Friday, April 30, 2010

class of 1990 Week 35

Monday I met Mrs. Kappel at 6:30am in the school parking lot and we headed to the NIPA conference in Grand Forks. It was a long day. Kevin and Peter were already there and were wound up. The last part of it was the awards banquet. Each time an entry from St. Thomas placed, one of us would have to go up to the front to collect the trophy or certificate. The guys kept refusing to go up stating, “That’s not my tomato.” We rode back in Mrs. Kappel’s little red Ford Escort. I was in the front and the guys were in the back. At stop lights they would sway side to side and make the car rock. They never stopped talking the entire way back to St. Thomas.
That night at play practice the guys were still wound up. I almost had all my lines down. My problem was working on volume.
Wednesday I have a note stating that the Grand Forks Harold had five sections and that none of them has a loose page that had to be attached before putting it on the newspaper poll. I think this is the first time that I wrote about a lack of loose pages being a good thing.

I finally got my costume for the play worked out. My dress had a huge bustle in the back. At Thursday’s play practice we needed to tape a paper barn to the back of the stage. Whenever someone wasn’t on stage they were rolling tap for the back of the barn. After rehearsal we had a barn raising using push brooms to get it stuck to the back of the stage wall. The brooms left streaks of dust at the top causing Mrs. Barker to comment that our barn was a bit dusty upstairs.

Friday we finally got the school paper out. The last paper of the year always featured the senior spots. There was a picture of each graduate and we would fill out a question survey stating things like our favorite food, nick names, pet peeves and advice to underclassmen. In answer to the question about what I’d miss the most about STHS I wrote, “That exhilarating rush of energy I get when I leave the building.”

Friday was also the town clean-up-day. Once a year in the spring on a Friday all the students of St. Thomas Public School were assigned sections of the town and sent out with cheap flimsy plastic bags to pick up trash. The first and second graders did the school grounds. The other grades got sections of the town. In the junior high students would be driven about a mile out of town and would then walk back in picking up trash in the ditches. The grade school classes were supervised by their teachers and the upper classes by their class advisor. A few of the senior boys would get to drive a truck around the town and pick up large trash that the people would put out. At the end of it everyone would come back to the school and the city council would treat the students to those little ice-cream cups with the wooden spoons and a can of pop. If we finished early we would be dismissed to go home. Peter and Kevin go to drive the truck. The rest of us went to pick up trash in the city park by the playground equipment. Margo, Jaci, Jason and Terry had a context to see who could swing the highest. Terry won just moments before Mr. Dick showed up to supervise us. It was clear that he would have preferred to have all the students in class. We finished our area as quickly as possible, got hour treats, and since we were seniors we didn’t have to wait for an official dismissal before heading home. I enjoyed driving out of town and passing underclassmen still out picking up trash.

Sarah came home for the weekend and we enjoyed playing catch in the front yard. Sunday Jason was confirmed. After church we went to an open house at his home in St. Thomas. Jason’s home was across the street from the school which was good since I had to be at the school at 1:00 p.m. to sing with the choir for Mrs. Billings’ (4th grade teacher) retirement reception.

Play practice was at 7pm that night and it was a dress rehearsal. The first act was OK but the second act all our props were falling apart. Peter broke his pipe. Kevin’s stage knife broke. We recorded the practice and watched it afterward.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Class of 1990 Week 34

I stayed up until 3:00 a.m. working on my paper for English. I got up at 7:00am, packed up my typewriter, and took it to school with me. I set it up in the back of the English classroom and typed my endnotes and outline. Everyone in our class turned the paper in on time. The English research paper was one of those must finish assignments. If it didn’t get in, you failed the class and would not be able to graduate. With the papers done Mrs. Kappel had us turn our attention to getting the school newspaper out. She wanted a story from each of us each day for the rest of the week. This included the senior spots that each of us did.

On Wednesday a hole appeared in the school parking lot. It turned out there was an old forgotten-about cistern there. It was driven over that morning and a few cars ended up trapped between the building and what turned out to be a seven feet long, eight feet deep hole. It was filled the same day.

In Physics we paired up to do simple physics projects that we would then demonstrate to several of the grade school classes. Miss Kassian let me work on my own. The previous year I got pared up with Terry. I picked the project and did all the talking. He got an A for shaking a test tube. I planned a project on gravity and air resistance.

Thursday night play practice was a bit comical. Only Kevin and I showed up so Mrs. Barker and Miss Kassian got up on stage and filled in for all the other parts. It was hard to keep track of who was playing what character at what time. We all did a lot a laughing.

That weekend Mom started addressing graduation invitations. Saturday Mom and I planned to go to Grand Forks to find shoes to go with the dress mom had made me from the silk that Rebecca had sent, but there was snow on the ground; five inches of heavy sloppy wet snow had appeared during the night. By noon it was over a foot. I spent the day cleaning my room and working on my senior memory book. Sunday after church was the confirmation/graduation recognition dinner. That night I annoyed people at play practice by singing “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.” Kevin and Peter were not there. They had gone to Grand Forks for the NIPA (Northern Interscholastic Press Association) conference. I would have gone, but had to bow out so I could be at the church dinner in my honor.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Luther on what should go in a library

In honor of National Library Week a Luther quote I pulled out of a book from 1889 called Luther on Education

But my advice is, not to collect all sorts of books indiscriminately, thinking only of getting a vast number together. I would have discrimination used, because it is not necessary to collect the commentaries of all the jurists, the productions of all the theologians, the discussions of all the philosophers, and the sermons of all the monks. Such trash I would reject altogether, and provide my library only with useful books; and in making the selection, I would advise with learned men.

In the first place, a library should containable Holy Scriptures in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, German, and other languages. Then the best and most ancient commentators in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin.

Secondly, such books as are useful in acquiring the languages, as the poets and orators, without considering whether they are heathen or Christian, Greek or Latin. For it is from such works that grammar must be learned.

Thirdly, books treating of all the arts and sciences.

Lastly, books on jurisprudence and medicine, though here discrimination is necessary.

A prominent place should be given, to chronicles and histories, in whatever languages they may be obtained; for they are wonderfully useful in understanding and regulating the course of the world, and in disclosing the marvelous works of God. O how many noble deeds and wise maxims produced on German soil have been forgotten and lost, because no one at the time wrote them down; or if they were . written, no one preserved the books: hence we Germans are unknown in other lands, and are called

brutes that know only how to fight, eat, and drink. But the Greeks and Romans, and even the Hebrews, have recorded their history with such particularity, that even if a woman or child did any thing noteworthy, all the world was obliged to read and know it; but we Germans are always Germans, and will remain Germans.

Class of 1990 Week 33

Easter Monday there was no school. It had been a mild enough winter that we didn't have to make up any days. Sarah and Bob left in the morning. Mom and I went into Cavalier to do some shopping. After supper I drove myself to town for play practice.

Tuesday night Mom was doing a fitting for someone's prom dress when we got a phone call from Detroit. It was a man that my Dad had baptized on Easter in Japan the week I was born. He had lost touch with my folks and had recently been transferred by Mazda to work in their Detroit factory. Now a Wisconsin Synod Lutheran, his pastor showed him an LCMS Lutheran Annual and he was able to contact my father for the first time in more than a decade and a half.

Wednesday I was getting more and more behind in my school work. That evening I got a call from Mary, the admissions counselor from Concordia University Wisconsin, who called me to register for my Fall classes over the phone. I also wrote a letter to the president of the North Dakota district to work on getting some financial aid since I was planning on becoming a church worker.

The rest of the week I struggled to make progress on my research paper for English, my writing assignment for the Institute of Children's Literature, and to memorize my lines for the play. It was nice outside and I kept coming home and spending time sweeping the back patio and playing with our cat, Neko. On Saturday Dad decided that the weather was nice enough that there was no reason for the cat to be in the garage. Most of the winter we had propped open the door with an ice cream bucket so Neko could get in and out. We had a box in there for him to sleep in and put his food and water there in the winter. The cat was never, even on the coldest of days, allowed in the house. His coat would get very thick and like all cats he would seek out warm places, be it standing by the front door when the UPS delivery guy came, or best of all curling up on the hood of the car after it had been running. Dad was sick of the cat leaving muddy paw prints on the car, so the bucket was kicked aside and Neko would have to be kept out as much as possible. This also meant that Neko's food and water would be outside of the back door. The previous summer that had been a bit of an issue as a couple of magpies had taken to stealing his food for their young.


lhg edited and approved

Friday, April 9, 2010

Class of 1990 Week 32

At St. Thomas Public School grade school students could only leave the school unattended during the day if they were walking home for lunch. Starting in Jr. High you could leave school unattended during the noon hour and there were no restrictions on where you went. Most often this involved going up town for candy and such or in the case of some going home to watch Days of our Lives. Seniors in their last term, when the administration felt they deserved it, got Senior Privileges. That meant that you did not need to be on school grounds if you were not in class. So you could leave during any study hall or open period, not just lunch. You still could not operate a vehicle during school hours unless you had special permission—like going to a doctor’s appointment or soliciting for yearbook ads. With our music issues for graduation worked out the week before, my class was finally granted our senior privileges. Tuesday I took advantage of them by using my study hall to go up town to buy stamps.

Geographical note
In St. Thomas you never went “down town” you went “up town.” From the school that constituted walking one block east (preferably not cutting through Thomson’s yard) to main street. It consisted of a post office, cafĂ©, insurance office, K & D Hartz grocery store. There was also a bank, the city council building, and the Jack Gust Store which was a sort of general store that sold groceries, hardware, stationary—pretty much a bit of everything except clothes. His motto was “If I don’t have it, you don’t need it.” Main street itself is quite wide. At one time the highway went through town, now it curves around, but the wide street remained. It was possible to have cars parked on each curb and have a “car conversation” {persons driving opposite directions recognize each other, stop so the divers windows align, and then roll down their windows and sit in their vehicles—usually pick-ups—in the middle of the street and have a good talk} and still be able to get around.

The week was one of studying for tests, working and falling behind in my research paper for English that I was doing on recyclable and photo degradable plastics. I also had another assignment to work on for the Institute of Children’s Literature.

Thursday we were dismissed early—me earlier than most because with senior privileges and not taking shop I didn’t need to hang around until 1:30. I left school at 12:45 and stopped at the Cenex station outside of town. Sarah had caught a ride home from the University of North Dakota with Kim (class of 1989). When they saw my car at the Cenex Kim pulled in and Sarah got in the driver’s seat of our Cavalier and drove me home after I finished filling the tank. Bob arrived at our house around 7:00pm, just in time for Maundy Thursday services.

That week I also got a package from Hong Kong with red printed silk for mom to make me a dress for graduation. Friday Mom and I went into Cavalier and found a dress pattern for me. Mom was getting busy with sewing at home. She did alterations and a steady stream of girls with their prom dresses was showing up to get them fitted. My Mom prided herself in fixing gaping necklines and making the dresses more decent.

Friday we had church in the morning and then I helped set up for the Easter Breakfast. At home Sarah played hymns and sang alto, Bob sang bass, and I took the soprano line. It was, to quote my journal, “sooo totally cool!” After supper, Mom and I took on Sarah and Bob in a game of Trivial Pursuit and lost. I filled out my housing application for Concordia University Wisconsin before going to bed.

Saturday Sarah, Bob, and I went to Winnipeg. We took Grandma out for lunch at Alycia’s. After that we took in the “Touch the Universe” exhibit at the museum and then had dinner at the Potapoff's before heading home.

Easter was lovely. I helped with the Easter breakfast, then church, then light lunch of egg salad sandwiches. For supper we drove about a mile and ate with Flossy and Harvey. After supper we played UNO. Bob won and Dad built the most character.


lhg edited and approved

Class of 1990 Week 31

Neche North Dakota is a border town and each year they held an invitational music contest. Winning there didn’t get you to the state music festival but it was a good place to try out what you had worked on and see what needed improving before heading off to the regional contest in Mayville. That year none of the ensembles starred. In fact the only star was Freshmen Justin’s solo “Sing me a Chantey.” The quartet I was in needed a lot more practice but after school conflicted with Stephanie, before school was vetoed by Stephanie and Kathy because they said they couldn’t sing well in the morning and 5th hour was out because Mr. Torgeson was taking the juniors through the Choices program.

Friday was the music contest in Mayville. We left school at 6:45. I didn’t write much about that day except to say that I enjoyed talking to some of my LYF friends and I was happy that we had failed to star in anything and would not be going to the state music contest. I was happy about this for a few reasons. First, I generally didn’t enjoy class trips. Second, I really didn’t think we deserved to go given the lack of willingness to practice and the general attitude of the choir that year. Last, I was starting to fall behind in my school work and really needed the time.

SRA tests:
On Tuesday SRA tests started. Seniors didn’t take the tests, but what with combined classes like physics and how the tests impacted teachers schedules it was a messed up week. Mr. Hanson was involved with administering the tests so in Business Law we were left to work on our research papers for English. Most of the hour however was spent arguing. Peggy had decided that Peter would again be taking her to prom as he did our junior year. Peter had no desire to go to prom. I defended him and Margo and Jaci jumped in on Peggy’s side. It was really more funny than anything else.

At home I watched too much TV, didn’t do near enough homework, and had fun helping out in the kitchen with the rest of the LYF group after church on Wednesday.


lhg edited and approved

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Class of 1990 Week 30

Monday quite a few students who went on the trip missed school because they were sick and burned. We had play tryouts that night. Tuesday I discovered that I had landed the role of Mistress Goodkin in a theatrical adaptation of Hawthorne’s Feathertop. Peter got the part of Feathertop. I had 170 lines to memorize.

That week I had one of those rare co-ed phy-ed classes with Mr. Dick. I never really liked phy-ed but I always appreciated Mrs. Barker’s life-time fitness approach. She always divided us into teams that were evenly matched and often lost track of the score. The point was to warm up, play hard, cool down and learn the value of physical activity. Mr. Dick took a different approach with phy-ed. He believed that it was aggression release time. He would pick out two athletic types, have them pick teams so that it became clear to each person what their peers thought of his or her abilities, then you would play a game and the loosing team would be punished with having to do 25 push-ups. He would secretly pick out a person on the penalized team to count, and if that person failed to do all 25 the entire team would have to complete the task again. It made an un-liked class downright detestable.

My class also had to settle on what music we were going to have for our graduation ceremony. Our senior class privileges were being withheld until the administration agreed with our plans. There were only four of us in choir: Jason, Kevin, Jaci and me. No one in our class had been in band since grade school and no one was a soloist in any form. The four of us who did sing agreed to do Michel W. Smith’s Friends arranged for two parts. The band would grudgingly play for our processional and recessional. We presented our plans and were told that we could not graduate with only one vocal piece of music. That there were going to be five speeches was not enough. Finally we got the boys choir to agree sing something.

That year for my birthday I did something I had not done since I was six. I invited boys to my party. I invited all seven of my classmates for sukiyaki dinner. As it turned out that night the school was having a presentation to introduce the taxpayers to a new interactive TV system that would save our school and expand the classes that were offered in the high school. The Operation Contact group was providing babysitting for the event and since Kevin, Jaci and Margo were on that task force and Jason, Peggy and Peter road with them (Terry turned down the invitation) my guests all left right after dinner. Even though life in the parsonage meant no property tax my mom was curious and wanted to go. Dad was at church, so by 7:30 I was home alone on my birthday. This surprisingly did not depress me. It was nice outside (by that I mean the wind was down and the temps were somewhere in the 40s) and the ice in the ditch was melting so I put on my father’s rubber boots and went out in the front yard and used my feet to move around the large thin sheets of ice that were in our ditch. Mom got home at 11:30 and we had tea and she told me all about the presentation.
Sarah came home that weekend bringing Bob with her. Bob was able to change the bit in our drill so I could start to put the hinges on my book case. I spent much of the weekend sanding them in the basement. Sunday night I drove myself to play practice. I was working on memorizing my lines as I drove to town: not a safe practice even in the low traffic environment of North Dakota.