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.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Found Truth

I vividly remember being 6 years old and being on the back porch with my 5'4 mom while she switched the laundry from the washer to the dryer. I remember my 6'4 brother saying something smart alecky to my mom. And I remember my mom telling him, "You're not too big for my to turn over my knee and spank your butt."

That left a huge impression on me. I decided I would be "the good one."

My brother was the oldest.
My oldest sister was funny and happy.
Next sister was the gloomy one.
the Next sister died when she was 5 and became the one we didn't talk about.
Then me.
And last my younger sister who was -- then-- "the baby" and just annoying.

My role would be - to be "good".

And I have been.

The Love Languages talk about how we all have ways we prefer to be affirmed.

Physical Touch-- Camp made me more of a hugger and I tend to offer hugs if I think someone "needs" one, but (maybe it's so many years in K-2 where your body is fair game for poking and prodding) I do not seek to be touched.

Quality Time-- I am an introvert. Time isn't necessary, and in some cases, more stressful.

Gifts and Acts of Service make me feel like I need to reciprocate.

So that lead to Words of Affirmation. I'm the "good one". I do the right thing and I like people to recognize that.

But for the first time last week I realized that I not only want to be recognized for doing the right thing, I seek out doing things that will bring me that recognition.

I bend over backward to do things for others. At work, I never take off, because I don't want to let any one down. We get 2 personal days a year and 6 sick days. My sick "bank" has 63 days in it after 10 years. I volunteer to fill in for those who do take time off. I stay late. I work at home for free because I am an only an Instructional Assistant.

Friday I had a scheduled half day because I had to take my son to a doctor's appointment. There were 3 other assistants who were gone. I stayed through my usual lunch and recess duty because I didn't want to make things difficult-- even though I should have left before lunch duty.
I volunteered to stay through 1st grade to cover. Another assistant told me she could cover first grade. Knowing it would affect her ability to take her own lunch I resisted a bit.

Did I want to be recognized for being a martyr?

Yes. Yes I think I did.

How crazy is that?

I think I feel like I have to go big to be recognized. I think this is  mainly because "Thank you," is used so infrequently. And when it is used, it is a general, "Thank you for all you do." directed to a group of which I happen to  be a part.

That is not enough.

"Thank you for putting so much effort into planning your reading intervention. I know you spent your own money and time in doing that," would mean the world to me, because it would let me know I have been seen.

I realized last week just how invisible I have felt under past leadership. Our new principal is so much better. She gave me some of that affirmation last week before my "martyr Friday." I think that is what allowed me to finally see how desperate I had become.

Now what?

I still want to be the good one so I will still volunteer. However, I will also think before I put myself last.

The lesson to others would be to recognize that there is a difference between genuine, specific recognition and manipulation and those of us who appreciate recognition are keenly aware of the difference.

Monday, April 3, 2017

A day's work

When a group of volunteers come together, it's amazing what can be accomplished in a single day.

Friday, March 31, 2017

I made it!

It is day 31 and I wrote every day. There were so many days I had nothing to say. There were days I barely posted in time. There were days I couldn't begin to say all I wanted to say because there was no way to protect the guilty.
But I did it. 31 days of posting.

Going forward will be the trick. In honoring my OLW: Voice, I need to decide if I post every day or only when I have something pressing to say.

Time will tell.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Shopping- A "short" moment in time

I forgot she was the cashier I want to avoid.

She is the one better suited to "Greeter".
She takes forever to scan.
She talks forever to the people she knows.
She picks and chooses which items she wants to scan, even though I arrange them in categories. Because of this, the belt does not advance and I have to wait to put more items on the belt.

I forgot I didn't like her lane until I had things on the belt.
The conversation with the person in front of me was about selling your house "as is" because you can't get back the money you put into it. And how their kids are doing. And the great grandkids.

When it was finally my turn, she slowly scanned the items. Didn't advance the belt. And she wasn't able to to lift the water bottles, case of Coke, or kitty litter at the end, so she walked around the counter. I usually lift these items to be scanned, but thought this would be faster.
Not so much.

Finally, it was time to pay.
Or I tried as I always have --when swiping was allowed...
I tried while she was scanning.
You see, a new bank card was sent to me because apparently the chip is better.
 I have activated it and used it other places.

 I inserted it. Error. And the second time I got an Error. Swiping didn't work either. I tried my regular credit card with the same result. She came around and tried. Then she said I had to wait until she finished scanning before using it. She continued to pick
 and choose

 and scan.

Finally she was done and I tried again. Same result. Another cashier who was setting up at the next register came and tried with the same no result.
And again.

 She asked my cashier if she had my total up. My lady said she didn't know where she was in the process. She hit a couple of buttons and the total appeared again. The Second cashier tried chip again. And again. And swiped
and Ta Dah!
It worked.

I got my receipt and I left to the torrential downpour that had been falling all morning, and that would continue to fall all day, thinking "if I won the lottery we don't play...

I would so hire a personal shopper!"