RULES, PONIES AND SMILES

Good morning, Mom,

Remember when we used to argue about candidates and issues around the dinner table…even before I was old enough to vote?  Sometimes I think Dad and I just had fun arguing.  You would mostly listen, smile, shake your head, and ask who wanted more vegetables.

I read something today that would make you really shake your head.  Tomorrow 44 people will be on the New Hampshire ballot, including one candidate called Ver Supreme.  He is campaigning to give free ponies to all Americans (as a kid I would have LOVED that–too bad kids can’t vote!)  His other issues include mandatory tooth brushing (for people, I think, or maybe it could be ponies…), and zombie preparedness.

Hmmm, what do you think of that, Mom?

When I was going through boxes of pictures, I found one of you as a kindergarten teacher in Kansas City before David and I were born.  I remember the stories you used to tell, especially about one little boy who was intent on learning to tie his shoes.  He worked and worked, but his success came at an awkward time.  One afternoon as the children sat in their little chairs while you read them a story, the school fire alarm went off.  Immediately your young students lined up to march out the door, the way they’d practiced. All except one.  The little guy who’d tied his shoe–in a knot–around the leg of his chair, couldn’t stand up.  Since you couldn’t untie the knot, you carried the chair, with the boy in it, out the door and down the stairs.

When you told me that story, I asked if after that you made a rule that students couldn’t tie their shoes to chairs.  You smiled and said you didn’t make a lot of rules, but tried to guide your students by showing them the right way to live and treat others.  The main rule you lived by was The Golden Rule.

You guided us the same way, Mom.

I never got the pony I wanted while I was growing up, but I had everything I really needed.

Thank you.

Love, Marylin

(teacher Mary Elizabeth Shepherd is third from left in the back row)

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13 Comments

Filed under Dementia/Alzheimer's, lessons about life, memories for grandchildren, teaching

13 responses to “RULES, PONIES AND SMILES

  1. I am shaking my head – seriously? ponies and teeth? WOW!
    But, it sounds like your Mom had the right idea: guidance and encouragement. A good rule to live by. Thank you. 🙂

  2. I want a pony. Best laugh of the day, Marylin.

    You know, if I’d had a teacher like your mom, I might have liked school.

  3. Nancy Brummett

    Wonderful as always. And congratulations on your award! You deserve it for such a unique concept, well executed. I sent another message but think I hit reply so you probably didn’t get it. Love all your posts!

  4. What a warm and wonderful piece! Love the picture too and admire how professionally these women are dressed to teach small children. It is nice to remember when teachers set a standard for all things.

    • Thanks, Claudia. Mom weighed about 95 lbs. then, so carrying the 5-year-old, AND his chair, took some strength! Now at 93 she again weighs less than 100 lbs., naps in her recliner most of the day, and the dementia keeps her confused about where she is and what’s going on. But she still loves children and perks up when her great-grandchildren, though she isn’t quite sure who they are. She still set the standard for working with/responding to children, and it’s a 5-star standard of love.

  5. I am so glad you remember these things so we can now remember these things. Awesome! I can just see it all unfold as everyone leaves the building…your mom with the sprout in the chair. HA!!! Love it. Thank you for sharing the story and great picture.

  6. The image is a story in itself. Kindergarten has to be one of the most exuberant and important ages to teach. But I’m still definitely glad I chose to teach h.s. students. If someone had gotten stuck in a chair during a fire drill, I’d bet that every male in the class would have come to the rescue, flexing their muscles to carry out the person and the chair…like the entrance scene in the movie Cleopatra. Give me teenage macho over kindergarten shoe-tying during any fire drill.

  7. Molly

    I can absolutely picture grandma’s 95 pound body just lifting the little boy and chair…and then how calm she woulda been and how she would of talked very softly to him whiles she untied him. I absolutely love reading these stories about grandma …especially the way you write them. Thanks mom!

  8. Jim

    Cute story with yet another fine message, Marylin. Thanks. Our grandson can’t tie his shoes, but the chair incident would NEVER happen to him because he is a 2nd grader–much older and wiser than a mere kindergartner. Our pride ‘n joy insists on wearing only velcro-closing shoes! He does treat people kindly, which his mom role-models daily, if not shoe-tying.

    • Molly

      Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh………..I can just picture your pride ‘n joy not being able to tie shoes…..and wearing velcro and slide on shoes…..most likely on the wrong feet……

      I imagine that this young-in gets the best of his mom, since his mom had been prepared for a “LEO” by being around one for quite awhile…… so she probably knows that it isn’t worth trying to “teach” him to tie his shoes, he will do it when he is ready……kind of like a true “LEO”……

      🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Jim

        Yep Molly, while little girls are all sugar ‘n spice and mostly a delight to parent, little boys can be a hand-full, especially LEO boys. But it sounds like you fully understand that “little boys need good moms too.” Our grandson has a real good mom who is also a very good teacher. Our daughter disciplines him while remaining respectful (perfect for a LEO), and she has her priorities straight, a lot like Mary Shepherd, who would be proud of her too.

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