Monday, February 27, 2017

Drawing Dr. Seuss

March 2 is Read Across America Day and it is also the birthday of Dr. Seuss. In the US we haven't the foggiest clue when the Magna Carta was signed or the significance of the Mayflower Compact, instead we devote an entire month to a man who wrote rhyming books and drew whimsical pictures about a fox wearing socks, a cat in a black hat encouraging bad behavior in children and about someone named Sam eating green eggs and ham. You can draw your own conclusion as to why we are going to hell in a hand basket.

Today, in the spirit of things, the kids in the 4th grade drew a picture of Theodore Seuss Geisel.  We used gray construction paper, pencil to draw, black sharpie for some detail, skin color crayons, and oil pastels.  I  watched a You Tube video for my own instruction.  I used as a simple guide picture and also found looking at real pictures of Dr. Seuss to be helpful. For what ever reason  many of the kids wanted to make his head flat on top or would give him an enormous amount of hair. For the eye color we used a pale blue pastel and then colored over it with a gray pastel.  We made the pupil with sharpie.  The kids chose the color for the bow tie and I found it interesting that most chose red like the Cat in the Hat.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The True Value of Home

My dad and sisters and myself by the side of our home. c. 1966

Our little country home was small. There were five rooms, a bathroom, a small square hallway, front porch and a closed in back porch. The house was sided in wood that was always painted white.  It was more like a country cottage.  We had hardwood floors, but there was often a big piece of decorative linoleum rolled out across each of them. Some of the linoleum had beautiful flower patterns but some of the other patterns were just a strange assortment of shapes.  Even the kitchen floor was hardwood but it was always covered by some hideous tile.

On cleaning day Mama or my grandma would mop all of the floors throughout the house with a string mop that was wrung out by hand. They laid pieces of newspaper down on the wet floors in case anyone needed to walk across the floor.  Tracking up a wet floor was a crime that you just didn't dare commit.  I would have rather sassed my mama than walk on her wet floor and sassing was a crime that was punishable by near death or at least being swatted with her defunct hairbrush. In the summer time all of the windows were open and both the front and back door.  The wind and the warm sunshine dried the water fast and the house would have a nice clean fresh smell that mingled with the smell of the cleaner.

Our furniture was old, piecemeal and sparse.  The beds were spread with Chenille bedspreads or homemade quilts.  We had a Formica red table in the kitchen and few of the original chairs.  We had one old upside down barrel at the end of the table that had a pillow on it and a hodgepodge of other chairs to give everyone seating. The table seldom had a table cloth but collected a homey assortment of sticky tableware like the Tupperware salt shaker and the Federal glass sugar bowl.

Often on those summer days, a load of laundry would be blowing on the clothes line. A pot of fresh corn or beans or potatoes might be simmering on the back of the stove and a row of freshly canned produce  lined up on the back kitchen counter covered by a damp cloth. There might be some leftover biscuits setting out as well.  Gray, our cat would be sunning on the top back step and the dogs  laid out somewhere in the shade.  A canopy of tall trees covered the house at almost every conceivable angle providing the poor man's air conditioning.

As I grew older and experienced more of the wide world it was easy to compare our little home to those around us who had more financially.  When I went away to college, I didn't want my wealthier friends to know how country and how poor we really were.  I was embarrassed as to how little I thought we had. Now I am an old lady and those precious memories of wet newspapers flapping in the wind on that old linoleum evoke such a strong memory of comfort and love.  I am  thankful now that I grew up so incredibly rich.