Tag Archives: teaching

Morning Has Broken

It’s a couple hours ’til that here and we were up late due to fireworks displays that are always done on the 3rd big-time. Nice display, not Pyro Paula but close. I think the “big city” lets the little ones have their displays on the 4th.

Leadership. I was twelve. Everyone in class was a year older and I was a teeny girl. The natives started getting restless. I asked them to stack the chairs in the back of our wonderful light-filled, wood-floored classroom and grabbed the first album I saw and placed it on the record player. The former Cat Stevens sang Morning Has Broken. Then I put on Gordon Lightfoot’s If You Could Read My Mind.

I was a dancer and early gymnast. I had everyone stand an arms’ length apart and we did a light stretching session for 30 minutes. The teacher never showed up. We ended up with a very quiet and relaxed class who got along and went on with their day.

That day, thanks to courage and the right music, I became the leader Dad always wanted me to be. I organized and calmed down 30 kids, all older than me, just by playing music and relaxing their muscles. Lean to the right, lean to the left. Try to reach your toes. Stay ten seconds, nine, eight…..

I wish schools now would do that every day, ADHD would be at a minimum! The chaos that is awakening, dressing and eating a toaster waffle and catching the bus impacts a child’s day, especially if it is me, being taunted on the school bus by three bullies down the street. They did it once, and 12 family members (kids), from them and their cousins, addressed the bullies non-violently and the bullies never spoke to me or harassed me again. I remain in touch with those families. Not the bullies.

We lived in the country, outside a small village. At birthday parties we built hay forts at the neighbors’ and ran around in cattle dung. Of course my sister and I had to wear white blouses, skirts, lace anklets and patent leather Mary Janes to do so when everyone else was in jeans or overalls and boots. You wouldn’t like to be me after the first such party at age eight. Oh no, my little sister couldn’t be blamed at all. I was responsible as the eldest.

Leadership is a gift and a burden. Dad would tell you that, may he rest in peace. I believe it is a presence and a sense of purpose, smarts, and knowing who you’re dealing with at the moment.

Years ago the light from the 2nd floor windows, bare wood floors and the music helped calm thirty unruly students when our teacher failed to attend class. At age 12 I had no teaching certificate, but at the end of that “class” everyone talked to each other and got along. That was my certificate. Happy 4th! Dee



While I understand more about the summer Olympics, I always enjoy watching young people at the top of their game in any season.

In 1972 I fell in love with Olga Korbut at the Summer, that fateful summer in Munich. I was trying to be a runner but took second leg (slowest) on a relay team and convinced the lady who spoke on the old loudspeakers in classrooms that we “came in second” even though there were only two teams.

I switched to gymnastics and didn’t have a place on our team. When we moved, within six weeks I was elected captain and had to train a team. Let it be said that I was a better captain than gymnast.

Back then Title IX was in its first stages. Our male and female gymnasts practiced separately, the guys with a gorgeous gym with a wood floor. We had linoleum tiles over concrete.

I ran for the vault multiple times, barefoot, over concrete and always had shin splints. To this day I remember how to dress them. When I went to college they promised gymnastics and a good “girls'” gym. They never did any of it. I lifted weights in the guy’s gym. The only thing on our side was one of those 1950’s band things that shimmies one’s behind.

At age 27 my knee swelled up. I was misdiagnosed for over 20 years until one doctor said I have rheumatoid arthritis. Many of today’s athletes have access to the best equipment, safety and otherwise, that technology can provide. We had wooden balance beams and concrete floors.

There was no way I was ever going to be an athlete, much less go for Olympic Gold. I do thank Olga and Nadia for what they inspired me to be.

When I did a trick on the rings in practice I had no mat. It was during the State finals and I went on anyway. I had a concussion but all the doctor asked is to repeat after him. He whispered 1, 2, 6 and I repeated it and he told my mother I was fine.

Today all my joints ache. I’ve worn golf bracelets for years so I can still type (magenetized to minimize arthritis) but my feet have hurt for years and I’ve edema so now need to wear compression socks.

Parents, we’ve heard so much about football head injuries and heart failures in that and other sports. I don’t know if we’re pushing our kids further or not protecting them enough.

I know that other injuries will come if childhood safety is not protected and enforced. Everyone cares about the NFL and boxing but no one is speaking up for the girls. Title IX should be enforced everywhere.

Stories, yes I’ve a ton of them but right now protect your kids. Let them play sports but make sure they’ve the right setting and equipment. Thanks, Dee


75 Years

My aunt has been with me through my entire life, present, absent, always available by regular mail, and in my heart always.

Photos of hiking, being in the mountains, childhood birthday parties, Christmas with the family. One year we had to dig her car out as she tried to get downhill to our house.

As much as my mother, she and J taught me how to cook. Yes, my dad was a bigwig and had to host parties and they catered them. We kids all helped in one way or another, passing platters or cleaning up (that was me).

One of the greatest gifts she gave to me is learning to try something before asking what the ingredients are. Now, when I taste something, I know what went into it. Thank you!

There was a red checked dress in a closet that I asked her to keep for me. She used it for square dancing and it was beautiful. That dress made me think she was the greatest aunt in the world.

My aunt has loved her family, close and extended, for her life. She climbed Pike’s Peak, drove across the country in a 1966 Mustang for a job in San Francisco but came home to teach English to high school kids.

We moved before I could have her as a teacher, but she pioneered breathtaking works to encourage love of language and writing including Native American women and the Holocaust.

Happy birthday, Aunt L

ps What’s my grade?