Monthly Archives: April 2020

Whaling and Other Observations

I find it is part of my blog’s task to talk about observations made as a child.  I saw a lot of things, including a steam-driven tractor pull of old steam driven farm tractors.  They pulled against each other in a field from which we got to see the event.  The wheels on the tractors were  made of steel, manufactured by blacksmiths back in the 1920’s.  They had cleats on them too.    There must have been twenty tractors, kept in mint condition by the farmers that had saved a little bit of history for those of us watching the event.  I was about 6 or 7 years of age when I attended the fair in Iowa where it was held.  Now, think of people who maintain old  automobiles.  This was a little different, it was all steel tractors.

Moving on to Massachusetts, my father was a fastidious keeper of the small rowboat.  We always  had  one.  This one was bought at Sears for one hundred twenty nine dollars at Sears, on the spot where Target is now, in Lowell.  We took the rowboat to Gloucester, where we put it in the harbor.  People were very friendly, which puzzled my father as we went up and down the moorings.  Finally, he said, “I know what it is!  They are nice to us because they think we are motoring to our yacht.”  I do not know if that is true but it is certainly a unique observation.

Anyway, I noticed a boat, huge with an opening in the back the size of a garage door.  I could not determine what it might be.  Finally, it struck me.  This was in 1969 and the United States was still a whaling country.   I was looking at a whale ship.  The door was to be opened to pull the dead whale in and slaughter and butcher it.  I just thought it was important to write about.  No one under my age is going to be able to say that they saw a working whale ship docked at the fish factory in Gloucester.  We do not do whaling anymore, thank God.  We get our oil in other places.  Now, granted, Nantucket was the whaling capitol of the world, but that moniker died out with the almost extinct whales.   Except for the children of the President, shooting nearly extinct game in Africa at a high price, we try not to shoot large animals anymore.

Anyway, my environmental beliefs notwithstanding, I root for the whale.  It is a marvelous animal and the largest in  this history of animals.  The dinosaur was tiny compared to the whale.  So let’s keep Greenpeace funded so they can protect the whales of this world.  I pay them every year.

I remember, when the fishing industry observed a three mile limit, the Russian fleet fishing on Georges’ Bank.  I was angry, how could they get that close to United  States’ property.  They could because they did not expand the fishing limit.  There was no reason to get the Soviets upset.  Finally, we put in a twelve mile limit and that helped a little.  Not much because twelve miles on Georges’ Bank is not very much protection.  But it was better than three miles.

I wrote my Bachelor’s Thesis on Hugo Grotius and the Law of the Sea.  Peru has a two hundred mile limit, and a lot of smaller countries wanted to have a two hundred mile limit.  The United States had to look askance at that one.   We fish a twelve mile limit off the coast of the Soviet Union near Alaska.  We could not comfortably be hypocrites.

THOMAS a BECKETT and HENRY II

I like English History.  Wyman Trull, truly the best teacher I ever had, fostered that love in me.Thanks to him, I became an expert on the long strange line of monarchial succession.  I know, because of Mr. Trull, that there is a person in London who is truly the direct descendant of King William the Conquerer.   The  Plantagenet line exists.  The Windsor line is without legitimacy.  The Queen should not be the Queen.  I do not want to tell that to Prince Harry, since he has been defrocked of his offices.  This Queen is good at protecting herself.

I can prove the lineage but I am not going to do it today.  This paper is about Plantagenet King Henry II, one of the strongest kings in English history.  He had a bit of a scrape with Saint Thomas a Beckett.   His story became a major motion picture.  It starred Richard Harris as King Henry II and Richard Burton as Thomas a Beckett.   It was a huge hit when it came out in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  That is what I want to write about today.

 

 

i AM HAVING COMPUTER PROBLEMS, SO i WILL FINISH THIS PART LATER. I HOPE THAT YOU ENJOY MY OBSERVATIONS ON THE OCEAN.

Home and Rural Schooling – Is It the Answer?

The current Pandemic is incredibly brutal and deadly.   We are all scared, and someone who says they are not scared is lying.  I long for the earlier days, when I had simple deadly diseases, like cancer, heart disease, and Pulmonary Embolisms.  Stuff you can fight.  We have not learned how to fight Coronavirus or COVID 19 yet.  I think we are making remarkable strides, however.

One of the things that is going to change is our relationship with school.  I think it is fair to say that parents will never look at a simple cold the same as they did a few weeks ago.  I have a friend who is convinced that Moms will be the main source of educational excellence in the future.  He is advocating the implementation of Home Schooling.  Is it possible to have a two parent structure after Coronavirus?  I believe that most people will do what I did, which was a mutual agreement by my wife and I to open a homebound business.  We did, and do, drapes and window hangings,  My wife is extremely talented on the sewing machine and she used that talent to pay our excessive bills.

She also worked at a bank part-time.  Like many banks of the 1980’s,  it went under so it was back to draperies and window hangings.  My brother-in-law said that she was Lowell’s Laura Ashley.  It was a high compliment.  She can turn anything into  a drape.  I can install any wall-hanging.

We dabbled in education, until she got her Bachelor’s, her Master’s, and her Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study.  She is more educated then I was.   Then she finally became a teacher.  We still do some window hangings but they are farther and farther in-between.  It is a good business and we do not want to let it go.

My point is that everyone is going to have to change how they approach family-life and business.  Right now, millions of people are productively working at home.  No big office buildings, no huge inline computer systems.  Things have changed.

Education is going to change.  I see a great many people keeping their children at home.  People who espouse home schooling are going to be a major part of the educational system.  Curriculum will have to be written for them.  They may have to pay for some of it out of their own pocket, but that is a small  price to pay.

There are two areas to look at in this massive change.  The first is the successful implementation of home learning.  The second is looking over stresses besetting the rural school movement.  We look at rural schools as being built for the farmer.  We forget that these “hicks” participate very strongly in their children’s education.  We will still have a school system that has parents going to work, but we might have fewer students.

So, I had a mother next door to me who educated her children at home.  She was incredible, she had five children and  she  educated all  of them at home.  They were heads and shoulders above what my wife and I saw in our public school.  She took my daughter, and incorporated her in her lessons.  My daughter recently graduated from college with a Bachelor’s.  She excelled in all of the areas that this next-door-neighbor taught her.  We saw home-schooling first-hand and it was incredible.

Home schooling is safe.  Run by a caring parent, it excels.  I remember being a child, and my father was the local Superintendent,  one of his best parents did not send her children to him, but rather had a small classroom built in her home.  Her students were her children, and like my neighbor, she excelled in teaching the curriculum to her students.  They all did very well in standard testing.

THE RURAL SCHOOL SYSTEM

Rural schools are a lot like standard Home Schooling.  The tallest child is commonly heads  taller than the teacher, so discipline is a consideration.  It is a major consideration according to those teachers who are eclipsed by his height.    The information is the result of an appraisal of the rural school problems in “The Rural School From Within” by M.G. Kirkpatrick, B.S. Ph.D.  It is an older text and contains a chapter on “Managing Boys.”   The author says that, “the teacher is (often) a non-resident.”  The rural school teacher can live in the classroom but he or she is probably not the most aggressive in the room.  The large son of a large father dictates some of the practices of the room.  The teacher knows that he or she has to win their efforts by persuasion.

The teacher is often discouraged in a rural school.  His or her efforts are not rewarded.  I lived in a rural town of 27 people, including one priest and eight nuns.  My father was the Superintendent, the youngest Superintendent in the state.  The state was Iowa.

My father fired a teacher who could not maintain discipline.  He moved onto a bigger district and rehired the woman because discipline was not a major problem in his larger school district.  The district was more controlled.

The author talks a great deal about how religion is part of the rural landscape.  He learned that there were two books to be lent to skittish teachers, and one was the Bible.  Now, the Bible was the reason that the Puritans taught their children to read.  But a good rural high school needs reading material and he took it upon himself to order it.  Home-schoolers have, usually, access to some books.  The woman living next to us introduced anti-abortion books to her children.  But it was a book.

Rural schools are largely a thing of the past.  But the lessons are good.  Holidays are part of the rural education experience.  The school Christmas tree is described as “Nearly all Christmas trees are wonderful and this (one) differed in being very wonderful.” (Page 143)  To teach money handling and business acument, they set up a lemonade stand.  It worked.  The students got something out of it.

So that is basically it.  I think that how we handle our children who have been scared out of their skins recently, will determine whether there is a strong movement to diminish our teaching staff.  Rural school patterns, and Home Schooling will grow as a result of our inability to handle the Pandemic.