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In the middle of the night…

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From the rear of the car, 11:30 at night, in the middle of I-44 in Oklahoma, a squeak, intermittent with an occasional thump! Mouse, baby bird, …? What had we allowed to be in the car? Why hadn’t we heard it? Why no scurrying sound? We’ve been on the road 7 hours!
An hour later, a motel was found along with a flashlight. I jump out and search the back while a room is secured. Finding nothing we move the car into a parking space. 

I turn to look at the back of the car, my feet are curled under me on the seat!…
The rear window wiper is on! Squeak and thump found, we left all mice and baby birds where they belong! 
 Relief! Exhaustion takes over! ūüí§ūüí§ūüí§ūüí§ūüí§

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A day late and a dollar short 

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Finally in the car and on our way. First stop…gas station-fuel and $1.00 for air …no wallet! Back to the house…FOUND IT!  

On our way!

Celebrating our smooth sailing all the while observing those heading east are traveling slowly.  Heading for their last vacation in Michigan before school starts as we head toward our little family.  Two days with Calvin, Audrey, Andy, Michelle, Puck, Sadie and the chickens – can’t wait!

After dinner as night crept in so did the torrential downpours. On with the flashers, down to 40 miles an hour, the wipers can’t keep up.  Decision made – we won’t make our goal for the night, just get out of this mess.  Found a room, rain slowed so could run to the check in.  They want 3 times the amount they usually charge because it is the Iowa state fair!  Turning to see that the rain has become a sprinkle we move on!

Rather than return to the interstate we take the frontage road hoping to gain entrance at the next overpass.  No entrance– signs saying “caution road impassable during high water”!  Pavement turns into gravel and down to one lane past homes and chicken coops; we can no longer see the interstate paralleling the road.  Out comes the all knowing Garmin, thank you Bruce!  As we sit on high ground heading south instead of west the Garmin talks to the sky.  After 6 turns, more torrential downpours the interstate appears and we are heading west once more!  Two hours later we drop into bed not governed by the Iowa state fair!

The Game

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Oh dear,

    Just realized

        I’m not playing the game.

                               I always followed the rules

                               Never took advantage

                               Solid in all ways.

                                                      What happened?

                                                        When did it occur?

                                                         Not Miss Goodie Two Shoes anymore!

Game changer

    New game

        No rules

            Very engaged!

Life on Lake Lotela

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Clara and Julius spent their retirement years on the lake. ¬†Dr. Mitchell, Clara’s father built the small house around 1920. ¬†The little piece of paradise was in the family for over a hundred years. ¬†Philip remembers visiting his grandparents every other summer. ¬†Enjoying swimming, neighborhood friends and especially orange juice.

Orange juice was our primary source for thirst quenching. ¬†Sadly the trees had been neglected for years. ¬†Tangerines, lemons, avocados, and grapefruits still grew with careless ease even with few leaves and rodent damage. ¬†Florida was my first introduction to avocados where they grow to the size of small footballs. ¬†The locals call them “pears”.

Our lake front was overgrown.  We had no beach so many hours were spent pulling the grass in ankle deep water all hunched over.  Yet we kept cooler there in the lake.  As we pulled we could watch the boats, fisherman, and water birds.  A few bald eagles nested nearby.  Many types of water birds, even sandhill cranes grazed in the front yard.  Once a friend in a float plane landed at our beach!

March brought the rest of the family. ¬†Only then did I realize this wasn’t my home. ¬†Decisions were not mine. ¬†Beautiful flowers and trees were chopped down by those who did own the house. ¬†Items in the house were changed. ¬†I was just a visitor.

During our year at Lake Lotela a stray cat adopted us.  She was very efficient eliminating our rat population for some tasty treats from us.  The down side, she had 17 kittens before we could catch her.  With the help of a local radio station we were able to find homes for all before we left.

Laundry was done in town at the laundromat.  Ours was partially out-of- doors, easy access to your car, and a good place to meet people.  The baskets of wet clothes were hung in the sun.  They would dry almost before you could get them on the line.  One time a basket was left on the ground while the clothes were drying.  A black widow spider greeted me when I came to take down the clothes.  A basket was never left outside again.

Another unwanted critter greeted me one morning in the bath tub.  A scorpion had crawled up the drain and was corralled by the tub. Thank goodness.

After all the outside chores we would go down to the lake with our large tractor inner tubes and float in the warm “bath” water and relax. ¬†Our indoor entertainment was the radio. ¬†We had no TV. ¬†While sitting on the front porch, looking at the lake, writing lesson plans we heard the news from the seventies. ¬†Nixon, Watergate and Viet Nam…

At the end of the school year we were to paint the house.  Our rent for staying in the house.  Have you ever scraped paint in hot humid Florida?  It seemed the chore would last forever.

The die was cast, back to the midwest and all it’s glorious seasons.

a day in Zolfo Springs

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We would rise early in the morning to prepare for our twenty mile drive to work. ¬†At first breakfast was bacon and eggs every morning. ¬†Hey, that’s what my dad expected each morning. ¬†Don’t all men expect the same? ¬†After two weeks, Phil finally begged me to stop. He wanted his cereal instead. ¬†Oh what a relief! ¬†Cooking the big breakfast was a chore! ¬†He was so kind and apologetic. ¬†His stomach just couldn’t take it anymore.

After breakfast with books and plans in hand we jumped into my brown Ford pinto or his blue Volvo. ¬†Frequently the drive was in Florida’s pea soup fog. ¬† ¬†Nerve racking, but the sunrise was always beautiful. ¬†Zipping past palmetto palms, long-horned cattle, armadillos and all the critters in the swamps. ¬†In my mind’s eye I still see the Spanish moss hanging from the trees. ¬†The mistletoe nestled on the branches with crows flying everywhere. ¬†¬†Nearer to our destination we would pass the migrant shanties. ¬†A heart wrenching site… ¬†the buildings are still there, not sure if they are inhabited anymore.

Arriving at school early allowed for preparation. ¬†Rethinking everything, rearranging the seats, trying a new approach, hanging in there…smiling!

Being Florida, the temps don’t go very low. ¬†Students frequently came to school without shoes or coats. ¬†One student wore the same outfit all year. ¬†Some who had shoes wore them even if they didn’t fit, the shoes might have been hand-me downs or purchased without the child being present.

My classroom was lucky, we had our own toilet. ¬†Time wasn’t spent in lines waiting for the facilities. ¬†One student would sing while in the quiet little room. ¬†All of us were entertained as we worked. ¬†No one thought much about it. ¬†I’m sure many of them sang while they worked in the fields.

Ditto machines were the norm, most of our math was supported with these purple pages.  As I went from student to student and supported their reading, they worked on their dittos and read books.  A few students were able to meet together, usually more one-on-one was needed.  Sometimes we only had a student for two weeks and this was all the schooling they would receive for the year.

Physical education was taught outside. ¬†Our school did offer music and art. ¬†We had a large library. ¬†At one point our school was given a grant. ¬†We were to spend it in a limited period of time. ¬†We had two choices. ¬†One choice was to ¬†improve our library or buy the new “computer” for the classrooms. ¬†My choice was to improve the library, add books, find ways to encourage the students to do research… ¬†Yet because of the time crunch and we would loose the grant if we didn’t act quickly, we bought “computers” . ¬†Machines that the students could just press a button and not pay attention to the screen. Grrrrrr. ¬†I wonder what those students think of that experience now. ¬†They are in their 40’s!

Philip and I didn’t spend anytime in the teacher’s lounge. ¬†You could cut the smoke in that room. We did have some potlucks with the staff. ¬†The food was always delicious and appreciated. ¬†Once a year there was a fun fair for the families. ¬†The principal always was the duck tank guinea pig, his performance was appreciated by all.

The biggest mistake that I remember was not promoting all my students. ¬†The day we handed out the report cards, the first question everyone was asked, “Did you pass?” ¬†I was shocked. ¬†One student, I felt, would benefit from another year in 3rd grade. ¬†He was devastated. ¬†We did learn that the family left town, I’ve always wondered what happened in his new school. ¬†Or if he went back to school…

We arrived at school early every morning and we stayed one to two hours after. ¬†Every week we turned in our plan books. ¬†I faithfully had mine ready, but discovered near the end of the year that my husband wasn’t as diligent. ¬†As it turned out, we both decided that this year in Florida was enough. ¬†The midwest was calling our name – time to come “home”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learning every day from each other

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Our journey together started August 11, 1974. ¬†Under the tall oak trees at my parent’s home with family and friends. ¬†Little did we know what life held in store for us. ¬†So we hopped into our 2 cars and drove 1200 miles to start our new life together. ¬†Yes, our honeymoon was following each other down the freeway to arrive in time for our teaching jobs. ¬†About half way there I had the thought, “what on earth am I doing?” ¬†didn’t last long, but I remember it to this day.

Our first home was a Florida bungalow built in the early 1900’s by family. ¬†Placed on Lake Lotela with a struggling orange grove buffering us from the road. ¬†No air conditioning yet quite comfortable. ¬†Fans and wet wash cloths helped sleep come on those hot humid nights.

Twenty miles away were our jobs teaching migrant students. ¬†I taught 3rd and Phil taught 4th. ¬†My classroom started with twelve students and grew to 32. ¬†Fluctuation was the norm. ¬†Most of my formal education did not prepare me for this adventure. ¬†My angel of mercy, Mrs. Campbell, became my mentor. ¬†Her gracious, gentle friendship promoted calm and positive ambition. ¬†My students didn’t realize that 3 days ago I was “Miss Davidson”, they only knew me as Mrs. Hahn.

Aurelia was my classroom aide.  We worked side by side meeting needs as these students filed through our classroom.  Their ages ranged from seven to thirteen.  Only English, some English, or no English!  It was English, Spanish, or Spanglish!

We were continually learning every day and from each other.

 

 

 

What is most important?

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Childhood

Schools

Diplomas

Money

Life choices

    Vocations

    Avocations

    Marriage?

    Children?

    Location

    Homes

    Vacations

Recognition

Make today the most important!

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