Sunday, October 26, 2014
Sunday Sundries, 21
1. The other day, Patty Medhurst Fedor, a seventh grade student from many, many years ago (very early in my career--just my third year, 1968-69), posted on Facebook a list of her classmates who were no longer alive. It was a shocking and stunning list--twenty-one people, all of whom I'd taught in seventh grade at the old Aurora Middle School. I would guess they're in the mid-to-late fifties now, the survivors in that class, and so many of those names take me back to moments wonderful and humbling and regrettable and inspiring and enraging and humorous and ... Well, just about every emotion of which a human is capable, for, as teachers know, you experience just about every emotion you have in the course of a single day--especially with middle schoolers! (Sometimes every period.)
I was grateful that Patty posted that list, but I grieved, as well. I don't know that I'd seen any of them in more than forty years, but the names brought them back--I could see them sitting at their desks (or not sitting, as the case may be); I could see myself--young, ignorant, desperately trying to figure out this profession of teaching I'd gotten myself into. And I could not have imagined--or hoped or dreamed in any way--that I would survive so many of them. It's not the way it should be. And I wish their families and friends the best as they adjust to life's grimmest reality.
2. Last week I watched--via Netflix DVD--the John Wayne flick Hondo, the 1953 film based on a Louis L'Amour story. (I'd read a book recently about Wayne and had no memory of having seen Hondo, so ....). I was surprised to see Geraldine Page in the cast: She's not the sort of actress you associate with a John Wayne shoot-em-up, but there she was, an abandoned mother (guess whom her young son ends up idolizing?), alive only because she's allowed the Apache to water their horses (hmmm ... how could she have stopped them from watering?). The Apache leader admires her son--says he will be a warrior--but needs a father. Hmmm ... who could that be?
Anyway, the exteriors were stunning. I see on IMDB that they shot on location in Utah and Mexico, and it was beautiful. The story--not so much. There was some sympathy for the Apache (and Wayne, in the film, had spent some years living with them), but it ended about where you'd expect: lots of people (mostly Apache) getting shot. Manifest Destiny, that sort of thing. Glad I saw it, though. Wayne looked young and fit, though he didn't ever seem to find an occasion to change his clothes.
Here's a link to a trailer for the film.
3. We also streamed via Netflix a fine documentary about historian Howard Zinn. I've read some of his books over the years and have--Lefty that I am--always sympathized with his positions. But what a fearless man, a man who, after all these years of struggle for human rights, for peace, still (how?) keeps a smile on his face. Link to trailer for the film.
4. The big event last week, though, was the luncheon on Friday to honor our daughter-in-law, Melissa McGowan Dyer, who had won one of the Outstanding Teaching Awards at Kent State University. It was a family affair--that luncheon. She and Steve were there, their two remarkable sons (Logan, 9, and Carson, 5), Melissa's enormously proud parents, Joyce and I.
Melissa teaches at the nursing school, and the testimonials from her students and supervisors were amazing--the sorts of things you would sit down and write about yourself, if you dared. They praised her for her knowledge, her devotion to the profession, to her students, to the life that so many of them want to pursue--and to perform with a portion of the skill and affection Melissa does.
I'll end with some words from the brochure for the event--some words about Melissa:
Dyer's background is in obstetrics. She lobbies and advocates for healthcare policy issues and led nurses as a hospital administrator [UH]. She eagerly shares her passions for nursing, leadership and professionalism with her students. ... Dyer is an innovator. She was the first College of Nursing faculty to employ a blended-learning environment. Dyer uses active teaching methods to engage students and promote critical thinking, including high-fidelity simulation and case studies. ... [She] is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in the College of Public Health at Kent State. Dyer is a College of Nursing leader, having served as an American delegate to China to study that country's education and healthcare systems. She currently is an education Leadership Policy Fellow and received the Barbara Donaho Distinguished Leadership in Learning Award.
Melissa is a talented, loving young woman--a wonderful wife and mother--and we are so proud to have her in our family.