Archive for August, 2009

Heat Wave Hits So.CA.

August 30th, 2009 Comments off


400 entries now on!

The heat wave that has hit Southern California

may be due to a lot of hot air coming from

the computer of  someone called the schoolmarm!

Photo 112She has doubled the number of entries

on her website

in the last three months!

No wonder there are fires all over the


If she keeps going at this rate,

the whole state may go up in flames!

details at 11:00!

Update: by Jan. 2010 we are over 750 entries.  It is getting HOT!


Resisting Grieving

August 29th, 2009 Comments off

I have resisted grieving for another public figure, someone I have heard of but did not personally know.  But today, when CNN replayed DSCN0057_001the tribute to Ted Kennedy given by his son Teddy, I felt the grief rise up in me.  It was because I was seeing a boy without his father. The man became more than a face in the news.

Teddy Kennedy told of his father urging him to climb a steep hill in the snow at the time the 12 year old was adjusting to a prosthetic leg.   His father hadn’t just said for him to climb the hill, but that he would help his son get up that hill if it took all day.

The story demonstrated the remarkable resiliency of Edward Kennedy himself. After a series of tragedies, it would have been much easier to have just taken his fortune and fled.  Instead,  he chose to serve the public for the remainder of his life, while being a force of stability and love for the entire Kennedy clan.

Did he find redemption?  I know some would deny him that, but since I believe we receive as we give,  I want to be more generous in my judgment. Besides, it really isn’t up to us to say.

I still want to save my deepest grief for my own friends and family, but I will share my prayers and sympathy for others who are known but unknown to me.

No matter what our differences, we are all just people living out the days given to us. When our time is up, most of us will not make CNN,  but the depth of grief for us, in a smaller arena,  will be just as profound.

Live well.

photo: J.Hayter

Talent on the Family Tree

August 28th, 2009 Comments off


img486Our family tree has had its share of talent:  artists, writers, craftsmen, a potter, musicians, public speakers, singers and humorists.

Uncles, Jim and Karr,  were skilled and inventive men. Karr was gifted at making musical instruments which they taught themselves to play.

In a rare photo the boys are seen playing a tune,  while two of their sisters dance. They would also play for the telephone party line, while their neighbors listened in.  


The two handsome Arkansans had dark eyes and wavy black hair.  If one wasn’t entertaining with some wild story that held his listeners spellbound, the other had folks laughing with his great comedic timing.  

Karr directed his creativity into carpentry.  I saw his workmanship in his home inimg689 Black Rock, Arkansas. I was delighted to see his beautiful violin, which had excellent tone and quality, as he proudly demonstrated.   Uncle Karr was still a character, and with a ‘straight face’ kept us laughing. 

With his fiddle and a story at hand, Jim became everyone’s favorite barber. In 1937 he purchased the Sanitary Barber Shop, on the court square in Pocahontas.  It is documented as the first barber shop in Arkansas, (established  in 1894).   He remained there for forty years.  The shop has been in continuous operation for 115 years and thanks to his daughter Joann and husband Hugh (a fellow barber) it is still in the family. 

Jim and Karr:  They were unique, and left a lasting impression. They certainly added their share of originality and talent to our family tree.  They have not been forgotten.


photo: c: 1920  


En Español:

Nuestro árbol genealógico ha tenido su acción de talento: Los artistas, los escritores, los artesanos, un alfarero, los músicos, altavoces públicos, los cantantes y los humoristas.

Dos fueron mis tíos, Jim y Karr. Ellos fueron hombres hábiles e inventivos. Karr fue especialmente talentoso en hacer instrumentos musicales que ellos enseñaron a sí mismo tocar. En una foto rara los chicos son vistos jugando una melodía, mientras dos de sus hermanas bailan.

Ellos también jugarían para la línea del partido telefónica, mientras sus vecinos escucharon. El dos Arkansans guapo tuvo ojos y pelo oscuros negro ondulado. Si uno no entretenía con alguna historia salvaje que tuvo a sus oyentes embelesados, las otras gente tenidas que ríen con su gran tiempo cómico. Aposté ellos lo podrían haber hecho en Vodevil.

En vez de eso, Karr dirigió su creatividad en la carpintería. Hace muchos años yo vi su habilidad en los muebles que él causó su casa en la Piedra Negra, Arkansas. Fui más encantado, sin embargo, para ver su hermoso violín hecho a mano, que tuvo excelente tono y la calidad, como él demostró orgullosamente. El tío Karr fue todavía un carácter, y como siempre, nos mantuvo riéndonos.

Con su violín y una historia en mano, Jim llegó a ser todos peluquero predilecto. En 1937 él compró la Peluquería Sanitaria, en el cuadrado del tribunal en Pocahontas. Es documentado como la primera peluquería en Arkansas, (estableció en 1894). El se quedó allí durante cuarenta años. La tienda ha estado en la operación continua durante 115 años y gracias a su hija Joann y el marido Hugh (un peluquero prójimo) es todavía en la familia.

Jim y Karr: Ellos fueron extraordinarias, e izquierdas una última impresión. Ellos ciertamente agregaron su acción de la originalidad y el talento a nuestro árbol genealógico. Ellos no han sido olvidados.

la foto: C: 1920

Reflection: Self Image

August 28th, 2009 Comments off




Looking through my old sketchbooks I can quickly gauge my emotional state by the degree of harshness I have applied to my image.  Some of the drawings from earlier years are cruel in their overemphasis of every negative feature.  

Don’t you think most of us are more critical of ourselves than others are of us?  

At age 61  I drew myself  with a kinder, more gentle touch.  Good for me.

May I ask . . . how do you react at your reflection in the mirror? If you are being overly critical, back off and smile at yourself.  You are the only you you have.

Know what I mean, Vern?





The Coopers

August 27th, 2009 Comments off

The Coopers lived across the street from me.  She was beautiful, he was handsome, and the kids were adorable. They were picture perfect.   I remember this about them:

Monday through Friday, about 7:30 a.m Mrs. Cooper would stand in her doorway with the baby in her arms and three year old Ryan by her side.  They would stand looking at the attached garage, while the car slowly pulled out.  This signaled a morning ritual.

Bye Daddy, Bye Daddy, G’Bye Daddy!”  Ryan would  call as he waved his hands.

Mr. Cooper would return the wave several times as he backed out of the driveway.  Ryan, clutching his blankie in one hand, would call even louder and more plaintively,

“Bye Daddy, Bye Daddy, G’Bye Daddy!”

As the car drove away, Ryan would run to the edge of the yard and stare down the street until the car was out of sight.  Then,dragging his blankie he would slowly follow his mother  back into the house.

At around five o’clock Mrs. Cooper and the children were once again on the front steps, their eyes  focused on the direction where the car was expected to appear. When it finally came into sight, Ryan, smiling broadly would start a lively chorus of “Hi, Daddy! Hi Daddy, Hi Daddy, hi!” It was a song of jubilation accompanied by jumps and twirls.

Mr. Cooper would park the car, scoop up Ryan before kissing his wife and the baby.   After a few moments of group hugging they would go through the front door.  Daddy was home, and everything was secure again, in Ryan’s world.

Handmade With Love

August 27th, 2009 Comments off





The sock monkey was a favorite stuffed toy that Mama made.  This is baby Timothy with his.

Did your Mother have a favorite toy or gift that she made for all the kids?   Maybe you are the one who is known for making cool gifts.  What is your speciality?

Why not send me a picture to add to the gallery?  I know there are some more monkey pictures out there!

Just send it to





Good Guy: Sidney

August 26th, 2009 Comments off


Linda_and_SidneyDr. Simpkins is a highly respected anesthesiologist in Atlanta, a devoted husband, a loving father, brother, and an all around good guy.   Since marrying my sister, Linda, 37 years ago, he has gained the love and respect of everyone in our family.  

Sidney is a consistent voice of reason, a kind, generous man, willing to lend a hand and to go beyond what is expected of him.   His intelligent, thoughtful ways have made him a resource for many  people who turn to him for  a wide variety of matters.  

His compassionate involvement with our parents, as well as his own parents, has been a blessing. He may downplay his many acts of kindness, using his wry sense of humor,  but they have been substantial.  My father liked Sidney very much, and Mama still loves to tease back and forth with him.

For a busy guy, with many hats to wear, none fits more securely than that of  Granddad.  As a Grandfather he is a tender hearted fellowPatrick_day_5_011 who takes on the role wholeheartedly, as  shown in the picture of him when his first grandchild, Patrick, was just five days old.  

Now he has sweet little Katelyn,  three year old Terry,  and another grandbaby  is on the way.  I’m sure they will all grow up to agree that their granddad is the best!

It is with sincere admiration that the schoolmarm happily adds Sidney to her roster of very Good Guys!





Quote: Rose Kennedy

August 26th, 2009 Comments off



 “The secret of the Kennedy successes in politics was

 not money but meticulous planning and organization,

 tremendous effort and the enthusiasm and devotion of

 family and friends.”


Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy



 (of course the money didn’t hurt)


Matt and Shaq

August 25th, 2009 Comments off


from Matt


My nephew, Matt, met Shaq,  and to the envy of many basketball fans,  had his picture taken with him.  

Shaq didn’t know, but Matt is a gifted classical guitarist.  If the big man had heard Matt play,

he would have been the one impressed.


UPDATE:  I asked Matt to tell me about the picture  and this is what he wrote:  

“The picture was taken in 2003 in Orlando, FL where I was living and working at the time.  A friend of mine at work and I saw Shaq pull up in his Hummer and then watched him go into a Sam Goody Music store next door to us.

 We went to check out his Hummer which was totally decked out with even a Superman engraved gas cap (its been shown on MTV’s cribs before).  

While we were looking at it, it started to rain and we noticed his windows were down so we went into the Sam Goody to let him know.  He was playing drums inside, we told him, and he said “you go roll them up for me, wait no you’ll steal it”.  He was just kidding around and laughing.  

He walked out and rolled up his windows.  When he came back, he said “Thanks guy, want a picture?”  And that was pretty much it.  Very nice guy, and an enormous human being!”

Thanks Matt!

Cool Site: Bellingrath Gardens in Mobile

August 25th, 2009 Comments off


A peaceful ‘cool site’ for you, thanks to Wendy. After you enjoy the beautiful pictures, soothing music and lovely quotes, come on back to the classroom and check out what’s new here. 




Después de que usted disfrute de las hermosas imágenes y música, vuelta por favor.



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