1. A wonderful ceremony on Friday to install some former Aurora teachers and students in various halls of fame that the Aurora Alumni Association sponsors. It was great to see Tia Hodge-Jones, who was in our son's classes at Harmon School (1982-86) and who appeared with him in some play productions there, has gone on to do wonderful things on the New York stages--and to write a book for young actors--and to teach and inspire yet another generation. (Here's a link to her book on Amazon.) I've not seen her in about 30 years, and it was wonderful to be with her for a while.
And it was a terrific thrill to witness the installation of two former colleagues at Harmon School--Andy Kmetz and Eileen Kutinsky--into the Honored Educators' Hall of Fame. Both were outstanding teachers (Andy in art, Eileen in science), and both were major influences in my own career. Eileen had already taught a few years when I arrived to begin my career in Aurora (fall of 1966), and I immediately recognized what a rare talent she is--and promptly began to beg, borrow, and steal ideas from her. And, believe me, she had an endless supply. She was extraordinarily generous to me--and, later, to Joyce and Steve--throughout her remaining years at Harmon School. In fact, Eileen was one of the principal reasons we withdrew Steve from Hudson Middle School when he was in sixth grade and moved him to Harmon. We knew that he would learn more about the world just from looking at her walls and displays that he would in someone else's room.
I was happy, by the way, when Eileen, in her remarks, acknowledged her late sister, Vivian LoPresti, who'd taught for years at Lake School (elementary) in Aurora. She was one of the two best teachers I ever saw (I once spent a week in her first-grade classroom when I was in grad school--observing, being dazzled). Guess who the other best-I-ever-saw was? All in the family ...
And what can I say about Andy Kmetz? Supremely talented, absolutely devoted to the kids. He helped me on many play productions (choreography, scenery, et al.), and I just could not have done those productions without him. Everyone knew--and no one knew better than I--that the most beautiful moments in those shows came from Kmetz. And I was so grateful. Joyce and I visit with him still--about once a week. And although he is in his 80s now, he is still in so many ways ... Kmetz. You just never know what's going to come out of his mouth ...
2. I want to add that the folks involved in the Aurora Alumni Association are spectacular human beings. The effort and the heart that have gone into their programs are humbling. Good people doing good things. Oh, that this weary world had a few more billion like them ...!
3. I came across the word bugbear this week--a word I've seen many times, of course. But this time I stopped, wondered, did some checking. (See the bottom of this page for info from the Oxford English Dictionary about the word--which has a long history.) I learned, too, that the term is now part of the gaming world. I'd not known that ...
|old engraving of a bugbear|
5. And finally ... I liked a poem by E. E. Cummings that found its way into Writer's Almanac this week--liked it so much I memorized it. Memorizing Cummings presents some issues--mostly because his language is so unconventional. On the other hand, I've discovered that once I do learn a Cummings poem, it stays with me pretty easily. My brain doesn't have too many other things like it in storage--except, of course, for a few other Cummings poems!
love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail
it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea
love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive
it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky
Forms: 15–16 buggebeare, 16– bugbear.
†1. A sort of hobgoblin (presumably in the shape of a bear) supposed to devour naughty children; hence, generally, any imaginary being invoked by nurses to frighten children. Obs.
1581 J. Bell tr. W. Haddon & J. Foxe Against Jerome Osorius 10 b, Hobgoblines and Buggebeares, with whom we were never acquaynted.
1592 T. Nashe Pierce Penilesse (Brit. Libr. copy) sig. I4v, Meere bugge-beares to scare boyes.
1607 E. Topsell Hist. Fovre-footed Beastes 453 Certaine Lamiæ..which like Bug-beares would eat vp crying boies.
1651 T. Hobbes Leviathan i. xii. 55.
1758 Johnson Idler 24 June 89 To tell children of Bugbears and Goblings.
1840 R. H. Barham Look at Clock in Ingoldsby Legends 1st Ser. 61 The bugbear behind him is after him still.
a. transf. An object of dread, esp. of needless dread; an imaginary terror. In weakened senses: an annoyance, bane, thorn in the flesh.
a1586 Sir P. Sidney Arcadia (1590) iii. xxvi. sig. Yy6, At the worst it is but a bug-beare.
1642 D. Rogers Naaman To Rdr. sig. Bv, All you that thinke originall sinne a bugbeare.
1717 Kennett in H. Ellis Orig. Lett. Eng. Hist. ii. 430 IV. 306 The king of Sweden is every day a less bugbear to us.
1841 Dickens Old Curiosity Shop i. iii. 86 What have I done to be made a bugbear of?
1871 E. A. Freeman Hist. Norman Conquest (1876) IV. xvii. 51 Confiscation, a word which is so frightful a bugbear to most modern ears.
1880 ‘G. Eliot’ Let. 14 Sept. (1956) VII. 322 Our only bugbear—it is a very little one—is the having to make preliminary arrangements towards settling ourselves in the new house.
1955 Sci. Amer. Jan. 90/1 Richness of context was their bugbear.
1966 Observer 10 Apr. 12/3 The great bugbear of economic management is the near impossibility of devising policies with a particular objective in view without..making it harder to attain other..desirable ends.
b. attrib. or as adj.
c1600 Timon (1980) i. ii. 6 Thou shalt not fright me with thye bugbeare wordes.
a1734 R. North Examen (1740) iii. viii. ⁋25. 601 The most horrible & bug-bear Denunciations.
1853 E. C. Gaskell Cranford xii. 223 Indiscretion was my bugbear fault.
1930 E. Sitwell Coll. Poems 252 A bugbear bone that bellows white.
ˈbugˌbeardom n. bugbears collectively, needless fears.
1862 Mrs. J. B. Speid Our Last Years in India 150 The assaults and tyrannies of bugbeardom.
1800 Southey in J. W. Robberds Mem. W. Taylor (1843) I. 35/2 Bonaparte..a name now growing more bugbearish than ever.
This entry has not yet been fully updated (first published 1888).