Friday, July 24, 2009

Olden Days and School Daze

The Days of Wine and Roses and Runny Noses

One must be “of a certain age:” Today’s blog is designed to stir the memories of those of us who, shall we say, are sufficiently ripe to remember them. From running boards to bushel baskets to washing and ironing, many tasks and icons once considered matter-of-fact are totally foreign to less senior generations. The first memory, hanging clothes out to dry comes from a blog reader in Western Pennsylvania. She reminds me that the first step, running a damp cloth across the clothesline was of utmost importance lest some of the grime from steel mills become a part of the laundry.

Airing your not-so-dirty laundry: Eleven easy (?) steps.

1.Before hanging wash, you had to walk the entire lengths of each line with a damp cloth or sponge around the lines to prevent dirt marks on clothes.

2. You had to hang the clothes in a certain order; always hang "whites" with "whites," and hang them first.

3. You never ever hang a shirt by the shoulders -- always by the tail! What would the neighbors' think?

4. Wash day on Monday! Never hang clothes on the weekend, or Sunday.

5. Hang the sheets and towels on the outside lines so you could hide your "unmentionables" in the middle (perverts & busybodies, y'know!)

6. About to rain -- or presently raining -- was the best time to have clothes on the line since they would become "rain fresh." So what if it was lightning while hanging out clothes?!

7. It didn't matter if it was sub zero weather . . . Clothes would "freeze-dry."

8. If you were efficient, you would line the clothes up so that each item did not need two clothes pins, but shared one with the next washed item.

9. Always gather the clothes pins when taking down dry clothes! Pins left on the lines were "tacky" and wooden ones would mildew and leave marks on clothes.

10. Clothes off of the line before dinner time. Never leave clothes on lines over night!

11. Remove clothes from line, shake hard, "watch for forgotten pins that could put an eye out!" and fold them into the clothes basket. Now they are ready to be ironed.

- IRONED?! Well, that's a whole other subject! And you think that hanging clothes took time, not as long as ironing; and unless you did put your eye out with a clothes pin, ironing was far more dangerous!

Health Care; a hot topic: Today the national debt just passed a trillion dollars and the geniuses in Washington are trying to figure out a Health Bill that will be revolutionary. Well, here is a suggestion, follow the model set by Dr. Booker, Dr. Rascatti, Dr. Cutuly, et. al. in Clairton in the old days. An office visit was five bucks. Home visit? Five bucks also, and no extra charge to come by and hang a “Quarantined” sign on your front door. Ok, inflation has decreased the dollar’s value so instead of $% charge $25 per visit. No office staff needed since there are no insurance forms to be completed and the nurse can set appointments.

School days, school days, good old Golden Rule days: A recent study listed the top seven discipline problems as: drug and alcohol abuse, pregnancy, suicide, rape, robbery, assault, and guns in the school. Way back when Moby Dick was a sardine, the same list might have included: talking, chewing gum, making noise, running in the halls, getting out of turn in line, wearing improper clothes, and not putting paper in wastebaskets. I remember a veteran teacher reflecting on his first day at a rural school in Montana. He was sent down to see the math teacher who was also the wrestling coach. As the fresh-faced teacher walked into the room he saw the veteran teacher had a male student pinned to the floor and wrapped up like a pretzel. He finally lifted the kid up and said, “Don’t ever do that again.” After class the newbie screwed up enough courage to ask what rule had caused the discipline, and without blinking an eye he said, “He came in late.”

Hire the best and the brightest: A recent teacher interview was completed and the potential teacher was asked if there were any questions. The prospective teacher said:

"Let me see if I've got this right.

'You want me to go into that room with all those kids, correct their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse, monitor their dress habits, censor their T-shirt messages, and instill in them a love for learning...

'You want me to check their backpacks for weapons, wage war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, and raise their sense of self esteem and personal pride.

'You want me to teach them patriotism and good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play, and how to register to vote, balance a checkbook, and apply for a job.

'You want me to check their heads for lice, recognize signs of antisocial behavior, and make sure that they all pass the final exams.

'You also want me to provide them with an equal education regardless of their handicaps, and communicate regularly with their parents in English, Spanish or any other language, by letter, telephone, newsletter, and report card.

'You want me to do all this with a piece of chalk, a blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books, a big smile, and a starting salary that qualifies me for food stamps..

'You want me to do all this and then you tell me. . . I CAN'T PRAY?'"

A little blogging music Maestro... From the 1958 movie of the same name, Doris Day sings “Teacher’s Pet.”

Dr. Forgot

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