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28 April 2010

Losing History

Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to listen to a Holocaust survivor speak about her experiences in russian Poland and the concentration camps. I've read so many books of survivor accounts and Holocaust experiences; it really is a point of special research interest for me. I find the everlasting hope and perseverance of the Jews (and other groups) in this period to be so very remarkable and inspiring. But never in my 30 years have I had the opportunity to speak to a survivor. Happily my school has had a survivor as a guest speaker for the past 13 years. I found coverage for my classes and seized the opportunity to listen in.

It was amazing. And inspiring. And devastating. And hopeful. And moving. I found myself tearing up on multiple occasions. Her story was so ... amazing. To think that a young girl of 13 years or so lived through such a harrowing experience leaves me speechless. I've read enough and seen enough documentaries to know that the experience really happened to so many but to put a tangible face with the experience was shocking and made so much more of an impact on me that all of the things I have ever read or seen. Our kids here at CA are lucky to have the experience.

Unfortunately, I left the talk with more than just the impact of her speech. I left with impact of not having her speech. Let me explain. The lovely Mrs. Abramson (the speaker) was in her very early teens when she experienced the Holocaust. That means that she is currently in her 80s or beyond. She won't live forever, and it is evident that her memory is beginning to fail her (which is a blessing in its own right. I'm sure that the horrible images of her experience still play on her eyelids when she closes her eyes at night.). Recognizing that she won't be around much longer to tell her account reminds me that this so very important moment in history will eventually fade into a memory. Someday there will be no more survivors to recount their experiences and warn future generations. Eventually the Holocaust will become no more than a chapter (hopefully lengthy!) in a history book and will become completely removed from our students. Without putting a living breathing face to the experience, it seems less real. It will become like the Civil War. A moment in history that could never happen again. Yes, many survivors have recorded their experiences on video and audio, but that still is so removed. Being able to approach Mrs. Abramson after hearing her harrowing account and put your arms around her and feel her kiss your forehead carries so much more impact than a textbook or video ever can.

One can only hope that the Holocaust remains vivid in history books, and we continue to learn from that tragic and horrendous moment in world history.

22 April 2010

Spring is in the freakin' air

Yes, my title expresses the exasperation and frustration that I currently feel for my students.

Don't get me wrong. I love my kids. They are sweet and genuine and all around great kids. However, spring has sprung and with it has come their hormones. In full force. It's not just spring though. There have been a few other contributing factors. First, last Friday night was the last middle school dance, and love was certainly in the air. Practically every 6th grader I teach has fallen in and out and back into love in the past five days. All they can think of is their current boy/girlfriend and kissing. Lots and lots of kissing. (Of course, I think that the majority of the "kissing" going on is more imagined than real ...) Secondly, the health classes are teaching sex ed. (Seriously, people? Can you say "bad timing?") The 6th graders have had to watch "The Video" this week. In case you aren't aware, "The Video" is all about conception to birth. It shows everything from the fertilization of the egg (minus penetration, of course. That would make it porn!) The video even shows birth ... which seems to have traumatized some of our kiddies. :) All of these factors combined have led to a total drop off in interest and attention. I've yelled at my kids more this week than I have this entire year combined! I love them all, but I don't remember being this way at all when I was their age. (Of course, I don't really remember being that age at all.) I just want June to be here. Now.


20 April 2010

Florida Recap

LL and I ventured down to Florida to visit with Mom and Dad last weekend, and we had a fabulous time! I haven't seen LL since August and hadn't seen Mom and Dad since Christmas, so it was a wonderful opportunity to relax and catch up with people I love. As usual, we had a fantastic time and I took some pics to share!

I hate the way Blogger uploads pics. These sunsets should be (appropriately) at the end, but, alas, they popped up first.

Mom and Popo on our boat trip on the bay.
LL, Cousin Jennifer, and me.
Me trying to look stylish on the boat.
There was a bald eagle nest on an island in the bay!
Jennifer and Pup-Pup bonded!
Jennifer and LL.
Mom and my shadow on the beach.
The ocean and some shells.
In the Robinson Reserve, there were a TON of crabs along the water's edge. It looked like the earth was moving!

An ibis was making a nice meal of the crazy crabs.
More Mom and Popo.

Hanging Pots

All of my plants have been established in their happy little pots and are growing happily in the sun. My morning glories have even started to wind their way around the spindles on my porch. I can't wait until they develop some buds and start to bloom. My strawberry plants even have 15 little tiny strawberries growing on them!! In a few more weeks, I'll have some sun-warmed strawberries to snack on. Yeah!

Of course, no MaryBeth-lanai is complete without a few hanging plants. I picked up two at the farmer's market a few weeks ago, and they are growing so nicely! And they smell so wonderful when I go out to enjoy the sunshine! Here are a few pics of their beauty ...

You know spring is here ...

When gerbera daisies are in bloom at The Fresh Market. I couldn't resist picking up some this afternoon when I was buying fruit and snacks (including, of course, Pirate Booty!)

03 April 2010

Hi Ho, San Diego!

Actually, that title would have worked better a week ago when I was leaving for San Diego, but oh well. I tried. I'm currently in the airport waiting for my flight back to NC and reality. Booo! The trip was fantastic and I took WAY too many pictures. 1,048 to be exact! Those will be shared later. I'm too tired to worry about it right now.


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