can’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else
5) communication is key
Five of your favorite memories
1) my wedding day
2) my daughters’ birthdays
3) teaching summer school with Bowyer
4) Bermuda, 1994
5) christmas mornings with the girls
Five things you would like to forget
1) all of the negative stuff I believed about myself growing up
2) nagging fears of something horrible happening to people I love
3) times I acted selfishly or rudely
4) most of the first half of my teaching internship
5) how to sabotage myself
Five things you are looking forward to
1) growing old with my husband
2) going to England, Ireland and Scotland
3) watching my babies grow, graduate, marry, and have babies of their own
4) deepening friendships with the people who matter
5) pretty much all of it!
To go along with the whole movie theme – my favorite scene from Finding Nemo. Check out the lobster toward the end…
These are just a few off the top of my head (inspired because TNT is playing The Fugitive tonight) and are presented to you in no particular order…
Cosmo: Uh, “Richard David Kimble, vascular surgeon…” what the hell is that?
Poole: Somebody that makes more money than you.
Phillipe: If you lay one hand on her you will find it on the ground next to your head.
Navigator: What’s the matter Commander? You don’t like flying, huh? Aw, this is nothing! You should’ve been with us five, six months ago! Whoa! You talk about puke! We ran into a hailstorm over the Sea of Japan. Everybody’s retching their guts out! The pilot shot his lunch all over the windshield, and I barfed on the radio! And it wasn’t that lightweight stuff either, it was that chunky industrial weight puke! Here, want a bite?
Doc Holiday (pretty much every scene he’s in is amazing): It appears my hypocrisy knows no bounds.
Grandma Lovell: Don’t you worry. If they could get a washing machine to fly, my Jimmy could land it.
Rod: I feel for you, man. But a real man wouldn’t shoplift the pootie from a single mom.
Jerry: I didn’t shoplift the pootie.
[Rod gives him a long Look]
Jerry: All right. I shoplifted the pootie.
There are a lot of others that I love to watch again and again, though some of them, I’ve found, don’t really have a lot of good, catchy quotes.
What are YOUR favorite movies?
We just got home from taking the girls to see Akeelah and the Bee. If you haven’t seen this movie, go rent it. Now.
Both Husband and I cried. My girls, ages nine and seven, were absolutely enthralled. Beanie was LITERALLY on the edge of her seat at the end. Literally. On the way out of the theater (we got to see it on a big screen at our local university), she turned to me and said “Mommy, I’ve REALLY gotta pee, but I didn’t want to miss ANY of that movie!” This, coming from a child who, not too long ago, told me that she only liked “little kid” films.
I’m going to buy the DVD tomorrow. It’s a movie I want my kids to see again and again.