Archive for the telling it like it is Category

Weeks Five and Six

Posted in telling it like it is on September 26, 2009 by samsondoggie

I think that Powe is going to work out.

It was in the late afternoon, when pianos could be played, when Samson is sleeping, and when you are one and the sister and I am four and the other sister, and you are going to wear the pink dress because you are two and I am the big sister.  It was in between all of this and some of a few other things, that John let us know what is really going on down in Mr. D’s class.

“This school is so much harder than last year,” John announces from a spot next to the Continue reading


Third and Fourth Weeks

Posted in telling it like it is with tags , on September 17, 2009 by samsondoggie

John is settling into school. He skips along the court in the backyard when he gets home. He has friends.  He likes his teacher.  He likes having rules. He really likes having rules.

In the last two weeks, I feel like I have had my first opportunity to see some of the decisions that our teachers are trying to make.   On Monday evening this week, we went to an emergency meeting of the parents.  When we arrive, a group of parents are meeting with the principal, some administrative staff, and about 11 teachers.

The parents are here because they are upset.  Susie’s been following it more closely than I have, but I have a general sense of what this will be about. We are going to talk about curriculum.

This is where, as Susie would say, “the rubber hits the road.” People talk about equity and opportunity in society.  Well, this is where that occurs. This is a Title 1 school.   Tonight’s meeting is made up of people who are on that frontier.  These parents aren’t drawn from the mainstream of the school’s parents.  We all look alike, for example.  We all speak English.  I would bet that we all  Continue reading

New Week, Not the Same as the Old Week

Posted in telling it like it is with tags on September 4, 2009 by samsondoggie

It was just a fantastic weekend – a good ride on Sunday, all day with a beat up pickup and a load of compost on Saturday, and a concert in the mix, too.  But, all good things do come to an end.  Come Monday, it was time for school again.

Day One

John has a positive day.  “It was a nine on a scale of one to ten,” he tells me at dinner.  “No, it was a 9 point 1.”

Today’s special is science.  That is good, because John has been waiting for it since our visit 8 days ago during parent’s open house.  The science curriculum in North Carolina is designed by the state.  Teachers have no choice in how they teach it.  Today, though, John’s in luck, because the first Continue reading

Have Donut, Sit Down, Read

Posted in telling it like it is on August 28, 2009 by samsondoggie

John started public school this week, in Mr. Dodyk’s first grade class at E.K. Powe Elementary.

This is a bit of an experiment. Last year, we sent John to a private Montessori school. He had a kind and attentive teacher. He was able to learn some advanced math (cubes, square roots, division) and the geography of most of Africa and Asia.  Still, there were other things that didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Why, for example, should a student be allowed to not do what he or she doesn’t want to do? Shouldn’t there be a place for following orders? Even if your child comes from a progressive middle class family?

Seriously, though, there is a lot of difference this year. I could tell when we got our first contact from DPS. It was a robocall – “Beinvenidos a Durham.” It went on to express how well we would like kindergarten.

Parents day seemed ok.  We enter the building and are immediately confronted by a crowded hallway.  All of the teachers are explaining things to the parents in Spanish. Susie and I realize that this is going to be different than Overton or Arrowhead.

Continue reading

Answer a Call

Posted in telling it like it is with tags , , , on June 28, 2009 by samsondoggie

It would be great if every vacation church school produced a few altar calls.  The energy is there.  Singing, dancing, kids on fire with love and fun.  Line leaders, tie-dye’s, three gallon pots of franks and beans. No Episcopal Hymnal – no, it’s “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands,” and “Deep and Wide” that invites fun. The message is in that energy.  VCS shouts. Depth comes at another time.

What comes of it, though, is something different and maybe just as important.  It is a week where busy people stop, shift gears, and work Continue reading

Song of Bradford County, Florida

Posted in telling it like it is with tags , on June 14, 2009 by samsondoggie

I just want to live in a gated golf club community, from the 170s

or in the Rolling Villas RV park

where I can enjoy delicious cajun or regular boiled peanuts

I don’t want to play games

unless it is at the Mudd Bogg

at the Hampton Mudd Motor Authority

across from Cafe Risque

I will take my guns, freedom, and money

You keep your change.

These are end times.

Wedding Photographer, $350

Vasectomy Reversal available

no scalpel

The wrap on the Chrysler Sebring says 24-7 fitness

Ted Bundy breathed his last here.

We have four prisons, three death row cell blocks, two private correctional institutions, and one puppy rescue.

I have a friend in Starke

the clerk at the Holiday Inn

He trades investment properties

they get $700 per month from Section 8

There is always hope here


Number 56?

Posted in telling it like it is with tags , , on May 13, 2009 by samsondoggie

I suppose it was a futile endeavor to put me in a football uniform.  When I think of 7th grade, I remember how my height and weight flat lined.  Around me, boys were growing, sprouting mustaches, stinky sweat, and cracking voices.

It made no sense that I would play football.  But, playing football tempted me. I already loved the sport. I spent many Sundays watching professional players beat each other up.   Like any childhood sporting fascination, my interest was partially focused on the costumes.  In football, the players strutted in muddy pants.  There was grass stuck in their face masks. The lineman left the field with blood dripping through the athletic tape on their knuckles.

Still, I was less than 98 pounds, less than even a standard weakling. I was certain, though, that if I could get into pads and stretch a nice blue jersey over my new neck brace, that I would be a terror just like my Sunday heroes.

To get a uniform of my own, I had to go to Mr. “Tortoise’s” room for some “issue.” Mr. Tortoise was about 5’2″ and 180 pounds.  He had a booming New Hampshire accent and he Continue reading

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