2/05/2016

If I'd Married a Rich Man



Dear God, you made many, many poor people.
I realize, of course, that it's no shame to be poor.
But it's no great honor either!
So, what would have been so terrible if I'd married a small fortune?

If I'd married a rich man,
Ya da deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
All day long I'd work out for my little biddy bum.
If I'd married a wealthy man.
I wouldn't have to work long hours, sitting at my desk
Ya da deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
Could have retired by now and lost 50 pounds
If I'd married a wealthy man.

I'd have a big tall house with rooms by the dozen,
Right in the middle of the town.
A fine mini mansion with real wooden floors below.
A beautiful pool and a lovely new kitchen, too.
There would be one giant master suite with spa bathroom in the upstairs,
And one even larger in the down,
And one more in the guest house, just for show.

I'd fill my home with decor, art, food and exercise equipment
Just for my family's pleasure. I'd even hire someone to clean and cook all day,
Bitching just as noisily as I can.
With each loud "cheep" "squawk" "honk" "quack"
Would land like a trumpet on the ear,
As if to say "Here lives the wife of a wealthy man."

If I'd married a rich man,
Ya da deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
All day long I'd post things on my blog.
If I'd married a wealthy man.
I wouldn't have to work hard. I could grow a garden and drive around my kids.
Ya da deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
If I'd married a biddy biddy rich,
Yidle-diddle-didle-didle man.

I see my body, my tummy, looking like a rich woman's tummy
With a proper tummy tuck.
Could even get a boob job that would give dear husband his heart's delight.
More dental work, some hair color, maybe even fake nails.
I see him putting on airs and strutting like a peacock.
Oy, what a happy mood he's in.
Bragging to his friends, day and night.

The most important thing is I could pay my kids' tuition!
They wouldn't have to ask me to work two jobs,
I could buy them a car and some books and a vacation.
"If you please, Dear mummy..."
"Got any money, dear mummy..."
I would never have to fear to see the bills!

And it won't make one bit of difference if I go to the store .
When you're rich, your don't have to worry about the credit cards!

If I were rich, I'd have the time that I lack
To sit in my study and read all the books that I want.
And maybe do some volunteer work , too.
And I'd discuss these books with my girlfriends, several hours every day.
That would be the sweetest thing of all.

If I'd married a rich man,
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
All day long I'd biddy biddy bum.
If I'd married a wealthy man.
I wouldn't have to work hard.
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.

Lord who mad the lion and the lamb,
You decreed I should be what I am.
Would it spoil some vast eternal plan?
If I'd married a wealthy man.

The Greatest Gift




The greatest gift any teacher can have is for one or more of their students to take what that teacher has taught , and run with it. To be successful, smart, funny , creative, to use your insights and academic quirky loves and build on them.


For teaching is a love affair - Pygmalion had it right - not only with words and ideas , but with one's whole view of the universe, with knowledge, one's topics, ones students ( and yes, sometimes the sound of one's own voice). Great teachers inspire great learners , and there is no egotistical high quite like hearing your ideas, the seed you planted in some young person's mind, grown and expanded and developed in ways you never thought possible.


Growing up, I had a lot of great teachers - but the one most universally beloved was Magistra Roberts, my high school Latin teacher. Generations of students in Texas were fortunate to learn about Latin, memorize declinsions, all about the titillatingly seamy dark side of ancient Rome, how to translate and compose poetry in a language not your own, and hopefully not incur one of her strange insults, such as to be called a "furry tailed ick" .


I once was at a party some 25+ years long past my high school years, several hundred miles away from where I grew up. Somehow the topic came around to great teachers. Some guy I had never met who was 20 years older than me said, "My favorite teacher was my high school Latin teacher."


"Why that's very unusual, " I replied. "My favorite teacher was MY high school Latin teacher. Where did you go to high school ?" I asked.


"Richardson ," he answered.


"Why, I went to high school in Richardson,"I said. "Which high school did you attend ?"


"Richardson High," he said.


"Oh my gosh ! " I squealed, "I went to Richardson high ! When were you there ?"


"Early 60's, " he said.


"I was there in the late 70's ", I said. "My favorite teacher, my Latin teacher ,was Magistra Roberts. Who was yours ?"


"Magistra Roberts ."


It was then that I knew - this woman had been teaching since the dawn of time, influencing generations of students. Now that is a legacy.


Along my life's journey, there have been many other great teachers in my life- my undergrad ancient history professors, my graduate Shakespeare prof. My first mentor in my first real job right after college.


It was because of these teachers that I quickly figured out that the buisness world was not for me, that a life of teaching was my true calling. I have been teaching now for 20 years.....and , as one of my old profs said to me when I went back to college for a milestone reunion, "it's the early years of your career that you remember most .....the students, what you taught, how you taught it."


And so it is with me. I remember those students from my first few years of teaching as though it were yesterday. They were such bright, talented, funny kids. I was so green . One day, as I stood with my back to the class to write on the board, ( Surviving teaching rule # 3 : Never position yourself so that you can't watch the students at all times . Never.) , the entire class of 20+ 15 and 16 year old boys and girls simultaneously took out of their pockets rubber bands, pulled their hair on each and every head into a topknot ponytail , all exactly alike - they did this swiftly, silently, and clearly in a pre-planned manner . When I turned back around to look at them, I saw a sea of faces looking like creatures from a Dr Seuss book . I broke into laughter at the absurdity of what I saw (Surviving teaching rule # 17 : Never laugh at them. Never . Be stern, serious, and in control at all times.)


One day a female student, obviously bright and bored and coasting through my class making high A's with very little effort, came up to me after class and asked for something to read for fun, outsdide of class. I was busy struggling how to figure out my own time management skills ( write lesson plans, stay one novel aheqd of my studnets for in -class reading, invent tests / assignments, grade essays) , how to keep the class behaving and on track, why were certain kids failing and / or discipline problems.....I had no idea how to challenge the top end of the students. Absent - mindedly my mind flashed through "what books had I read as a teen ?" The answer I came up was cmpletely random, I could have just as easily said ,"read about archaeology" as I said,"Gone With the Wind". (Part of it, I think, was I wanted something nice and long, to keep her from coming back with this same question again, in a couple of days !)


So off she went.....got the book from the library.......and the rest, as they say, is history. Came back to talk to me about it, as she read it ......In the words of Captain Renault in the film "Casablanca" , it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. She went off to college, we stayed in touch - always talking about books we were reading . Over twenty years have since passed, and this student and I have remained friends, reading and sharing books , our ideas about books, long conversations about writing, writers, the writers craft, books turned into movies, etc. Eventually our friendship has grown more well-rounded, and we actually share gossip, news of our lives, family, friends, careers, etc. But it all started with that one book recommendation.


Recently, my heart grew 3 sizes on the day that this one former student, now a full fledged adult with a far more " grown - up" job than I've ever had , met with one of my other dear bookie friends, and we all talked about our writing ideas until way into the night.


"Here's looking at you, kid"

1/28/2016

Fashion Pt V Back in the Day

Everyone loves that "first real job" post-college time in your '20's where you finally have some money and can indulge your fashion whims. Enjoy it while you can, bc pretty soon the babies and the mortgage and the bills kick in and you will never have this much free spending money again until you are too old and too fat to enjoy it. And I did. I went on a fashion binge and I have never regretted it. Above: Wearing red cashmere sweater and dark blue and green wool plaid pants, from Scotch House (in Edinburgh Scotland) with a cream linen blouse (Laura Ashley) at Dickens on the Strand in Galveston, Tx. in the early 1980's. Below: One of the many weddings I went to in the '80's. Wearing a silk suit of fawn mocha brown and cream (can't remember the designers' name) , my signature pearls, and a cameo I had bought in Italy.
Yet another wedding - The same Laura Ashley cream linen blouse , this time with a Ralph Lauren gray paisley print linen skirt and pink suede belt. Same jewelry as always. God knows why the three of us in this photo look so wretched ...I suspect we are hideously drunk.
Getting together with the girls, '80's style. I am wearing a man's oversize cotton tuxedo shirt, with Navajo silver and turquoise shirt/cuff studs (purchased in Gallup, NM.), a "Navajo Pearls" silver bead necklace, jeans, and a Ralph Lauren pink floral canvas bag. I still have the bag, somewhere
.....My love of Southwestern Native American jewelry began when I was a child, on family vacations to the Four Corners Area. I started collecting then, and I still collect, now .
I miss Laura Ashley....would still wear it if it was around. With Ray-Bans. And a  blue "chakra crystal."

Fashion Pt IV Back in the Day

By the time I got to college, all those fabulous college theme parties made regular trips to the "Purple Heart" thrift store in Houston a weekend event. Somewhere, if I can find it, I have photos of me in a "you Tarzan - me Jane" leopard print furry cave girl outfit, of me in a leather miniskirt dress with a studded dog collar neckline.... Even though it was still the late 70's and the "popular" types continued wearing the skinny strap polyester disco dresses for formal events, my friends and I started doing the vintage thing and literally created the trend on our campus for 1950's-'60's style cocktail dresses and more. I have never really given it up.

Above: For a "Gatsby" theme party, I actually made my own dress, by hand. Under-dress was a gold-purple metallic lame` fabric, which I not only designed, made my own pattern, and sewed, but also hand-beaded the bodice. The over-dress was a sheer transparent silk, shot through with purple, green, and metallic gold. I sewed this into a toga. To create matching shoes, I spray painted a pair of navy "Dress for Success" leather pumps dark green, and sprinkled green glitter on them while they were still wet. Then I bought some already made sequined braid and sewed straps. I also made the headband out of scraps from the dress. (Finally, all those damn sewing classes my mother had made me take came to good use!)

Below: A '50's "Debutant " style dress from Purple Heart worn as an early  '80's "Formal" gown. Pale pale pink, almost blush, silk taffeta under-dress, stiff silk chiffon over-dress in the same color.


Above: Another '50's cocktail dress, worn in the '80s, this time with a fitted black velvet bodice and a black layered full tulle skirt. It occurs to me as I write this that probably few even know what these archaic terms mean anymore. :-(




Life is not always peaches and cream, velvet and pearls....I mentioned before the many sub-movements of late '70's fashion....one of which was punk. I embraced it heartily. Made myself a "SID VICIOUS LIVES" t-shirt, where the letters looked like blood dripping, bc growing up in Dallas , Texas, you could not find these sorts of things for sale in my local Valley View Mall. Below: Winning a punk dance contest at a discotheque in Athens. I am wearing an hombre burgundy-purple sequined tube top as a mini skirt, and a boy's red silk polka dotted shirt as my shirt. It would have been better with a pair of Dr. Martens, but I didn't have any - yet.
After punk came "New Wave"....and more college theme parties. Here, my roommates and I are devolving (as in the band DEVO.)
Above: We called this look "preppy punk" (above) bc most of the time, we were just "preppy" (below)


Fashion Pt III Back in the Day

Late 70's fashion veered away from the hippie look and splintered into the 1000 different fashion moments we know today. Above, me rockin' the "Annie Hall" look.

At JR prom, with my boyfriend, and an embarrassingly poor quality and unflattering home-made dress. But the one dozen yellow roses on my wrist made me feel like a queen ! And here you have the earliest example in my life of Iris Apfel's adage that "the more bling you have, the less they look at your flaws."

A growth spurt and lack of proper nutrition gave me the sort of slender good looks necessary to catch a beau - or two - in western society. Thank god. Above, brief stint as a model. Below: I am third from left and rockin' what was then called the "Charlie;s Angels" look. Check out those shoes - I am ready to spring up form that dreary College Bowl competition and head out for a night of "Saturday Night Fever" style disco dancing. And I did!




The look du jour for "formal" prom and dance dresses was low cut spaghetti straps and a wrist corsage. Above: "typical" late '70's prom dress, made of that wonder fabric, quiana. It was a sort of soft, thick, flowing polyester knit fabric that never wrinkled. You could bunch this up, store it at the bottom of the laundry hamper with wet jeans and  dirty socks for weeks, and then pull it out and it would look just the same. Good thing....Where is my corsage, you ask? Well, it got lost.... somewhere.... during something I was doing, prior to the photo being taken. No need to mention that, forsooth.

By prom I flexed a little counter-culture muscle, in my own way. As I was getting ready to head out on a 10 week "Grand Tour" of Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and I had just gotten a whole battery of vaccinations required by the World Health Organization to set foot on the continent of Africa. The smallpox vaccine, in particular, was oozing a a 3" crusty weal on my upper left arm that looked like a syphilitic chancre similar to that of the Cook in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. I had to cover it up with something. I opted for vintage - a lavender silk under-dress, with lavender flower silk chiffon over-dress. To spice it up and make it my own, I undid a few buttons. The original style had a high frilly neckline, granny-esque. Always workin' it..... my best gf followed suit, in peach eyelet.