Monday, March 30, 2009

Talent Show Possibility

Group 1 Crew : "Forgive Me" (Go to link, R-Click on video and select full screen),,4402913,00.html

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Show Must Go On

We just found out that our school is closing and our educational program (Kentwood Public Schools) must be moved out of this secure, residential facility by June 5. Where will we go? Where will all the stuff go? Most of the furniture is shabby, having been handed down from school to school over the years, until we found ourselves vying for plastic chairs of assorted colors. Those kinds of things will probably be trashed.

I'd like to give away most of my things, rather than pack/store them this time around (we moved into this building only three months ago). If you think I might have something you'd like, please feel free to let me know! I'm giving away bookcases, books, fabric, and tools and materials for science experiments. There's a box of fish tank items, too. I used to have seven fish tanks, along with three guinea pig habitats, two terrariums, and an incubator that hatched both chicken and duck eggs. Teaching Reproductive Health was never easier!

While all is quite unsettled, kids are still singing in the halls, still getting ready for the talent show at the end of the school year. It's so heartwarming.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Heartland Missionaries

A month of Sunday special go-to-meetin’s has nothing on their little fingers wrapped around a microphone, deep breaths and lip licks magnified, eyes glistening, ready now . . . to sing for the world. They send their message out to dark corners everywhere, hopes of forgiveness, changing a mind, kindness, and joy, joy, joy.

The Nelson Brothers, 10 and 11 years old, wearing unmatched suits pressed so shiny flat, could not have sat before going out on stage. One has shoes, the other fresh, white socks on sweet blessed feet bringing Good News. “Weeping may endure for a night . . . “ Their brightly smiled serious lyrics with earnest brows and moves tell on them. They know weeping. They know hope, amazing joy. Our lapels and laps freely accept our tears.

A small denim and plaid cowgirl, with boots she whispers aren’t real leather, fixes her flashing dark eyes on a spot beyond us, her confidence reflecting off the back wall of mirrors to include even those standing in the aisles, and sings right through the spot. We collectively pause, and then, oh yes, clap wildly.

Five barefooted Indian girls with peach and pomegranate flowing silks and enchanting Indian voices press their palms to the sky. We watch spellbound at the possibility that they are really royal princesses having arrived moments ago on a magic carpet from heaven.

One after another, each performance leads us to a better place than that which we have briefly left. Our hearts well up with gratitude. We, of all shapes and sizes, nod warmly at each other in the semi-darkness. We share gladness for being alive.

The five-dollar ticket/ballot is to determine the Most Enjoyed Talent (MET Award) and help continue the Talent Showcase for 9 to 12 year-olds. We are to circle only two performances. Oh, wish they could all win the $100 prize.

“They deserved to win,” says the cowgirl, politely waving over to the well-rehearsed Indian girl group. “And, the boy who sang ‘Forgive’ just about made us faint backstage.” He came in second. I happily hold Savannah’s cowgirl music CD as she says goodbye to her friends and goes to get her t-shirt.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Still Amazing

When my father would take my brothers and me to do Saturday errands we'd stop at Alexander Hornung's, and sometimes the nice man behind the tall glass case of meat would tear us each one off the casing string of frankfurters. Sometimes, a lady would give us a small ladybug or strawberry of marzipan. We'd go to Montgomery Ward and look at tools. My father was learning English from some truck drivers. They called it Monkey Wards. We'd go to the bank and to the post office. But, by far our favorite was the Red Shield store.

He'd give us each a nickel and we'd see who could find the best toy for the money. While he shopped for who knew what, we'd make our way over to the long wall of tables, covered with a grid of shallow wooden drawers heaping in small metal and plastic items. The colors and the sheer mass of them must have been what was so attractive, because the 5-cent toys were usually chipped, slightly broken, or even missing parts. I liked the greenish-blue, metal, clicking cricket. My brothers seemed to like any sort of vehicle, and they could figure out a way to fix it. That challenge was really the fun thing. They did this all the way through their teens with real cars.

It was always the Red Shield store. We'd be singing in the car on our way there. You never knew what treasure you could find. Only when I was much older did I realize when I saw the shield on a sign, that this wonderful store of my childhood and the Salvation Army store were one and the same. I've always liked the shield.

Here's a great ad: Army/Amazing Grace video

Le Violiniste Bleu, Chagall