Friday, August 28, 2009

Class of 1990

Twenty years ago today I started my senior year at St. Thomas Public High School, St. Thomas, ND. In those days I was quite the writer and I pretty much have a journal entry for everyday of that year. My plan is that on Fridays I’ll sum up some of what I did that week of my senior year.

For those who don’t know my background that well, here are a few points to remember. Our class had 8 people: Peggy, Margo, Jaci, Kevin, Jason, Terry, Peter, & Ruth. I came in the 3rd grade and thus was the “new” kid. One thing our class was known for was that we could work well together and make decisions pretty easily. Later in college I took a class in group dynamics wherein I learned that the ideal size group for problem solving has between 5 and 8 people. Any less, everyone runs with their own agenda; any more, you don’t have full participation. So our harmony as a class may not have been a matter so much of personalities as it was of size.

Also, being a small school, the teachers were pretty much one person subject departments, many reaching below the high school level into the junior high. So for six years I had the same math teacher. For five years the same social studies teacher. For all my years in St. Thomas starting in the 3rd grade I had the same music teacher, who also taught all the instruments and directed the grade school and high school bands. Others taught diverse subjects and levels which led to some interesting interpersonal dynamics. The school librarian had to put up with me for six years in Phy-ed, and was tasked with the near impossible duty of trying to teach me to spell for two years. Since this blog is public I will make reference to this after my first mention of each teacher's name.

The class of 1990 blog posts are about memories. In writing this I have no desire to bring up old grievances or embarrass anyone. The past is made up of only two things: memories and regrets. It’s the present that lets you know which one is which. After 20 years I can say that my days at STHS are made up almost entirely of memories. For those who were there, feel free to add your memories and make comments, I only ask that you be charitable.

Week 1

The first day of school we spent a lot of time listening to Mr. Hanson (principal, business teacher- 3 levels, 5-8th grade boys basketball coach, HS girls basketball coach, HS baseball coach, school athletic director) explain school policy. I did have some fun that day hanging out in the library and talking to Mrs. Barker (7&8th grade Language Arts, 7&8th grade boys and girls Phy-ed, HS girls Phy-ed, student council advisor, cheerleader advisor, HS play director and librarian—library served K-12) .

My big debate was if I was going to take Shop or fork out some of my own money to take a correspondence course. The year before I had taken both Basic Drawing and Calligraphy by correspondence as a way to avoid both Shop and Book Keeping and have enough credits. If I took shop I planned to make a bookcase that I could take to college. I was considering taking German if I did the correspondence class, or as I put it in my journal , “I need to choose between a set of shelves or a shelf of knowledge.” I chose the set of shelves. Wednesday of that week all the seniors spent a day out of the school to go soliciting for year book ads. Peter and I went to Cavalier. I was driving, but didn’t want to be. My mom made cookies for the car. It rained and we gave up going to grain elevators after two turned us down. Mrs. Kappel (HS English, Home-Ec 2 levels, yearbook and newspaper adviser, sophomore class advisor, volleyball coach) had a “few” questions for us about that. On Thursday it was finally a normal school day. In PDP (Present Day Problems) we had to write an essay in class describing St. Thomas. After that we started reading Lutefisk Ghetto. In shop we endured safety film strips.

At home, Mom and I went shopping in Grafton for clothes that I could wear for my Senior pictures. I had a quiet weekend that involved reading, mowing the lawn, watching TV and Church & playing cards with Mom. There was a note stating I was already feeling like I had been in school for a month not just one week.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What's in a name?

Mr. Gaba is known in the blogosphere for his attention to detail regarding the proper thing to call dates on the liturgical calendar and liturgical implements used in the divine service, but this attention to detail does not translate into all areas of his life. He has some odd habits about what to call things. One of his quirks is that he rarely calls a TV show by its given name. Some are called after his favorite character, others by some detail he feels distinguishes the show.

House-Dr. House
King of the Hill-Bobby
CSI New York-Mac
CSI Miami-Horatio
According to Jim-the Albanian Show
CSI-the Las Vegas dead body show
Criminal Minds-those guys who fly around in an airplane

Another quirk is his habit of giving very long descriptive names to his food. I'll make a hot dish out of various leftovers and he'll ask what it's called, I'll say Something like, "hot dish" or "a concoction." "No," he'll say, "let's call it elbow macaroni with broccoli, onions, celery, chicken and cream soup."

Then there is the matter of his middle name. Typical conversation:
Ruth: Latif, would you mind passing me the pepper.
Latif: Are you kidding me, my middle name is Passing-you-the-pepper.
Ruth: You had very strange parents.
Only minutes before he had told me that his middle name was Lets-eat-at-the-table. And earlier it was Put-gas-in-the-car.


lhg edited and approved

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

“To our colors we will be ever true….”

I blame the media for us all being sick of news about Brett Favre. I am not a fan of his. I am a fan of a team he played for. That in itself is a bit ironic. Truth is I spent more Sunday’s watching football growing up than most people would believe, but I had only loose loyalties. The only thing I was certain of was that I didn’t like Minnesota. That’s a general principle with me. If it’s a team from Minnesota, regardless of the sport, I don’t like them. There are Minnesotans I know and love, but I have no use for teams that come from that state. Beyond that it was about colors, logos, real deep stuff. I never considered the Packers—green and gold and what’s with that G? So I rooted for the Bears, and the Redskins. I got a kick out of the commentary of John Madden. Then I went to college.

My first real encounter with Packer Backers was a retreat for Youth Ministry Teams that had to be scheduled to end so that the leaders wouldn’t miss the Sunday game. Come on people get your priorities strait! Then sophomore year I started dating a fan of professional teams from Wisconsin. He insisted on my watching every game with him all the way to the end no matter how bleak it looked. Favre was pretty new to the team and I spent a lot of time making fun of guy’s loyalty to a team and a quarterback who looked rather pathetic. Long story short, in time I became a fan and married the fan who made me watch the games.

Favorite Madden Quote of all time,

“We’re watching Brett Favre, be Brett Favre…really the only player he can be.”

Being a Packer fan in Milwaukee in the late Nineties was fun. Then we moved to The Fort. Suddenly we couldn’t catch all the games. I’d watch other games I didn’t care about just to catch the score of the Packers game. Later we’d follow the action on with play updates. Somewhat ironic, if seminarians wanted to talk pro football with a librarian it was the woman behind the desk who knew the most.

So I’m back in Milwaukee and Mr. Favre goes to play for a Minnesota team. I don’t blame him for playing. People who complain about him not staying retired sound as silly to me as sem wives who can’t understand why their husband needs more books. They seem to be denying nature. So if he can play let him play. I just won’t be rooting for him. I’ll be rooting, “Go Pack Go.”


lhg edited and approved

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Operation Ellie in the Box

Objective: to make a paper box large enough to contain a person who will then play the part of a jack in the box.

Needed for this:
A very large sheet of paper.
Music for "Pop Goes the Weasel".
Appropriately costumed person to fit in box.
A crank to turn on the side of the box.
Training for would be "jack" to know when to pop up.
And code names-definitely need code names.

10:05 Base Detlaff. It was determined that Gopher would remain to hold down the fort and was tasked with finding a proper hat and costume for operation Ellie in the Box, plus to greet the young Youngs when they arrive from Camp Szedlak. Arrow, Nuts & Bolts, and The Adult would head off to get the necessary tape supplied for making the box.
10:53 Youngs arrive with grandma Szedlak.
10:54 Arrow, Nuts & Bolts, and The Adult return with $.99 worth of masking tape
10:55 Mission briefing. Youngs are apprised of the mission. It goes well with one major break for laughter when Grandma notices The Adult has new shoes. Arrow is appointed to chair the first meeting to decide on code names for the team members. The Adult goes to deal with Grandma.
11:05 Mission commences in earnest. Grandma leaves.

Notes from SOS on the project. Mission Center of the Universe(aka COTU) in the Box. (with some minor additions and corrections by The Adult.)

11:00 Nuts & Bolts and Construction make paper large enough to cover center of the universe. Gopher is off to fetch the following: 1. Construction paper & crayons 2. Newspaper 3. Hard surface. Arrow is looking for music. Center of the Universe-coloring. SOS taking notes to capture the action.

11:15 NUTS & BOLTS and Construction find how big they have to make the paper by measuring the height of the table. Arrow found Music.Arrow practiced and mastered the music.Arrow captures the action.
11:19 The Adult demonstrates how to make the box
11:20 Nuts & Bolts and Construction started taping 24 4 x 6 pieces of newspaper.
11:23 Pictures by COTU are shown to Arrow.
11:23 Arrow finds food phone number.
11:25 Center of the Universe jumps due to boredom.
11:27 Papa John's number is found.
11:28 Gopher makes top of box with words: Ellie in the Box.
11:30 The Adult calls Papa John's for Lunch FOOD!
11:33 Ellie in the Box has been written by Arrow.

11:37 Gopher gets blanket for back yard pizza picnic.
11:30 COTU is in the BAFROOM!
11:40 COTU learns a new Piano piece.
11:42 Gopher colors in sign.
11:44 Taping by Nuts & Bolts + Construction halfway done.
11:45 Adult & Arrow are gone for FOOD!
11:47 COTU sees the sign for the top of the box and says, "That's Beautiful".
11:47 Gopher & SOS set up for lunch COTU helps out.
11:50 NUTS & BOLTS puts on knee pads.
11:55 Adult and Arrow return with Pizza.

Noon Pizza is eaten in backyard.
12:30 Operations resume.
Gofer suggests that they all make signs bearing the code names to decorate the box. Adult thinks it's a good idea but those working on box construction don't have time to make their own.
12:35 status
Nuts & Bolts and The Adult are taping the second half of the page.
Construction taking Pictures with The Adult's camera.
COTU plays with doll house.
Arrow washing hands.
SOS & Gofer Coloring.
1pm folding of the box starts with Construction and The Adult. Nuts & Bolts leaves to work on crank.
1:10 COTU now in costume practices jumping with music.
1:11 Four sides of the box have been completed.
1:15 The last side is being completed.
1:17 Box is made and is being decorated.
1:18 The crank is installed.
1:20 SOS agrees to play the piano so Arrow can film. We film a practice run with COTU outside of the box and Nuts& Bolts and Gopher holding the lid over her. It goes well.
1:30 COTU is in the box. Construction is behind on the box. Nuts & Bolts is on hand to turn the crank. Arrow is ready to film and SOS is at the piano. Gopher is watching as The Adult gets ready to say "Action!"
1:32 Filming takes place.
1:35 We all go down the watch the video.Mission accomplished.
1:40 We go upstairs to clean our mess. Construction is charged with demolishing the box. He gets COTU to help him.
2:00 Everything is cleaned up before Grandma arrives to see the video.