Button my buttons, I’m a reindeer!

I could not for the life of me figger what to blahg about today. I know that you guys don’t want to know anything about non-reporting accounts and BAI codes. You would prob’ly rather let us on-line banking folks keep that world running for you as smoothly as we possibly can. We aren’t perfect but our system is much better designed than the phone system at the car dealership I kvetched about yesterday.

So this is The Commander. She was a high school “home economics” teacher at this time of her life. 40-something. I don’t feel like doing the math right now. This photo is from my brother’s and my friend Matt. I highly doubt that Matt reads this blahg and if he did, I’m pretty sure he would be okay with me posting it. That dark thing just above her lip is not some sort of ugly cancerous growth, just an artifact of this old b/w photo.

Without going through The Comm’s whole life story, the year I began high school was the year she became a high school teacher. The subject she taught was called “home-ec” back in those days. I think it is called any number of things now. I took “home-ec” in junior high (boys took “shop”) and I remember it as cooking and sewing and that was about it.

The Commander did teach cooking and sewing skills but she also helped carry the program into new frontiers. I remember when she ran a child-care situation in her classroom. I mean with real children. Thinking about how daycare works nowadays and even when I had children, I can’t remember how these children were recruited. I doubt this program could’ve lasted more than a few weeks. But they were likely children of friends and co-workers who trusted my mother (and most people in town trusted my fam in general).

The other thing that she did was help spearhead a school store. You could buy school supplies and a limited supply of Blue Devil clothing there, some stuffed aminals and things. Without going into too much detail about mom’s education, after graduating from college, she began her career as a buyer at the downtown Detroit J.L. Hudson’s store. When she moved to the yooperland with her new husband (my dad), she worked for the local Montgomery Wards store. Until she FINALLY birthed a child after 11 years of trying — meeeeeee.

Mom could be kind of a snob. When I was about six, I had a sometimes friend (Wanda) who (according to mom) “didn’t even know what a J was” [the letter J, I mean]. In other words, she didn’t really want me to hang out with this child. When she began teaching, she learned to understand the children of the eastern yooperland – and their families – in a different light. The kids and their families warmed up to her too. “You honky”, said one Native American girl, affectionately. Mom felt honored.

I can’t leave this story without mentioning about how, when I was a senior in high school, a bunch of guys on the football team took the child care class with my mom. These guys were [mostly] good students who were taking an elective to finish out their senior year (my elective that year, besides band, was math-related, wish I could remember what it was but jeebus). I’m sure the football guys figgered my mom’s class would be an easy A and it probably was! What I remember is that they LOVED hanging out with the small children and my mom and she had a lot of fun “teaching” them.

Love you moom and thanks to Margaret Stargazer Teacher Woman for inspiring this overly long bunch of blather.

2 Responses to “Button my buttons, I’m a reindeer!”

  1. Margaret Says:

    Reminiscing about our loved ones is a perfect blog post for sure! I’m sure your family readers love to hear these stories about your mom too. She seemed like a Take No Prisoners type to me and I gravitate toward people who can deal with others lovingly and yet with toughness. I’m hoping that I am similar. 🙂

  2. Paulette Says:

    What a beautiful entry. I knew she was a pioneer, although she would probably not appreciate my saying so for she was a humble soul. I “talk” to Fran a lot while I pass your cabin. I remember her laughter. I loved her, and I miss her.