Give Peace (and Education) a chance

Establishing lasting peace is the work of education; all politics can do is keep us out of war.

Maria Montessori

 

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Vote YES for the middle school expansion!

Today is voting day in my small town. Or…as it was formerly known…Town Meeting Day. Or, more specifically, Town Meetin’ Day.

Many years ago, it was actually an open meeting for all town residents. Who assembled on folding chairs set up in the town hall. Votes were cast on various budget items and for the election of town officials. Attendees were given an opportunity to stand and voice support or opposition to the matters at hand. Sometimes a paper ballot. Sometimes just a voice vote.

Now, as the town has changed – and the population has increased – we vote in voting booths. In the former high school’s gymnasium. Exactly the same way we vote in the general elections.

Some may say these local elections are not all that important.
I disagree.
We are choosing the individuals who will sit on the School Board. We are voting for the members of the Board of Selectman, which governs our town. Making crucial decisions. Rules affecting how we live, where we live, where we park. Public safety. Fire trucks. Street signs. Police activity.  Water quality. Local businesses also absorbing the direct and indirect ramifications.

Today there are over 20 individual budget items to consider, including the annual operating budget. One item on the ballot – for the 3rd year in a row – is all about education.

The middle school desperately needs to be expanded and renovated. Each yearly proposal has slashed more of its requests to reduce the cost. Letters to the Editor in the local paper shout out We Need This! or A Waste of Money! Often implying that the senior citizens…or those without school age children…are the reason this hasn’t been approved.

The financial burden of property taxes (which is how our schools are financed) is real. I get that. But I also know that the dollar increase due to this ballot item is not extraordinary. It averages out to a few monthly meals at the local bar and grill over the course of a year. Maybe. Or a weekly latte at the coffee shop.

So I ask myself…why don’t people understand the significance of educating our children to the best of our ability? Why do they want to keep class sizes large and cram kids into a too-small cafeteria? No music room? Art on a cart? Educating the whole child…what happened to that, I wonder….and its ramifications if not done with care. And, yes, with some sacrifice.

As cliché as it sounds, it remains a fact: (Everyone’s) Children are the Future.

My children were raised in a different town than where I currently live. I will always be grateful to the citizens who voted in favor of school improvements and supported the teachers with the salaries they needed and deserved. Despite the sacrifice. I know many of those voters were senior citizens. Who had the foresight – and wisdom – to understand the need. And the significance.

Our children and their education is important.
Voting is crucial.
Let’s not take either for granted.

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Photo a Week – Colorful

Nancy Merrill is hosting a photo challenge. The theme this week – Colorful

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO (OR MORE) THAT HAVE COLORFUL SUBJECTS.

The countdown to spring weather continues…getting more and more intense with each snowy, freezing cold day. At least in my neighborhood.

As I was wandering down the aisles at the local discount store recently…
Past the fleece gloves. Leather gloves. Mittens.
Ear warmers. Neck warmers. Hand warmers.
Long knit scarves. Boot socks. Ice scrapers.
And the discounted Christmas elf knick knacks and dust covered heart shaped boxes of expired Valentine’s candy…

I spotted the following display…

flower seeds crop
HOPE for the change of seasons

 

 

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Round

This post inspired by Frank at Dutch goes the Photo

The prompt: Round

 

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Have you ever heard of 3D Tic Tac Toe?

I never did until we took a family weekend trip to Boston in 1995. One of the highlights was a visit to the Boston Children’s Museum. The “Brain Games” section on the third floor included life-size chess and checkers…and 3D Tic Tac Toe. My 13 year old daughter “especially liked” that section (as noted in our travel scrapbook).

We all enjoyed it so much that my husband made a family home version…using a piece of pine board, dowels and 64 wooden beads (he painted half of them red).

Our homemade game survived downsizing.
Perhaps to entertain us in our old age.

Who says it’s just for children?

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3D Tic Tac Toe

 

 

 

What’s in a Name

This post inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #38: What’s In a Name?
what’s in a name? Specifically, your blog name.

 

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So how did I come up with…oneletterup?

It was a process…a metamorphosis from one idea to another.
Quickly realizing there were many like-minded WordPress writers who had already scooped up my blog name ideas. Containing the words diaries or letters or journals

I took that as a sign. To dig deeper. As this blog-to-be was just taking shape in my mind…and I surveyed the saved boxes of diaries, journals, stories – and old letters.

Especially the letters…hundreds of handwritten letters from as far back as when I was 7 years old. Precious pieces of everybody-has-a-story history. Letters from girlfriends, camp friends, grandparents, mother, father, sisters, brothers.
Also, just as interesting, were the letters I had written to my parents…from camp, summer jobs, college or from the privacy of my childhood bedroom.

Something…intuition I couldn’t ignore…kept me from throwing them all away.

Despite advice from well meaning loved ones…
What do you need all those letters for?
Burn them. They’re awful.
Or
Nobody cares.
It’s all in the past anyway!

However…the past – and its people – and their stories – are important.

I needed to write…and use the letters…and the diaries…
and (as I was to discover) the photographs that had piled up high.
Source material? Inspiration? Family history? Because it was fun? And perhaps cathartic at the same time?
All of the above.

I had already begun writing about my family and friends over the years. Sharing at various writing classes and groups. One short essay published online.

For the most part, though, my life had been full of responsibilities pushing the writing down low, if not completely off, the list. Until a year ago. When I was ready. And strong enough to ignore all the discouraging voices…inside and out.

Stories were swimming
Beneath the surface.

I needed to dive in
Put words on the page…
…one letter up….at a time.

 

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Tender Moments

This post inspired by Cee’s B&W Photo Challenge. The topic this week: Tender Moments

Being a big sister is not always easy.

I know that from experience, as I was a big sister 4 times. By the time my youngest sibling was born, I was in high school and became more of a surrogate parent than a sister. 

My daughter was almost 6 when her brother was born.
Five and three quarters! she would be quick to remind us.

The transition to sharing parental attention was a challenge I understood and tried to make as smooth as possible for her.
Without shortchanging her little brother.

Well, my husband and I got lucky. And with some guidance on our part…their relationship blossomed from the start. Her love for her brother was palpable. As was his for her. Not without some healthy competition of course. And normal periodic friction. Racing to the front door to be first. To the car for the front seat (Shotgun!). And down the stairs to see what Santa brought.

But there were also the quieter moments. Looking at picture books.
Playing games. Giggling at secret jokes.

And sitting under the backyard trees exploring what was hidden in the grass.

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Big sister age 6½…exploring nature with little brother…age 1¾

Their childhood together lasted until he was 12 and she was 18 and left home for college. Nineteen years ago.

But their connection remains solid to this very day.

And for that, I am eternally grateful.