Tag Archives: WWII

four more

It’s Saturday morning. The forecast is rain – by the time I finish writing it will be raining – and softball will be cancelled, again. O’s game Thursday was cancelled due to wet fields. It’s the same every year, April showers bring May flowers, and softball rainouts.

Last night, I stayed late at school and wrapped up the World War II unit. The WWII test is Monday and then we’ll find out just how much my students have actually learned about America’s involvement in the war. Since we returned from spring break it’s been more and more challenging to get their focus. Most of my students seem to be more focused on ‘four more’ and how many days are left than they are in making them count. It’s a ritual which plays out every year. It’s when I work the hardest.

truman_quote_WWII

April has been busy. We had our annual state testing the first two weeks right after break. After testing, we took a field trip to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. It was excellent and it helped many of our students understand the magnitude of the Holocaust. We study the Great Depression and World War II in social studies and they all read Night by Elie Wiesel in their English Language Arts classes. The last two weeks we’ve been learning about the war – I’ve used video clips from The War by Ken Burns and Band of Brothers to help, but the most significant clip I showed, was yesterday when I screened the video below. The Fallen of World War II from Neil Halloran on Vimeo.

It’s staggering to watch. Continue reading four more

Vivid: memories, colors, and flowers

poppy5
the poppy is a brilliant, vivid orange and yes, that is my foot

It’s Saturday morning and I am finishing a few school tasks before heading out to do some yard work. There is one more day, really two – but only one with kids. It’s been a good year and I had my end of year meeting with my principal Wednesday afternoon, sort of an exit interview – but I’m not leaving. He was new this year and his approach is different from previous administrators. He asked the questions you want to hear, but do not want to answer – but I did anyway. He asked what was good, bad, and ugly. I have many vivid memories of all of them – the whole gamut. In the coming weeks, I’ll be reminded that the good outweighs the bad and the ugly. It was a tough year full of learning and growing for me, and my students. I am not certain who learned more; regardless it’s always a fair trade.

Last week, I posted photos of the peonies along the fence in our backyard. We had rain last weekend and the peonies that had bloomed are beginning to fade and shred. They continue to bloom and provide glimpses of vivid brilliant color from the kitchen window and almost everywhere in the backyard. Earlier this week, the poppies began to bloom. The poppies bright orange bloom is in sharp contrast to the pink and white peony blooms. Continue reading Vivid: memories, colors, and flowers

Peonies and time

It is Thursday, May 28th and it is a beautiful Thursday afternoon. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and everything is right with the world. Well, almost right with the world. B’s out of town helping her mother (BTW, my favorite mother-in-law) transition back home. And, it’s somewhat quiet here – a lonely kind of quiet.

one of B's many peonies - childhood memories
one of B’s many peonies – childhood memories

This morning I noticed B’s peonies had begun to open up and bloom. I made a note to myself to take a few photos and send them to her. Peonies are some of her favorite flowers, her mother’s, too. I did better; posted them to Facebook and then it dawned on me to share them even farther: here. I hope it cheers B and her mother up. It put a smile on my face.   Continue reading Peonies and time

Early Bird – Weekly Photo Challenge

Ivy’s head rests on my knee and she gazes through the window, watching the shadows in the yard searching for movement protecting her home. Her warmth and the coffee help bring the day to life for me.

earlybird

I enjoy getting up early, sipping coffee, and catching the day’s first lights as it creeps across the yard and illuminate the trees. It is quiet in the family room, at least on Sunday morning. Usually, on weekdays, W and I are out the door on our way to school and O is just rising readying for school. However, Sunday morning is different – the day begins much slower and quieter. It is just Ivy and I, peaceful and serene.

There is irony, too. Continue reading Early Bird – Weekly Photo Challenge

Being thankful, the Liebster Award

liebster_awardA couple of weeks ago, my phone buzzed I looked down to see I had a comment posted to my about page and it was from the Undeaddad. He had nominated me for the Liebster award an award given to Bloggers by Bloggers and I am honored. I’ve been at this blogging thing for almost three years and I’ve been mentioned on other blogs a couple of times and given a previous award, but never followed up on it. That’s on my list of to dos or wishes, and I can change them to I wills. More on that later.

I stumbled across the Undeaddad after he had been Freshly Pressed for writing about shoveling snow. It was a great post that encapsulated my feelings about work and pride. He has written several more posts that resonated with me, most recently about ‘date nights’ and children who are picky eaters. If you have time, please give him a whirl.

Continue reading Being thankful, the Liebster Award

Veterans Day – Semper Fi

Today is Veterans Day. It is celebrated on the eleventh day of the eleventh month; the day also marks the remembrance of end of the First World War. There is no coincidence.

Private Robert N. Watkins, USMC, my dad

Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

As a young child, there were two topics, which I constantly read – World War II and football. I could not read enough or learn enough about the war. I was fascinated, and I still am intrigued by history. My dad helped foster this learning and I remember watching Patton at the Palms Theater in third grade. At the time, I thought it was a great movie. I have watched it many times since and have the soundtrack in my music library.  I am listening to it as I write this morning. I still think it is a great movie about a great man, who like many was flawed, but did what was needed when it was needed most. Continue reading Veterans Day – Semper Fi

Memorial Day 2012

It is a beautiful morning and I’m sitting on the deck and enjoying hearing the birds chirp and call each other, the wind rustle the leaves, and watching Ivy inspect the yard to keep us safe from critters of all sorts. It has been a delightful time though I’ve frittered away some prime writing time by thinking, reading, and looking back. Yesterday, William and I went to the Indy 500. It is a family tradition – started by Beth through Beth’s dad, and continued through her brother, Tim. I’ve been going since 1991, and William, since 2004. It was a great race but an even greater day – father and son together enjoying time together and a tradition they share. It was a good time. But, I want to write about today and what it means. Continue reading Memorial Day 2012

New President Car and quiz

It is the final day of February and the month’s answer was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States of America. I will need to call my model railroad dealer to make sure I get the car. The caboose and the Benjamin Harrison car arrived last Tuesday after I posted my last update. Here is this month’s question:

Question for March: Which President graduated from Yale ranking second in his class, taught his wife to speak again after she had a stroke during his presidency and is the only President to have also served as the Chief Justice of the United States?
*All answers must be submitted by email to mtl@micro-trains.com by the March 15th to be eligible.

Good luck and let me know what your answer is! Try entering your name with MicroTrains and see if you can be selected to win Presidential Oath of Office car. Making the Days Count, one day at a time and someday (soon), we will run our trains!

Saturday – President’s Day Weekend 2011

Snow remains in only a few places in the backyard, what a bright sunny February day

Most of the snow has melted leaving only pockets of grey dingy ice piles here and there. Fallen twigs and branches litter the backyard and deck leaving a carpet of brownish grey grass matted from the snow. That is what is left of the yard after twenty or more inches of snow and several days of late winter days in the forties. It is nice outside, thought the sunlight belies that temperatures in the thirties, which will probably remain there all day, at least that is the forecast. Continue reading Saturday – President’s Day Weekend 2011

Christmas week

The schools call it Winter Break, but it really is Christmas Break and the past week has been Christmas week. It has been busy and hectic since school let loose a week ago. We have logged almost 800 miles and have completed two legs of the triangle: Wheaton to Ohio, Ohio to Michigan, with the final leg to finish later this week after New Year’s Day and the trip home. Continue reading Christmas week