Moline Memories - MHS 66 Friends

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Adam Sandler To Move to Moline

He could entertain our 50th reunion!

Adam Sandler is Moving to Moline, Illinois

MOLINE, Illinois – In a huge surprise to everyone in Los Angeles, Hollywood actor Adam Sandler reveals in a new interview that he is moving to the Moline, Illinois area. He tells the magazine that he is “tired of the L.A. lifestyle” and is looking for a big change in life.
“I’m just tired of the L.A. lifestyle and I feel like, at this point in my life, I’d rather just live in a place full of real, genuine people. I’ve been to Moline, Illinois a couple of times over the years and the people there are real… they’re genuine, and yeah every community has its problems but the people there are good, decent people and they care about their community. Those are the things I find most important in deciding where to live,” Sandler told the magazine.
“I’m not retiring, I’m just looking for a change in life and I think I’ve found that in Moline,” Sandler reassured fans. Let us know what you think in the comments section especially if you’re a resident of the Moline, Illinois area and click the share button below to share with friends.

 He is going to enjoy the eating - Lago's and Whitey's,
but he is too late for Melo Cream.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Teacher's Day - Part III - My Wife the Teacher.
Mother's Day

Our son is in this photo with my father,
but he looks exactly like his son at that age.
See Batman below.

My wife Christina was trained to be a German teacher at Augustana College, and she lived in Germany to learn more and become especially fluent. Later she earned a master's degree in German literature at the University of Waterloo, a tough program where all the reading was in German - and  so were most of the lectures.

I was one of her first students. She thought I should learn German, and I took plenty of courses at Augustana in German, and she took Greek - based on my suggestion. I was not a natural in languages, but I thought they were important to learn, so I took Greek and more Latin.

Every mother is a teacher, and Chris devoted herself to teaching our children all the time. She gave her language abilities to our son, and gave our daughters a special love for conversation and laughter. Bethany and Erin Joy could not talk, but they spoke with their eyes, laughter, smiles, and tears. Story time was so important we even phoned up story time from a special number.

All three children heard stories, listened to books read, and enjoyed group lovey time. There are many ways to teach.

My wife Chris decided that learning itself was good, not something received at a school, even though she substitute taught at various schools. Learning happened all the time, which is how we talked her into an Atari game computer - for education. "They have all kinds of programs to teach math and everything else."

That little game computer turned into a career. Today, we had the best time talking about the latest advances.

I remember Chris driving Little Ichabod to the community college for classes, very early, as I mentioned before. We home-schooled, which was a great experience. I got to tutor him in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and he tutored his classmates in Latin and Greek.

My wife and I love literature, so we had a home full of literature, classical music, and hymns. When I read stories, I insisted on junior editions of literature or classic children's stories, like Wind in the Willows. We read Tolkien and Lewis too.

The wonderful thing about a wife and mother working at home is the astonishing amount of education that comes from that experience. During Fiddler on the Roof being played on the record player, the young groom sang "Miracle of miracles, God gave you to me." At that point our toddler ran over and kissed his mother. During the "Fifteen Birds in Five Fir Trees," song from The Hobbit record, he danced. I was in my office downstairs and heard the song and the feet thumping - so much fun.

Chris was always looking for ways to get the best education for LI. Various opportunities worked out, and we found ways to work around the drones and drudges in education.

I had to say at one school, "It is better to deserve honors than receive them." That was where the school secretary controlled the principal and decided on giving awards to the dumbest - truly a practical education in how the world works, even in putative Christian schools.

WELS had some excellent teachers in Shakespeare (Oxford), math, and science. Chris was 100% for that, since we thought an education was valuable in itself, not a way to earn a ton of money. A great liberal arts education is now The Thing in careers, because people with a broad education are better at thinking through problems and solving them. And they can articulate ideas in good English, a real bonus today.

Teaching mothers become teaching grandmothers, which means enrollment in a mutual admiration society.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Teachers' Day - Part II - The Famous Gladys Jackson Meyer - My Mother

Gladys Parker - 1930 - 17 years old.
Yesterday was Teachers' Day, so I decided to write another post about my mother, the teacher.

She began by going to Normal, Illinois, where the teachers' college was. Apparently the town was named after the school, since teachers' schools were given that name. That led to a hilarious newspaper headline about a Normal girl being engaged to an Oblong man.

Growing up on a farm where electricity came to them and changed their lives, my mother was always interested in science. Her father earned an agricultural degree at the U. of Illinois but lost the farm during FDR's imperial rule in the Great Depression.

Gladys Parker - 1931 - Co-ed, probably at Normal.

A teacher's education meant one year at Normal and teaching in one-room country schools, with all ages packed together. My mother took great pride in her experience in those basic schoolrooms. She was sorry to see consolidation take over.

Mom graduated from Augustana in 1930.

As I recall, it took her 10 years to complete her bachelor's at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. My wife, sister-in-law, and I also attended Augustana. Apparently that allowed her to get a job in the Moline system, and the picture below seems to indicate she bought the family home before meeting my father.

This is our home on 18th Street A, which my mother thought would be great
painted red. From that time on I could direct people to our house as
across from Wharton Field House, the red one.

We were just four blocks from Garfield Elementary, so Mom went back to teaching once my little brother was in Kindergarten there. We were surrounded by teachers and education. I was often in the school early, sometimes parked in the school library, and frequently at PTA meetings or teachers' meeting at our home.

Our bedroom wall was papered with maps we could study at our leisure. Guy Johnson, who came over many times, thought the map wall was very cool.

We had books galore in the house. My mother subscribed to several books series for us, and I read them all. In the basement we had some very exotic story books, and she read stories to us at bedtime.

We had quite a few pets: cats, dogs, rats from the schoolroom, two possums, and a skunk named Hilda. Watching feline labor on the kitchen floor is quite an education. Our rats had babies, too, but that was not so dramatic.

The rats proved their cleverness by escaping and retrieving food. I saw Mr. and Mrs. Rat bringing an apple down the stairs together, one above to push, Mr. Rat below to catch, step by step. Another time a hardened slice of bread was carried across the kitchen floor, lifted up and set down, click, click, click. Scandalously, one rat slid out of the cereal box when my brother poured it into his bowl. We called it Rat Krispies, The Only Cereal That Goes Snap, Crackle, and Squeak!

People would ask us if we really had (fill in the animal) living at our house. Some stories were especially fun to tell, depending on the animal and the audience.

Like many teachers at Garfield, my mother was so influential that my friends still talk about her today, roughly 55 years after having her as a teacher in sixth grade. She loved children and loved to teach them. Long after she retired, people in Phoenix would tell me how she was teaching children on her walks.

She read voraciously about:
  1. South America.
  2. Strange theories, which were sometimes verified later.
  3. Velikovski.
  4. Detective stories.
  5. Nature and animals. Beneficial bugs, wild flowers, butterflies, moths.
  6. Rocks and minerals.
  7. All areas of science.
  8. The formation of the English language.
When I inherited her books, every single one had a review from the Chicago Tribune, taped carefully into the front.

When I had to write about the Civil War for a school project, she said, "Try these files." She had an enormous collection, which I used to get an A++ for my two-volume (notebooks) effort. Needless to say, she was always promoting education over sports. She even had one class build a float showing the girls leaving the football star for the scholar.

She published about school projects in educational magazines, about moths in a photography magazine. She wrote books on phonetic reading and spelling skills, just as it was fading away in schools but being picked up in Christian schools.

My mother got to be a great-grandmother,
holding Josephine, wearing a photo button of her.

Some Anecdotes
Some teachers went to the principal and said, "Gladys is taking a nap in the nurse's office each day!" He responded, "If you came as early as she does every day and stayed as late as she does every day, I would arrange a cot in the nurse's office for each one of you." She repeated that story with great relish.

My mother graded quickly, thoroughly, whenever homework was there to be done. She graded at school and graded at home.

Like the other teachers, she decorated her room for each season. Everything was in packets and in order. She had Thanksgiving, Christmas, and patriotic displays. The other Garfield teachers were equally creative and dedicated. And the same women taught Sunday School at their churches - happy to do it, too.

The son of another teacher was not going to go to the principal's office, and he resisted with all his strength. That was a mistake to resist a teacher who once tossed hay bales on the farm. She dragged him bodily into the principal's office, a spectacle I watched. Mr. T would say, "I pity the fool." My mother swore me to secrecy.

No student got the best of my mother in school, so she was often entrusted with those who were difficult to teach, before alternative schools were started. She said, as a teacher at Coolidge Junior High, "Only if I get permission to hit the kids." The principal almost fainted. "You have to get written permission." She did, and she whacked them when needed.

This is the Panama project that created an engineer.

One student who got the rock ring treatment more than once talked about it at the last reunion. I said, "My wife is wearing it." He went over and said, "Hit me with the ring, for old time's sake." She did, and he laughed about how my mother straightened him out and got him involved in engineering from a sixth grade class project on the Panama Canal. He later visited the Panama Canal as an engineer, and told us, "That school project got me interested in engineering. And our project worked exactly like the real thing."

My mother often used the knuckles on the head treatment. That hurt for a time, as I experienced, but was seldom needed after that. It was not the physical punishment that mattered as much as the resolute will behind it.

Although I threw erasers and gum packets at a few college students, I never touched one and never needed to. They soon learned. I heard from college students that I was the only one to enforce discipline in the classroom when someone was disruptive or playing with digital toys. Somehow I got that reputation at four institutions.

I got the spit treatment once. I spit at someone and my mother made me spit into her hand, again and again. Then she rubbed my spit all over my face. That ended the spitting temptation. A friend at a reunion told me about X getting the spit treatment after he spat at another student. Shortly after that, not knowing about the story told me, the spitter said, "You should write a book about your mother. She was a remarkable woman."

I thought that was quite a testimony from someone who could have whined about being mistreated. In those days, parents stood up for teachers. Like my parents, if it was a choice between me and the system, always bet on the system.

Liz Copeland attended her mother's retirement party.
Coach of the year is in the top row - Lawrence Eyre,
cited in Sports Illustrated for his tennis teams.

He also taught English.

My benefit was just happening to get the best teachers all the way through the system. The only one I missed was Mrs. Copeland, who was loved as much as my mother was at Garfield. To this day I enjoy hearing daily from her daughter Liz, who was two years behind my class.

Garfield is closed now, but...

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Today Is Teachers' Day

Like many in our 50th reunion class, Moline High School, 1966, I remember the teachers from elementary school the best. I went to Garfield, now closed, and remember those teachers and the school with great fondness. In fact, when someone thought another Moline elementary school was dominant on Facebook, I began listing all the names from Garfield, just from our class. Others chimed in and named more.

My mother taught there, so we often trooped to school on foot and sometimes enjoyed a car trip. Within a short distance was Whitey's Ice Cream, Wharton Field House, Hasty Tasty Restaurant, and Teske's Hardware Seed and Feed (now Teske's Pet and Garden).

A notorious candy store was in the same neighborhood. I was warned not to go there, which made the candy even sweeter. The place looked a bit seedy but nothing ever happened there.

Walking to school meant going by Guy Johnson's home. Several of us collected and read comic books of all kinds. Classics Illustrated taught me the plots of all the famous works of literature. In time I owned all that were in print. Superman was another favorite, and it became part of my PhD dissertation, since the early Superman was a  clear example of the Social Gospel Movement.

Parents frowned upon Superman to some extent, the Three Stooges even more, TV most of all (when they were not hogging the set themselves), and various other evil influences, like Mad Magazine.

Most of all I remember being surrounded by teachers. We had teachers at our home countless times, a teacher's daughter, Liz Copeland visiting, teachers' stories, teachers' complaints, PTA meetings at Garfield - total immersion in teaching. Th PTA meetings featured potlucks with an endless supply of desserts, none of which escaped my attention.

Some meetings meant I had to be babysat by the Garfield Library. It was a small room filled with the best books. There I read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I enjoyed the elephant book so much that I eventually read all that were in the school or shelved elsewhere. I recently bought one for myself because I still enjoyed it so much -   and later sent it to a church member's daughter. Everyone should love that story.

Books were everywhere - in every classroom. Garfield teachers read to us. My mother read to us at night. Later I read to our children, and our son read to his.

The teachers I remember best from Garfield -

I even remember being taken in for an interview for Kindergarten, which Mrs. Steelman taught. I was going "early" since I turned five in October. Apparently I passed the oral exam and started a few weeks young. In Kindergarten I hated naptime and got in trouble for talking and fidgeting. We slept on our individual rugs, which were obsolete once we passed into the maturity of First Grade.

I felt so teeny-tiny with the big kids of Sixth Grade around. One of them boosted me up for a drink from the fountain. As a son of the Mrs. Jackson, I always got special treatment from the big kids who loved her classes. I grew up with kids of all ages saying, "Your mom was my favorite teacher!"

She was not alone in that regard. Mrs. Copeland was also loved by her students. We had one at Garfield who was simply crazy as a hoot owl. I was never allowed to criticize a teacher, but I did a great imitation of Mrs. Daily, which made my mother burst into laughter.

Mrs. Parks was my First Grade class, but I have few memories of that year. She was very kindly and I may have had her twice, for third grade as well. If only I could ask my mother.

Mrs. Woods was my Second Grade teacher. I remember the kids from that class quite well. Mrs. Woods looked like everyone's beloved grandmother, and I can still hear her voice in my head. Like all the teachers at Garfield (except one), she loved her students. She read stories to us in class and taught us how to read. I loathed Dick, Jane, and Sally and their rabid dog Spot.

After that year I began to read voraciously, so the Moline Public Library also babysat me at times.

Fourth Grade meant I had the fascinating Mrs. McMillan. She was in the Philippines or near them during WWII. Her son and I palled around for a time.

Hallie Emory taught Fifth Grade. She looked fierce and took no guff from anyone, but she poured herself out for all her classes and gave us so many things to learn. She set up the Good Citizens Club, where we elected officers and practiced Roberts Rules of Order. Later I dealt with adults who never caught on to Roberts Rules or why those rules were articulated.

Miss Maynard struck me as rather grim and humorless, so our gang made a point to have fun in Sixth Grade. I have often told on Facebook how our gang drove a substitute teacher nuts one day. Unfortunately, she was the wife of our minister at First Christian. Needless to say, I was the focus of considerable wrath when my mother found out.

The Garfielders did very well in adult life, and I give our teachers the credit for laying the foundation for our educations and careers.

In our class - 

Three of us went to Yale University for graduate school, certainly far beyond statistical predictions.

One became a physician, perhaps the only one in the senior class of around 750.

Two earned PhDs

One went to Broadway.

I am sure many more accomplishments could be listed, but I do not have the data on everyone. One thing is sure about the Moline public school system of the time - we had all the opportunities of the finest private schools, thanks to local industry and the dedication of the teachers.

When I had to use base two in computer science, my fellow students in Phoenix were perplexed. They had to count 0, 01, 10 and figured out what 11111111 meant. And hexadecimal? How could ff be 11111111 and 255? It was old stuff for me.

I am sure many others could add to this. When I get tired of teaching and grading and dealing with educational supervisors who do neither, I think of the graphic at the top. We are the result of teachers who never knew where their influence would stop.