26 Feb 2013, 1:40pm
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Perfect Day

The Perfect Day

I’ve just finished reading “Tuesdays With Morrie” by Mitch Album. The story was read onto tape by Ray Hagan for the National Library Service and it was very well-done. The narrators tone of voice, cadence and accent brought the emotions and story alive. The topic revolves around the life-time experiences of Mitch’s former professor, who WAS THEN in his final battle with A.L.S.
Ted Koppel interviewed Morrie Swartz several times for his Night-line TV series, bringing national acclaim to Morrie, his courage, humor, grace, and points to ponder.
The author and Morrie considered this book to be Mitch’s thesis. A thesis that would be Morrie’s final class to teach and another chance for Mitch to learn from a great master. Morrie said that by learning how to die, one learns how to live.
One of the questions Mitch asked Morrie, as Morrie was days away from death, was: If you could be miraculously healthy for one day, what would you do? Mitch was surprised by Morrie’s simplistic response. What would YOU say if someone asked you what your perfect 24-hours would be?

While being blind is not terminal, I do have a feeling of being trapped in my own body, as Morrie was as his disease progressed. My perfect day would begin with making mad, passionate love with my husband, followed by a swim in our heated pool, then having a breakfast consisting of fresh grapefruit (just the sections and juice, please), one of those big, raisin bran muffins from Wegman’s, and a mug of my favorite, pseudo-cappuccino coffee; all served poolside.
After my husband leaves for work, I’d like to write until lunch-time, when two or three friends would come in for a light lunch and heavy conversation. In the afternoon, I’d like my little ones and their friends to come to tell me stories, play board games, and maybe even go for a swim. In the evening, my older children would come for a casual cook-out. They’d bring the food and do the clean-up, too.
Following that, I’d like to take a long walk with my husband to surprise a little chipmunk from under her Hosta Lily leaf, snap twigs beneath my feet on the path through the copse of Maple trees bordering Miller’s pasture, smell the ripening fruit on Wilbert’s apple trees, hear the kerplop of the frogs in Englert’s pond, smile at the raucous warnings from the Crows and Blue Jays, and hold His hand as we trudge back up the hill to our home. By then it would be almost dark and we could take a dip in the pool and trundle off to bed to rest in peace. In other words, I’d like my perfect day to include fellowship, fun and faith; dignity, independence and serenity.

What would your perfect day be like? Give me a call. Let’s chat.
(“Tuesdays With Morrie; An Old Man, A Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson” by Mitch Album, Published by Doubleday, 1997, 192 pages. This story was also made into a movie.)
“Cornucopia” column: 10/12/2006 Wayne County Mail Newspaper

20 Feb 2013, 2:17pm
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Buddies and Pals Nursery School

Buddies and Pals Nursery School

By Kate Chamberlin

     The tension is mounting.  We have sent in Tyler’s

application to our local nursery school, but we haven’t heard if

he’s been accepted yet. It’s quite nerve wracking.

I mean, what if his credentials aren’t good enough.

Perhaps, I started him on a sippy cup too late.  Did we start him

on “pull-ups” too soon?  I think his first tooth cut through on

time, but maybe they’re looking for early teethers.

Now that I think of it, though, he crawled for only a couple

weeks before he got up to run.  He never did walk much.  He’s

always running!  Not that he’s hyper-active, but they might

prefer the Type B personality.

When our oldest son applied to Syracuse University’s

Architecture Program ten years ago, things got tense, too.  He’d

applied for early admission, submitted his application, went for

the interview with his portfolio and then, nothing.  It was so

heart breaking to see him jog out to the mail box, only to drag

himself in without a word from Syracuse.

Then, late one evening when he came home from working at

Family Ties Restaurant, he checked his mail.  He bounded up the

stairs and stood at the far end of the bedroom hallway, raised

his arms in a victory sign and bellowed, “I’m in.  They want me!”

He ran down the hallway clutching the acceptance paper in his

clenched fist and bounced on our bed to be sure we’d heard his

good news.  He was one happy camper and I’ve always been proud to

be an Orange Mom.

What if our 2-1/2 year old isn’t accepted into the nursery

school?  Will he feel the rejection for the rest of his life?

He’s so young.  How will he cope?

Oh Dear Gussie, Plan B.  I need a Plan B.

I taught at the Teddy Bear Nursery School years ago.  I’ll

just start my own school.  It will be called Buddies and Pals

Nursery School.

Our “game room” already has plenty of space for large muscle

activities, such as rolling and bouncing balls.  I could put up

the trampoline, too.  We have the old water heater box to crawl

through and lots of other games to encourage imagination, team

spirit and taking turns.

I could bring up the puppet stage from our basement.  I must

still have the puppets around somewhere or we’ll make new ones.

Then he can learn to sew, use scissors, glue and create his own

puppet.  It’ll be great for small muscle development.

Yes, yes, this nursery school idea is coming together!

Every child needs to feel responsible for something, so

we’ll have him care for the cat.  Each morning right after we

review the shapes,  colors and seasonal holidays, and have

“Calendar time”, he can feed and water the cat.  Some days he can

even brush Gato.  The fish are already his and he now knows from

experience, that dumping the whole can of fish flakes in, will

result in dead fish.

Oh, whoops.  Teaching colors will be a bit tricky for a

totally blind person, but I’ll braille a lot of things and, I’m

sure, we can find some talking computer software that will assist

us in learning the colors.

Technology is important these days and we have a tape player

that he already knows how to use.  We’ll listen to lots of books

with cassettes.  Then draw pictures on paper with crayons or on

my chalk board.  The kid already can use our VCR better than I

can, so he’ll be in charge of running the educational video

tapes.

Socializing is very important for three-year olds, so I’ll

have other children in every now and then.  Years ago when I had

several children in my After School Study Buddy Program, we had a

Friday Is Friends Day.  We invited several neighborhood girls who

were the same age as my charges in to play board games.  This

left out the younger brother, so we started inviting a couple of

his friends in, too.  Then the younger siblings of the girls

wanted to come for Friday is Friends Day, also.  It was a huge

success.  Why not start that up again?

I’ve always dreamed of running my own nursery school.  This

is great.  I’m really excited.  I’m trained and Certified N-6, so

this might really work.

Oh, there’s the phone.

It was the director of the local nursery school.  Tyler has

been accepted for the September, 2001 semester.  She recommended

the summer pre-nursery school session for three-year olds. I

suspect the summer session is more for introducing the children

to the school experience rather than a remedial pre-reading

readiness skills session.

Does he want to join them?

Yes, he’d like to attend.

Poof!  There goes my dream of a nursery school.

If I’ve learned one thing during my more that half-a-century

on this earth, it is that I must let go of my dreams for my

children when they start to have dreams of their own.

So, be off with our Blessings, my little love.  Have fun

with the other wee people at your nursery school.  Your Mimi will

be here with milk and cookies to welcome you home.

Besides, we can  always be buddies and pals.

 

04/19/2001 Wayne County STAR Newspaper