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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Gradual Change

We pulled into the driveway of my sister's Texas City home around 12:00 P.M. and for the next 10 hours; it seemed everyone had to tell us what went on in their lives since the last time we saw in November of last year. In one way it was sad because a funeral brought us together but there was plenty of time for laughter and catching up.

My brother in-law was grilling the last steak as we were pulling up, and he said to go inside, and that he would meet with us in a couple of minutes. After blowing our diet, we went into the living room where the television was on but no one was watching or listening to it until we all saw a long line at a Houston AT&T lighting up to get the latest in iPhone 5. That set- off my 82-year-old brother-in- law, so for the next hour or so; we took a trip down memory lane.

He started telling us about his boyhood days where his feet were so rough, that he never felt any pain while running on the old gravel roads. He had us both wondering if the old sticker burrs were still around because we haven't seen them for ages. We recalled the old grass spears that we used to chuck at our friends. We didn't know if they were still around, but our wives reminded us that it has been quite a while since we old coots have been on the ground.

When the ladies left the room, he proceeded to tell me stories about my grandparents, uncles, and a lot of stuff I just vaguely remembered. He told me about the downtown Deluxe Club, where I remember my stepdad taking me after paying the utility in person and in cash. He said that he was probably at the club at the time, but he was in the back, playing in a high-stakes poker game. He told me everyone in town knew where you could buy after- hour booze on Plantation Road, and another one was somewhere in Dutch Lane. There was no fear of the sheriff's department closing them down because that's where they got their beer after they got off. He said the really high-stakes poker games were up on upper Mission Valley road and slot machines could be found at any CWA or VFW hall and then he swore up and down that it was common knowledge that our old Sheriff Monty Marshall, would give the local clubs a heads up anytime the Texas Rangers told them about an upcoming raid. He said only time, there was trouble is when the wives would complain to a higher authority because their husbands were gambling with the family grocery money.

We left at 5:00 P.M. for the funeral home where we would spend the next two hours visiting before the priest came to give the rosary. About 8:30 that same night, we went to another family gathering where the crowd was much younger.

Two of my nephews said they were laid off and were rehired six months later, to do the same work but this time as contract labor, at a lesser wage with no benefits. They said that they learned what it was to walk in someone else's shoes. They used to look down at the contract labor because the contract labor would often do the menial jobs, so that the conventional employees could be trained for the more technical jobs. He said the only difference now is that the company no longer hires typical permanent employees where they usually have to pay benefits and a higher wage. They both did what they had to do to retain their homes, but they admit they were lucky.

Change is gradual because, when my wife told me that she wanted to be cremated; I was against it because of religious and family tradition. I had a change of heart yesterday and little did I know that I was the last one to come to that decision. In Houston, which serves that area and Galveston, there is a 2 to 3 day waiting period because they have a lot more bodies to tend to. The visitation is the same, which is really for the family, there is no religious objection to it, and you eliminate those next-day burial services. I certainly don't have anything against traditional burial services but this may be another practice that may be gone in the future.

Changes are gradual and we can either accept them or fight them, but it's inevitable.


Mike said...

Speaking of change,my daughter was really mad the other day because they will no longer allow her to give students a grade below 70.

She's think of dropping down a grade a or two so she can go back to what she signed up to do...Teach, evaluate and teach until everyone gets it.

Edith Ann said...

And to do it with 24 kids in the class...

born2Bme said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
born2Bme said...

The "Two of my nephews..." paragraph made me think of Alcoa. I think it's what they are starting to do.

born2Bme said...

hmmmm, don't know whay that posted twice.

Mike said...

I can't explain it born, I went in there to delete your extra comment and the cartoon insert disappeared.
Thanks for the Alcoa info, I didn't know that.

24 students per classroom is the straw that will break the camel’s back!

born2Bme said...

I don't know. When I was in school, we had an average of 30 kids per classroom and it was never a problem.
Of course, back then, schools were allowed to punish kids and you didn't see kids act like they do now.

Edith Ann said...

When we went to school born, special needs kids weren't being mainstreamed, classrooms were physically bigger and kids had recess and PE to burn off some energy. It is the K thru 5th that have the limits.

My cousin teaches at one of the 'new' elementaries, and she said she cannot squeeze another desk in the room. She said this is the smallest room she has ever taught in in over 25 years.

I seem to recall that the new schools would help with the over crowding problem. Ha! Another fallacy sold to the tax payers!

Rebecca said...

I remember when kids were also ability grouped. That way, a teacher could have a classroom of students all at about the same level. (Now, a teacher would be punished if she had a group of slower students.) Even within those classrooms the students were ability grouped. I remember being in a group of readers and hearing another group of kids in my class working on phonics. We knew we were ahead.

Oh, I remember we had more than one teacher in our class.

(This was the 70s)

I can't imagine trying to teach 20+ students of varying abilities/disabilities and levels all at one time. It sounds crazy and very NON efficient.

It makes more sense to put readers in one class and non readers in another and within those classes work with smaller groups based on reading level.

Mike said...

I'll admit that I don't know all the merits of a small student/teacher ratio but it makes mathematical sense from a novice point of view. I do realize that we are in a world of “making the mostess with the leasseast."..You're telling your age if you remember that saying.

I see a lot of value in school vouchers but not if the goal is to forget those remaining in public schools.

I like the editorial by our superintendent, Robert Jahlich, in this morning’s Victoria Advocate.

Mike said...

What a great start this morning, beautiful weather, a couple of good articles in today's paper, and I attended a mass that celebrated the Czech heritage. I did get a pretty good laugh and it had something to do with what EA said the other day, “you snooze lose."...We" early goers” were made aware that the mass would be spoken in half English and half Czech... This lady popped in the pew in front of me just as the visiting priest started the proceedings. She was looking frantically throughout her missalette (booklet that contains, the prayers, songs, and other text that will used for today's service) to see what page he was on. I wonder what was going through her mind because she didn't know that he was speaking The priest encouraged us find out what our heritage was, learn about it, embrace it and teach others. He said no matter how much some people try to run away from their heritage, it's part of what they are. It starts the understanding process.

It's completely off topic but I wanted to write this down so I did not forget it...:-)

Edith Ann said...

But, Rebecca--that does not make us feel good about ourselves! (Like being a poor readers in a group of good readers does!)

Yes--inefficient. Very good description!

Rebecca said...

Something else I remember from when I was in school: we tried to be in the top class and group. We must not have been the only ones. I can remember one year, a little boy got moved over to our class. We asked him how he "got smart." He said that over the summer his grandmother had worked with him and helped him memorize all of his math facts. He's an engineer now. He probably had it in him the whole time, but he was a late bloomer, educationally.

Mike said...

I love those late bloomers..I've here a lot of "late bloomer" success stories....I believe when it all comes together and understandable,the late bloomers hunger for more learning.

Mike said...

Excuse please " it's I've heard of "...Its obvious I wasn't a current or late bloomer..:-)

dale said...

Neat recollections, I hadn’t thought of “spear grass” in ages. I was always the kid with the spear grass stuck to my shirt after recess. Am I wrong in my recollection that the poker game was located on the Lower Mission Valley Road? We used to go to see my Uncle Joe who lived on the ranch next door to the old Spanish Mission. I guess this was the early or mid-sixties. I remember Saturday evenings the "domino" hall parking lot was filled to over flowing. Then all of a sudden it was vacant. I remember Uncle Joe saying the hall had been raided.

Did you watch the 60 Minutes interview of our two superb presidential candidates? Maybe you will give us the 100 word wrap up. I had a more pressing activity. My wax beans were sprouting. Next time the Rs would be wise to shorten the campaign season down to 11 months, total. After 2 years all these candidates start rubbing on us like finger nails on the chalk board. Mr. Romney reminds me of the old Uncle with the gas problem. He is starting to stink, and always shows up at dinner time. ;) BTW The GOP Executive Meeting is being held at noon today. Come on over Mike, if you have nothing to do. Your precinct chair may be vacant and we could always find something to keep you occupied.

Mike said...

It could have been Lower Mission Valley Road,Dale.

I didn't get to watch the 60 Minute interview;I set the recorder but the Steeler v Raider game went into OT and there went that.

After i get back,I write a few words about the 18 question ltr in our paper or a summary of the talk shows yesterday...I've got a routine Dr. appt. in 30 minutes.

No thanks,local politics give me