Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Jacob's Tragedy

There is a census called the mortality census. In 1859, 1869, and 1879, they have a census for those who died in the year proceeding the regular census -- I assume because they survived the majority of the decade. My Great-Grandfather, William Klein, died in September of 1879.  While I was looking for him in the mortality census I came across the records of 5 children with the last name Felton. I was in the early stages of research so I made a note of them and the cause of death... diptheria in all cases.

As I got more into research I realized all five were related to the Jacob that I believe is a great-great uncle.

Of course I then had to look up what diphtheria is. We now vaccinate in infancy, but in 1879 there was no cure.  Diphtheria is a virus that creates a thick mucus layer on the lungs. Victims essentially end up suffocating. Tracheotomies were later performed that allowed patients to breathe until the virus worked it's course. But again, these were not yet performed.

At the time, Jacob and Sophia had 8 children. Between the 16th of November and the 20th of December, they lost 5 children each of which suffocated to death most after knowing their sibling had died from the same symptoms.

Carl Fredrick was born 27 February 1863 and died 20 Dec. 1879 age 16
Wilhelmina was born 29 July 1866 and died 7 Dec. 1879 age 13
William was born 18 Jan. 1868 and died 16 Nov 1879 age 11
Anna was born 17 Feb. 1870 and died 27 Nov 1879 age 9
George was born 18 Oct 1875 and died 25 Nov. 1879 age 4

The thought of watching any of my children harmed breaks my heart. I don't know how one would find the strength to go on after watching 5 children suffocate to death.

But both Jacob and Sophia did. As did the 3 boys they had left. Fred was 14, John was 8, and Frank was 1.

It said in his obituary, Jacob found God several years earlier. I can only imagine the faith you must have to survive that kind of tragedy.

Jacob and Sophia and the 5 children they lost are all buried in Patton Cemetary in La Porte. The flag is there to commemorate the fact that Jacob also served a time in the Union Army during the Civil War.

"Fair is where you get cotton candy."

I just watched a segment that was on Fox and Friends. There is a teacher in Oklahoma who stood on a corner with a sign requesting money for school supplies. Pan handling. Her point was to bring awareness to the lack of funding in Oklahoma specifically and education in general. 

She has been teaching elementary for 21 years
She has a Masters degree
She makes $35K a year

I divided the $35 K by 52 weeks. That came to $673 a week
Divided by 40 hours comes to about $16 dollars an hour

And a McDonalds worker without a high school degree should make $15?

If you multiply the number of days contracted (about 183) by 8 for a "normal" work day you get 1464 hours. Divide 35K by that and you get roughly $24 an hour... roughly what a substitute makes... and they only need an associates degree in something. AND they don't have to prepare lessons or grade or anything only follow what was left for them.

So why go to college? Why have ambition? What is the point in being college and career ready if your career can be making fries? 

What was that? That "living wage" of $15 an hour only provides the bare necessities of life? No luxuries? But you qualify for subsidies. And how is it OK that a teacher who has been teaching for 22 years with a MASTERS DEGREE is in the same boat as a Burger Flipper at McDonalds?

Give me a flip-floppin' break!

What is y'all's solution to making THAT "fair"?

Angry emoticons all over the place.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

30 years

Dear Mr. Vernon,

We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was that we did wrong. But we think you’re crazy for making us write this essay telling you who we think we are, what do you care? You see us as you want to see us… in the simplest terms and most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. Correct?  That’s the way we saw each other at seven o’clock this morning. We were brainwashed.

You may recognize this quote from the "Breakfast Club". I graduated High School in 1987, so John Hughes movies are the soundtrack and videography of my life. But...

I didn't actually belong to any of the assigned groups. I knew people in all of the groups. I was friendly to people in all the groups. But my group became the friends of my then boyfriend and now husband. We find our tribes, I guess.

As I said, I (we) graduated in 1987, which, if you are counting, makes this the year of our 30th anniversary. About a month ago I got a notification from a member of the committee planning the reunion asking me to join the reunion group on Facebook. 

I did.

But we didn't go to the reunion. Hubby has no interest in attending. We kind of feel we are still friends with the people we hung out with then, so why do we need to attend?

I knew we weren't going, but I followed the updates. I clicked on people I knew and was curious about just to see their fb page. Curiosity you know...

There were people I went to kindergarten with. There were people from youth group at church. There were people from English class. There were the popular kids. There were the athletes, and the brains, and those who may have gotten into... let's say interesting situations. Many were talking about going or mentioning something from the past. 

And once again I felt that anxiety of wanting to be a part of "the" group. The difference was this time I was choosing to not be. 

I have social anxiety anyway, so going would have been excruciating, but seeing pictures and hearing how much fun those that went had, makes me feel like I missed out. 

Looking at the pictures I find myself zooming in on name tags or being happy when people are "tagged". They look familiar but once I see a name I think, "Duh! They haven't changed." 

Of course they have. Many have extra weight. Some have less hair. All have a few more wrinkles. But the eyes are the same. The smiles are the same. I see the 18 year olds in them that I see in myself when I look in the mirror. Bon Jovi has a song in which he sings, "Not old...Just older..".  That's us. 

We may have classified each other as jocks, or dweebs, or druggies 30 years ago, but now we are ...
husbands, wives, lovers, mothers, fathers, or care givers. We are all strugglers and survivors

Hopefully I can convince our old tribe to go next time. 

After all we are all the La Porte Slicers Class of 1987.