Skip to main content

Deuteronomy

I know how to spell Deuteronomy,  Obviously; since I just wrote it, and you're now reading it.  But I've known how to spell Deuteronomy since I was five years old.

I didn't go to preschool but started kindergarten at a small private school called Emmanuel Lutheran.  It was located 1/2 a block away from my home and I was able to walk to school every day.  Almost all of the neighborhood children attended the same school.  My parents were very involved.  And everyone knew everyone.

My third grade class on a field trip to Williamsburg, VA
I'm the TERRIFIC one in the front.  

I'm not sure what the magic equation was.  Involved parents.  Small classes.  Excellent curriculum.  Great teachers.  Caring environment.  But every child that attended that school excelled academically and learned most importantly to be kind.

A lot of our reading was from the Bible.  I remember sitting in class, very young, maybe five or six years old, and children struggling through what I like to call The Begats of the Bible as we all took turns reading aloud.  Arphaxad, Shelah, Eber, Peleg, Joktan.  Those are some tough sounds for little kids from Virginia to tackle.  But I also don't remember anyone thinking they were being asked to do anything beyond our capabilities.  Teachers thought we could handle it.  And so we did.  I remember one particular spelling challenge.  And the word I was given was Deuteronomy.  And I remember thinking 'well that's a funny sounding word'.  But I spelled it out loud as I was asked, and I got it right.

Even though Emmanuel was a Christian Lutheran school I don't recall any Christian Dogma, as I think it should be.

My kindergarten teacher was my favourite.  Her name was Joy Hagen.  She was a beautiful smiling hippie with long blonde hair.  She had an acoustic guitar and we all used to sit in a circle and sing along together.  My favourite song was Kumbaya.

In the 1970's autograph books were very popular.  I got one as a gift and asked her to sign it.  And this is what she wrote.

Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
Always Remember

Jesus Loves You

I'll never forget it.

Every autumn there was a big fall festival and we all took hayrides around the church and school property in a big tractor.  We had bake sales, and bobbing for apples and resale fundraisers.  People would bring in things like their old costume jewelry and we'd buy plastic necklaces for a penny.

I wish everyone had a school like Emmanuel to attend.  I don't know how much tuition was but either it wasn't very expensive or they had a lenient and liberal financial aide program because there were definitely students who did not come from wealthy or even middle class families.  I remember one girl in particular.  She was very shy.  My mother and I went to visit her at her home once.  It was probably the first time I was faced with blatant poverty.  From what I could tell the little house was not much more than one large room.  There was an old black coal furnace in the middle of the living area.  Off to the side of the room was a sheet hanging from the ceiling.  I could see her father asleep in bed beyond the sheet partition.  And that was it.

I'll never forget that either.

I was a little obsessed with that girl when I was little.  I used to have these grand daydreams about changing her life.  I wanted to give her a makeover and buy her pretty clothes and turn her into a beautiful swan.  I didn't realize that all I needed to do was be nice to her.

I need that lesson now.  We don't need to do big impressive things to change the world or make someones life better.  All we need to do are simple things.  The easiest things that we often overlook.

Just be nice.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Phoenix

I started keeping an online journal on April 8th, 2002.  15 years ago.  And I blogged continuously and prolifically for about 10 years.  About five years ago my life went through a massive shift.  Some horrible things happened, and some wonderful things happened.  And now, who I am and where I am today are very very different than they were five years ago, and almost not even recognizable to the place and time I inhabited 15 years ago.

After about a year of blogging, someone made a comment on one of my posts that shocked me and touched me and the words have never been forgotten.

... it suddenly feels very important to get all of this out-to make sure that these words I write now are recorded, are saved here in your journal as a means of reminding someone-myself, you, another random stranger who comes through and reads them day/weeks/months/years from now-that there ARE those of us out here who, even if we can't dwell in that state, we can recognize when we see it, and decry the ide…

Fishberry Jam & Kindereggs

Relatively speaking, I was a child of privilege.  Not in the sense of having things, but in being exposed to ideas and experiences.  Education was paramount in my home.  Whether it was what I was learning in the best schools available, or what I was learning organically in the world; In the words of Auntie Mame, "Knowledge is power".

nnnn
Growing up in a nice neighborhood, and attending very good schools, the parents of many of my classmates dressed well, lived in large traditional houses and drove expensive cars, Mercedes seemingly the automaker of choice.  My family also dressed reasonably well, though perhaps not as conservatively.  Our house was of average size, but modern and unusual by community standards.  My father's preferred car of choice was a Volkswagen Beetle.  Powder blue, temperamental and rather beat up looking.  I used to bemoan all of these things:  "Why can't you dress like other parents?  Why is our house so weird?  Why can't you drive a…

Throwing Stars

About five years ago or more I heard the very popular Starfish Story for the first time.  The Starfish Story is an adaptation of an original work called The Star Thrower, written by Loren Eiseley, published in 1969.

In the adaptation, a young girl, unable to change the world, saves the lives of beached starfish, one at a time.  And in doing so, saves their world.

About half a year ago I was watching a youtube video by Lonestar Southern, and she mentioned something called The Starfish Project.  Lonestar Southern is a Texas Fashion Blogger.  The Starfish Project is a line of jewelry you can buy online.  More than jewelry, the Starfish Project is an organization which helps girls and women who have been the victims of sex trafficking is Asia.  They give them a home, they give them counseling and job skills.  The proceeds from the sale of the jewelry, which is also made by these women and gives them a salary, goes to support the ongoing efforts of the project.

Fast forward.  I hadn'…