Category Archives: Children’s Stories

When I Grow Up

 When I Grow Up

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It stretches forever in front of me.
There, no future happens until I create it.
And that is the power of words
that rub like pieces of gravel in my shoe.
I become less of a child in bearing them,
grow to adolescence as I pry them from my shoe.
In storing them on the page, I become my own creator—
writing a new world with each decision of word.
On the page, I can, if I so choose,
grow up again and again.
Each page filled or every edit of the last
becomes another part of me
that tells the same story:
that growing enough to fill the space inside of me
never happens.

Yes, one or two of you have seen it before, but since I had totally forgotten this poem, it’s clear that one advantage of growing up is that you get to enjoy the same things over again with very little memory of them!  This applies to books, movies and even first spouses remarried!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/ballerina-fireman-astronaut-movie-star/

CAMP ESTRELLA FINAL SHOW!!!!

CAMP ESTRELLA FINAL SHOW!!!!!
(Please click on pictures for a larger view.)

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IMG_2478The final show included the kids from Camp Estrella as well as part of the 153 member kid’s orchestra and chorus from San Juan.  They are the spirited children in white blouses and dark pants. They presented music from Grease, La Bamba and a wonderful spoof where they drew participants from the audience and wound them around the stage area in a long line.  It turns out it was a song about the whole village lining up to buy tortillas in the morning–to buy enough tortillas for 7,000 people from one shop with 7 tortilla machines…The joke is that the people drawn from the audience who took a place were forced to go to the end of the of the line–like newcomers trying to break into the tortilla line.  Much funnier when listening to the lyrics!

The woman doing the scarf dance was Cynthy, one of the counselors.  The woman doing the flamenco was Cindy, the organizer of the camp and the man on the drum and guitar is her husband, David. Other counselors left to right are Audrey to the far left, Juan behind Cynthy, Gloria in polka dots and me! Alicia regrettably left before someone requested we pose for a picture.  She is the exotic Mexican lady standing to the left side of the stage in the picture to the right of the audience shot.

After the show, where all those little girls in bright yellow Camp Estrella T-shirts turned into sophisticated flamenco dancers in exotic dresses and tightly-chignoned hair and all the jostling young boys turned into swelled-breasted young men, every one of them hugged every one of us. Audrey and I vied with each other over who could do the best job of hiding wet eyes and lumps in our throat, and we decided  the 5,000 pesos that the audience gave us to support the camp (the show was free) should be split between the performers. So, we gave each child 100 pesos and gave the rest to the orchestra/chorus.

Counselors were even more richly rewarded by the  memories of working with and getting to know these warm and lovely kids…not to mention the remarkable counselors.  We now count among our friends two new generations of young Mexicans–and feel younger for it and more determined to stay in the flow of life.  Tomorrow we start all over again with another camp in Ajijc, the neighboring town.

Thanks for giving me a platform to share this wonderful Experience.

Now do you know why, if I had a billion dollars, I would spend it to make this sort of experience happen every day for the children of San Juan Cosala?

If you haven’t been following my stories on Camp Estrella, go HERE, HERE or HERE or for more of the story.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/youre-a-winner/

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The wonderful participants in Club Estrella–an equally good experience for counselors and students alike!!!

                    Schooled for Peace, Creativity, Humanity and Prosperity

If I were designing a new school, I would make it as experiential as possible.  Maths would include hands-on experiences.  Children would learn to add and subtract by making change and algebra and geometry would be taught by application to real situations–building or designing jewelry or figuring out how high a wall must be built to block a neighbor’s view. My own education was good, but I never really knew the real purpose of algebra and geometry, even though I won the school math prize!

Chemistry, also, would be taught by showing its application to everyday life–the chemistry of cooking and cleaning, the effect of different fertilizers and pesticides in the garden as well as chemicals in the house.  The interrelation of chemicals and pollution to health and safety would be made common knowledge among students and field trips would be taken to demonstrate the dangers of pollution.

Every student would be taught music and music theory, because I know it has a huge effect on math skills and those skills translate to other subjects as well.  All students would be encouraged to try different forms of art–sculpture, clay and graphic design as well as drawing and painting.  It is my belief that everyone has some artistic skill if they can just find their own particular medium.

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Education should be a dish full of treasures we find it hard to choose between.

Children would be taught a foreign language beginning in nursery school and both boys and girls would take shop and learn basic elements of electricity, plumbing and building.  And, dance.

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But the main thing that I would insist be taught is communication skills.  In every class, group communication would be stressed, and students would be given grades not only according to their own discussion skills, but also in listening and it being responsible in encouraging others to speak.  In  small group discussions, students would take turns recording the flow of conversation, recording how many times each person spoke, how many times they asked questions of other students to draw them into the conversation and in listening skills.  I actually used this system when I was a teacher and it worked remarkably well.  Students developed more respect for each other and there was less bullying when students knew their own grade depended upon including everyone in the conversation and respecting the comments of others.

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I believe in incorporating activities that encourage ethics, kindness and a consideration of the needs and values of other people.  Schools are currently so tied up in standardized testing and performing to a norm that teachers are somewhat hindered in their creativity and the teaching of subjects not directed toward rote learning and performing to purely academic ends, and I think students suffer by this.

Extracurricular subjects often center around competitive sports, many of which are violent in nature and which teach kids to win at all any cost.  Better that they be taught to win at being human beings and to learn to accept the differentness of others.  Perhaps this might help to make a more peaceable world or at the least, a peaceable society.

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Thirty students had thirty different takes on how to create a beautiful mask! (Click to enlarge.)

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Yes, call me a dreamer, but better dreams than nightmares!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The New School.”  You get to redesign school as we know it from the ground up. Will you do away with reading, writing, and arithmetic? What skills and knowledge will your school focus on imparting to young minds?

I chose this prompt offered as an alternative to today’s prompt.

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                                                       On The Run!!!
If a grand slam is, as I think it is, a home run hit over the fence with the bases loaded that thereby also brings in three other runners, then I would say the equivalent in my life would be to find an agent who would find a publisher for all four of my children’s books! I am not a lazy writer, but I am a lazy marketer/promoter.  I would love to find someone to turn that part of my life over to!!!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Grand Slam.” In your own life, what would be the equivalent of a grand slam?

A Small Adjustment at the Fairy Ball

A Small Adjustment at the Fairy Ball

Her gold tiara, finely pearled,
came undone as she danced and whirled
and across the room was often hurled
as the hair that held it came unfurled.
Then her attendant tightly furled
her fairy hair as they fussed and girled.
For the rest of the night, she bowed and twirled,
for now that her hair was tightly curled,
all was right in the fairy world.

The Prompt: Easy Fix—Write a post about any topic you wish, but make sure it ends with “And all was right in the world.”

The Children’s Hour

Okay, I am writing this down by heart, as I remember it.  Then I’ll find a copy and check how well I remember it, putting corrections in parentheses.  Why do I remember this poem that was unfashionable even when I memorized it?  One of her favorites, it was chosen by my mother for me to recite in a contest.  I won with it at school, county and district level and then went to state level where I did not win.  Probably my wrong choice to pronounce “lower” in a manner so as to rhyme with “hour!”

Okay, by heart, mind you, here is the poem:

The Children’s Hour
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Between the dark and the daylight,
when the night is beginning to lower,
comes a pause in the day’s occupations
that is known as the children’s hour.

I hear in the chamber above me,
the patter of little feet,
the sound of a door that is opened
and voices, soft and sweet.

By my lamplight, I see in the darkness (from my study I see in the lamplight)
descending the broad hall stair
grave Alice and laughing Allegra,
and Edith with golden hair.

A whisper and then a silence,
yet I know by their laughing (merry)  eyes
they are plotting and planning together
to take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
a sudden raid from the hall,
by three doors left unguarded,
they enter my chamber wall.

They climb up into my turret,
o’er the arms and back of my chair.
When I try to escape, they surround me.
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
their arms about me entwine,
till I feel like the Bishop of Bingen
in his round tower (mouse-tower) by the Rhine.

Do you think, oh blue-eyed banditos, (banditti)
because you have scaled the wall,
such an old mustache as I am
is not a match for you all?

I have you fast in my fortress
and will not let you depart
but keep you captive forever (But put you down into the dungeon)
in the round-tower of my heart.

And there  will I keep you forever,
yes forever and a day
till the walls have crumbled to ruin
and mouldered, in dust, away.

My mother told me her mother used to read this poem to her and her five sisters.  (Her two brothers were probably off pulling pranks somewhere.)  Whenever her mother would recite the line, “And Edith with golden hair” my mom would cry, because she had a sister named Edith, and my mom wanted golden hair as well.

Although I only met her once, when I was three, I believe my Grandmother was a kind soul and I can’t remember whether my mother told me or I imagined that my Grandmother then altered the line to read, “and Eunice with golden hair” as well.

Now, as to the lines or words I got wrong (after fifty-two years, as I believe I recited this when I was eleven) I am fairly sure that my mother changed that entire line I got wrong, thinking it wasn’t appropriate for a girl of 11 to say the words, “But put you down into the dungeon.” Mother knew best, even over such an illustrious poet as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a fact that probably stunned the judges and led to my eventual upset as South Dakota  poetry champion of outmoded rhyme.

Now, please recite your biggest feat of memory for me in comments!!!

HOLLOW E’EN

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The Prompt: Trick or Trick—It’s Halloween, & you just ran out of candy. If the neighborhood kids (or anyone else, really) were to truly scare you, what trick would they have to subject you to?

Hollow E’en

They pound upon my door and wait outside my wall.
One climbs a tree to peer within. I hope he doesn’t fall.
I cower here within my house. Perhaps they’ll go away.
Though I am not religious, eventually I pray.

Their little voices raise a pitch. They start to bay and howl.
There’s a flutter in my heart region, a clutching in my bowel.
I purchased Reese’s Pieces and miniature Kit Kats
just for all these masked and costumed little brats.

My motives were unselfish. The candy was for them,
for I don’t eat much candy in efforts to grow slim.
And yet that bag of Reese’s, those small Kit Kats and such
called to me from where they were sequestered in my hutch.

It started with a whisper, hissing out their wish:
“We would look so pretty laid out on a dish!”
I knew that they were evil. I knew it was a trap.
I tried hard to resist them, my hands clenched in my lap.

I turned up my computer, listening to “The Voice.”
Those candy bars would not be seen till Halloween—my choice!
My willpower was solid. No candy ruled me.
(If that were true, no kids would now be climbing up my tree.)

Yes, it is true I weakened. I listened to their nags.
I took the candy from the shelf and opened up the bags.
Their wrappers looked so pretty put out for display
in one big bowl so colorful, lying this-a-way

and that-a-way, all mixed and jumbled up together.
No danger of their melting in this cooler weather.
I put them on the table, then put them on a shelf,
so I would not be tempted to have one for myself.

When people came to visit, I put them by my bed.
Lest they misunderstand and eat them all instead.
Then when I was sleeping, one tumbled off the top.
I heard it landing with a rustle and a little “plop.”

I opened up one eye and saw it lying there
just one inch from where I lay, tangled in my hair.
Its wrapper was so pretty—foiled and multi-hued.
Some evil force took over as I opened it and chewed!

This started a small avalanche of wrappers on the floor
as I ripped & stuffed & chewed & swallowed more & more & more!
This story is not pretty but has to be confessed.
My only explanation is that I was possessed.

They pound upon my door and wait outside my wall,
but I have no candy for them. No treat for them at all.
Surrounded by the wrappers, bare bowl upon my lap,
I think I’ll just ignore them and take a little nap.

I hear them spilling o’er my wall and dropping down inside.
I try to think of what to do. Consider suicide.
They’re coming in to get me. Beating down my door.
They are intent on blood-letting—the Devil’s evil spore.

I guess it’s not the worst death a gal could ever get.
I’ve heard of much worse endings than death by chocolate!

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