Farewell My Friend, Until We Meet Again by Kim Justus

I was a child who was told by a 2nd grade teacher that I was “not good at art.” I took that as gospel. I couldn’t draw a straight line with a ruler. In fact, it became the long running family joke.

In 1995, at age 35, I suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm. At the peak of my game, I was knocked off the playing board altogether. I made a journal of the events during my 6+ month recovery. As my looks began to transform back to my “old self,” after being a “zipper head” due to the major craniotomy required, I longed to put the dreadful experience behind me. I just wanted to go back to “normal.” As an acquaintance said the other day, the only place she has seen “normal” is on a washing machine! That’s another story. I did the old fashion way of copyrighting, mailed my manuscript to myself, tossed it in a plastic storage bin, and moved on for over a decade. I thought, someday, I’d write a book about my incredible experience. In fact, my mom suggested once or twice a year that I “get right on that!” I wasn’t quick to act. Continue reading “Farewell My Friend, Until We Meet Again by Kim Justus”

Rest in Peace, Marty

Special Editors, Board of Directors, Members, and Friends:

Marty Pierson died Tuesday evening about 6 p.m. She was sedated to handle the pain of her inoperable brain tumor. After she lost her vision and became blind in December, the tumor was discovered, as doctors were looking at her eyes. Many years ago, she said that since she had no remaining kin she wanted to adopt Fine Lines as her family. She came to almost every editors’ meeting through the years and taught elementary children at each summer camp we had since she discovered our writing network. After teaching at Norris Middle School and Technical High School in the Omaha Public Schools for many years, she retired and devoted her time to helping needy students advance in school by providing scholarships for them, working in the arts, and discovering that she was an artist with words. She was most surprised to find out after retiring that she had something to say, people listened to her, and enjoyed writing. We will miss her a lot.

Write on, Marty,

DavidMarty Pierson

Soap Ducks, Sore Backs & Succotash by Randy DeVillez

Soap Ducks, Sore Backs, & Succotash

by Randy DeVillez

I was an education major for a while in undergraduate school. Several situations led to my switching to a B.A. in English. The first event occurred when my Ed. Psych. teacher, delivering the same lecture two days in a row (not intentionally), while excitedly flapping his arms, spitting (due to his lisp) and drawing an imaginary bell curve in the air, executed a perfect face plant from the podium in front of the lecture hall, landing nose and chin into the lap of the pretty brunette sitting in front of me. Although I was envious, I was not impressed. I also knew I would have to endure other courses with him. The next week, my Introduction to Education instructor told us to bring a new bar of Ivory Soap for carving soap ducks the next class period. He also assigned me (an English-teacher-to-be) to shadow a physical education teacher at one of the local grade schools for my “field experience.” While I enjoyed my time with the coach and really liked him, I can’t say I was learning anything to help me teach college English.

When I thought of the tuition I was paying at a small private college to monitor kickball and carve soap ducks, I decided to switch to a liberal arts degree and double up on courses in my major. I skipped education classes and certification, figuring all the extra course work in my major and minor would help me get into graduate school and give me a better background for college teaching. In retrospect, the decision was a correct one, but my lack of training in education often surfaced during my thirty years in the classroom. I learned lessons experientially from my students and colleagues that I wish to pass on to anyone else following in my academic footsteps, anyone who is considering becoming a teacher.

ONE: Avoid giving your students a headache or backache. Continue reading “Soap Ducks, Sore Backs & Succotash by Randy DeVillez”