Friday, December 11, 2009

Class of 1990 week 16

Monday was one of those terrible long days. Since Mom took one car to Winnipeg Dad had to take me to school, and since there was a game that night I didn’t get to go home until after the game. I filled the time by writing letters and working on a one woman play I had dreamed up the night before. In volleyball we played Park River. Peggy had stated that she didn’t want to be a student manager but she showed up for the game and ended up first keeping the score board and then keeping last touch points. We had a lot of fun working together again. As I wrote it then, “So here’s to Peggy, the best score keeper in the world. She never messes up. That’s why she gets to drink out of the players water bottles. [She made 4 mess-ups on the board]”

On Tuesday I suggested to Dad that it would be a wonderful surprise for Mom if we got the tree before she got home. So after school we went to Cavalier and got a small tree. I set it up on a box and decorated it.

In shop class Mr. Lloyd had forgotten some wood that he promised to bring me, leftovers from a project a student did in Drayton. So I spent shop class writing out Christmas cards. I was treated to a conversation where my classmates discussed the first time they swore in front of their parents.

Wednesday the high was -20. In English class we assembled the newspaper. There was no Phy-Ed as we were taking team pictures. For the fifth year I posed in the back of the volleyball team picture. I had started keeping books in the 8th grade.
Mom got home. She really liked the tree. Attendance at the midweek Advent service was really poor. Afterward Mom and I drank tea and talked till after 11:00pm.

Thursday was even colder. It was the school “Christmas” concert. Since I was in about the 5th or 6th grade the highlight of the concert was a play featuring Santa put on by the 1st-8th grade and then a few selections by the bands and the high school choir.

Friday we got assigned more homework than the rest of the week combined. Heidi, Mrs. Hollis’s daughter, was home from basic training and hung out at the school a bit. After school Mom and Dad picked me up and we went to Grand Forks to go out for supper and do some Christmas shopping. I also bought a book for myself.

Saturday I went to the Sunday school children’s program practice. It went well. I spent the rest of the day reading my book and doing odd jobs including making a cake for the party after the Christmas program Sunday night.

Sunday I taught Sunday school before church and then relaxed in the afternoon. That evening was the Sunday school program at church and after we had a birthday party for Jesus. There was a really good turn out for it. I spent some of it visiting with Heidi.


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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Class of 1990 Weeks 14 & 15

These two weeks were marked by a few things.

I finished the posters and the guys put them up. I thought they were rather ingenious. I had a whistle person blowing a whistle for the coach. Pencil people holding pencils for the student managers and for the players it was knee pad people wearing knee pads. Half were setting and half were bumping-on their knees of course. I thought they were cute and was proud of my design until someone from a visiting team asked what washing machines had to do with volleyball.
Monday Dec 4 was the start of the season with a game in Walhalla. For games in Walhalla and Cavalier the team bus had to pass our road and so I would be picked up and dropped off for those games. When we played Minto we picked up Mrs. Kappel who lived in Grafton. After the game we stopped at the Hardees in Grafton (the only year round fast food place in that corner of ND) Mrs. Kappel treated us all to fries. I got a hot ham-n-cheese & a big cookie.
My plan to write a story on education reform was shot out of the water and replaced with one that would have me interviewing my Dad about his impressions about the fall of communism in Europe. That proved to be difficult. Dad was finishing up a letter he was handwriting to Rebecca and he read it to me. It gave me a lot of insight, but nothing I could really use in my story. It took a few more times to get what I needed for my story. I asked Dad questions and he wrote out his carefully crafted answers that I worked into my story.For my column I wrote about "heater gangs." To understand this you need to realize that our school hallways were carpeted. As I wrote it then:

I hate being cold. My teeth chatter. My hands turn deep purple. My muscles twitch in an unfashionable manner. My whole body goes rigid and I break out in unsightly goose bumps.
No doubt about it; being cold ranks up there with fluoride treatments and stubbing my toe.
Not long ago I heard a mother complain that her son never knew what to wear to school in the winter. "The bus is so cold and you don't dare wear a sweater to school, unless you want to burn up, " she said.
No Kidding? This really happened. Obviously this woman was not from St. Thomas. First, we do not have any school buses and more importantly, in our school you have to warm up to be cool.
What do you expect form a school where one's social status can be determined by what heater one sits by?
Some schools have cliques and clubs. STHS has heater gangs.
With an average hall temperature at 65 degrees Fahrenheit, is it any wonder that the most asked question at the beginning of the noon hour has become, "Are they on?"If you keep your eyes open you can learn a lot about this phenomenon.
First of all the heaters are ranked. The most popular one is the one by the gym door where the morning crowd hangs out. This is followed by the one next to pop machines. Next in the rank is the heater by the canteen. Then if you're absolutely desperate there is always the one between the two bathrooms.
Approximately three people can sit comfortably across one heater. If all the heaters are used about 12 persons get the privilege of roasting their backs.
Certain rules are understood concerning the heaters:
First come; first serve. The early bird gets the best spot.
Secondly, you can only hog a heater if you're saving a spot for someone; otherwise you must share.
Lastly, once you get up you've lost your spot.
I have a theory about the cold halls of STHS. Maybe by sitting up against the heaters we're blocking the flow of warm air, and the school would be warmer if we would all back off.
Of course, this is just a theory and not one to be tested anytime soon. So in the meantime, wear a sweater, and as you scramble down the hall ask the magic question: "Are they on?" Then, try to get a good spot.

Szedlak, Ruth. "Nothing by Nobody." Knight Life 2 Dec 1989: 3,12. Print.

In getting the newspaper ready for publication Mrs. Kappel had to be with the 8th graders for a Home-Ec Kids party. So my class was left in the typing room with no supervision. At first there was some telling of off color jokes but then there was the fear that the office might be listening in on the intercom so Peter and Kevin led us all in a sing-a-long as we worked. We sang the theme from the Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Gilligan's Island, Brady Bunch, & Sunny Days from Sesame Street.-along with singing to 12. We also sang to Kenny Roger's The Gambler and a grade school music class song of "Scratch Scratch My Back."
A requirement of all sweaters and sweatshirts was that the sleeves were loose enough at the wrist for me to fold my arms inside of the sleeves. This generally discouraged me from wanting to take notes. Also in the bitter cold of winter there were two options for parking. You could park on the wall protected from the north wind that did not have outlets, or you could park on the west side of the gym and plug in the cars block heater but be totally exposed to the wind. The rule for me was that the temp had to be minus 0 before I would be willing to deal with the wind chill.
On the first day of school each kid that lived outside of the city of St. Thomas had to register a storm family. That is the family you would stay with if a storm came up and it wasn't safe to go home. I kept a survival kit in the trunk of my car that included a change of clothes for such occasions. My storm family was the Hollis' who conveniently live across the street from the school.
I had one occasion in week 14 where I realized that I really shouldn't be driving home. Mom and Dad were out of town, but I wanted to sleep in my own bed so without talking to anyone and with no one at home waiting for me I headed out. Visibility was terrible. When I turned from Highway 81 to County Road 3 I couldn't see more than twenty feet and it was as I rounded the corner that I saw the headlights of the Greyhound bus coming at me from Highway 81. I had enough time to make the corner but on a normal visibility day I would have never attempted to beat the bus. When I got home and put the car in the garage & turned aruond. I could just barely make out the church across the road. There was no way I should have been out there.
Two months and twenty days past my deadline I finally mailed my assignment for the Institute of Children's Literature. Mom let me know that if I ever missed another deadline she would be taking the tuition money out of my allowance.
ACT results:
I got my ACT score back and I was happy with the results. Concordia University required an 18 to apply and I had well above that. My lowest score was in Math. I was happy with it as I drew a complete blank on some of the formulas I needed for the problems, but Mr. Green (school vocational counselor) was standing over my shoulder and when he saw my scores he said, "Ruth, the math, what happened?"
"I'm not Sarah."I replied. My sister had a perfect score on the math portion. I wanted to hit him. Why did people always assume that I should be just like my sisters. That sort of assumption was a large part of the reason I was so eager to get out of St. Thomas and go somewhere to college that my sisters had never been.

It should be noted-as I made special mention of it in my journal, that Terry, who I often did not get along with, did me a favor on December 6th. I was sitting by the Pop machines and asked him to get my dictionary, and he did!
At home:
We called Rebecca on her birthday before I left for school. Hong Kong being 12 hrs ahead of North Dakota. She was glad to be a world away from our icy roads and freezing temps.

Saturday Dec 9th I was babysitting the Bigwoods again. I got a call from Dad. Dad and Pastor Rothchild in Bottineau were switching pulpits on Sunday so Rev. Rothchild would be close enough to Minnesota to attend his brothers ordination-(or instillation-something like that) Anyway Mom and Dad had traveled to Bottineau and were staying at a member's home when dad realized that he had left his sermon behind. When I got home from babysitting I was to locate it and call the number. I didn't get home until 2am. The phone at the farm house rang about 20 times before dad picked it up. He had managed to reconstruct most of his sermon but I read him the bits that he needed. It took a little bit as it was written in his tiny script and his own personal short hand. Sunday Mom and Dad got home at 3pm and an hour later Mom left for two days in Winnipeg.


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