Category Archives: 4 H

Exclusive Membership


Do you belong to any clubs, organizations or places of interest?

This is a short post that holds three pieces of history.  They are

smaller than a 3″ x 5″ index card. Each has elements of nostalgia,

excitement, childhood memories and personal information.


I was looking through a stack of my parents’ postcards.

I found items belonging to my mother tucked in between.

Each is rather

fragile and



Item # One:


Bright red,

Yellow details,

Unique wording

made of rope lasso:

“Hi – Yo Silver”


No. 13240


Picture of familiar



black eye mask.


Date: 4/20/39


“This is to certify that

Rosalie Mattson

is a duly qualified

member of the

Bond Bread

Lone Ranger Safety Club

for Boys and Girls

~ The Lone Ranger ~

Sign your name here  ________________. ”




“The Lone Ranger Secret Code






The top line of letters is in Regular order.

The bottom line is a second alphabet,

EXCEPT it starts with the letter, “B”

and ends with the letter “A.”

Using the Lone Ranger Secret Code

the word “BOND”

would appear as,



Copyright 1939, T.L.R., INC.

East Bond Bread . . . 3 Times A Day!”


My mother would have been 11 years old,

when she got this Lone Ranger Safety Club

card for boys and girls.

I wonder what the

bread card


her to?


**Any clues to share about this

card would be of interest to me.


Item # Two:

The next item is quite tiny,

size of a ticket for a raffle.

It holds a lot of information

on this pale dove-gray ticket.


“Fort McHenry

National Monument and Historic Shrine

Baltimore, Maryland

Inner Fort Admission. . . . . 10 cents

Federal Tax. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 cents

Total. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 cents

U. S. Dept. of the Interior

National Park Service

International Ticket Company

Newark, N. J.”


**Can you imagine such a small

charge for such a treasure and

hallowed place in history?


A yellowed library card,

The East Hartford

Public Library card

Rosalie Mattson

17 Oakwood Street

East Hartford,


May 19, 1940.


There are multiple dates

stamped on this card.


When I think of childhood,

I remember my pride in

carrying my Brownie

membership card.


My Sandusky Public

Library card around.

They were kept in a

tan leather wallet.


I remember one of my close friends, Amy, having a Mickey

Mouse Club card. I also know she carried around a Blue Birds’

membership card. These were kept in her red leather wallet.


My Dad belonged to several clubs, but took quite a lot of pride

in his being a Boy Scout Leader. He was also a member of Bay

Men’s Club and the Ancient Astronauts Society in Chicago, Ill.

He carried around a “Diner’s Club” card and belonged to the

“Brown Derby Birthday Club.” Dad joined the Rock and Roll

Hall of Fame when it opened its Cleveland establishment, 1983.


These days my grandchildren belong to Webelos, Cub Scouts,

the Delaware County District Library, Chuck E. Cheese birthday

club, Dora (or Bob the Builder) Nickelodeon, Jr. club and more.


My own three children had 4 H membership cards and pins.

My son stayed in Boy Scouts up through elementary school,

while my oldest daughter stayed with Girl Scouts through her

Delaware Willis Middle School years. They belonged to PBS’

“Sesame Street Club” and did not join the Barney Fan Club.


I get my gas and produce my Speedway Rewards card and

belong to the same Subway Club the commercial man, Jared

belongs to. I like to receive free birthday burger from Ruby

Tuesdays and print out coupons from other restaurants.

I am a proud member of the Godiva Chocolate Rewards club.


It doesn’t have to be an ‘exclusive’ club or organization

to make it a fun place to be. It can be a fishing or running

club, it can be one which includes your circle of friends in

your faith, who gather and label themselves, a “Bible Club.”


Would you mind sharing a memory of a special designated

card, a piece of nostalgia or whimsy, something from your

collection of memorabilia or a current ‘club’ you belong to?











Critter Lovers


My Mom and Betty White adore animals of every species and support their

lives with their extra money. My Mom has always been part of the ones who

would donate to any and all causes for animal preservation, prevention to

cruelty and local humane societies. They both use their humor and their

love of animals to ‘keep on going.’ Betty White is often on talk shows, in

movies and recently Hallmark featured her in a movie about a woman who

was waiting for her husband to come back from WWII. It is called, “The

Lost Valentine.”


Both women, although far apart in their professions, my Mom and Betty,

were widows and kept on their toes, with causes and interests. Betty has said,

she would have retired long ago, except that she wanted to continue to be able

to donate for animals’ rights. Both of these over 80 year old women, Mom and

Betty, live purposeful and meaningful lives.


Oh, and if you didn’t know this; both women ‘love’ Cleveland! You may see

Betty White performing and cracking her audiences up in, “Hot in Cleveland,”

on TV Land on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. (Ch. 38- Central Ohio time)


If you were to live in Cleveland area, here are some extraordinary animal

supportive entertainment projects being carried on, forwarded from last

Sunday’s Cleveland Plain Dealer, via Mom.

Everything from hummingbirds’ research and studies, which you may be

willing to observe and participate to “cat karaoke night,” are included in

this list of 10 upcoming events or fundraising projects!


1.  On Friday, September 262014: The group named,  “tails from the city,”

will hold “Karaoke for Cats,” at Paddy Rock Superpub.  This is located at

16700 A. Lorain Road. The group will take questions or donations at:


2. The Northeast Ohio Circus Boycott Committee can be found on Facebook.

This organization promotes animals living in their natural environments.

They believe that animals should not be made to perform, should be able to

utilize their natural instinctive behaviors and not trained behaviors. Forcing

animals to perform is considered, “mistreatment.” There also is a phone

number for this organization: (440)-213-6342.


3. There is a New APP for smartphones that will inform the public of how to

help orphaned or injured wild animals. Free guidance can be found for the

group, Animal Help Now or


4.  Do you want to show your appreciation for animals with a variety of

t-shirts with slogans?

The two organizations support animals:



5.  This is so cool! Did you know humane societies and animal shelters collect

package weight circles from Purina Pet Food bags and products? Apparently,

Purina is like the Campbell Soup labels for education program and will reimburse

different non-profit shelters by their receiving labels for dogs, cats, bunnies, and

other domestic animals.


6. The National Audubon Society is asking for information about the hummingbirds

in your area. They are offering a free APP for people to contribute to their study of



7.  The Volunteer Vets and Valley Save-A-Pet organizations in Cleveland, Ohio are

working together by offering free spaying and neutering surgeries for dogs and cats

of low income owners. This outstanding joined forces group helped to perform more

than 1200 surgeries last year. Their program is titled, “Have A Heart.” They request

the participants fill out income guidelines and the animals be younger than two

years old and at least 35 pounds. If you wish to participate or donate:  Please Call:

(440)-232-CATS (2287)


8. September 21st the Annual Rainbow Bridge Walk and Run will begin at 1 p.m.

to honor and remember pets who have passed on into heaven. This is located in the

North Park, 3595 Grafton Road, Brunswick, Ohio.

Details for the Rainbow Walk can be found at:


9. The Medina Pet Pantry is accepting pet food donations, leftovers from animals who

have died or newly purchased at: 6335 Wedgewood Road, Medina, Ohio.


10. Going along with the #s 8 and 9, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland, Ohio

will be holding their Pet Blessings service in remembrance of beloved pets who are living

and also, ones that have passed on, October 5, 2014 between 1-3 p.m.  More details at:


If you are an animal lover, you may already know about the fantastic veterinarian and

author, James Herriot. I loved his longer, autobiographical adventures for anyone from

middle school and older. They are rich in English countryside, customs and anecdotes.

Here is his beautiful list of books, which I have treasured for years:

1. All Creatures Great and Small

2. All Things Bright and Beautiful

3. All Things Wise and Wonderful

4. The Lord God Made Them All

There are several more, including The Best of James Herriot but I am not sure, unless

you are a parent whose children adored animals and you were in the juvenile books area,

that some of you are aware of these special and meaningful story books. Each is illustrated

beautifully and my own children chose one of these to focus on in their growing up years:

1. Moses the Kitten (1984).

This was our first James Herriot book we invited into our home.

2. Oscar, Cat About Town.

3. Only One Woof.

4. The Christmas Baby Kitten.

This is kept in our Christmas book collection huge basket.

5. Bonny’s Big Day.

Horse lovers, this is about a special horse!

6. Blossom Comes Home.

People who have affection towards those doe-eyed cows, should

check out this sweet story.

7. The Market Square Dog.


There may be more books, your own personal animal stories you may wish to share

in our comments and responses. We all like animals, it is a true fact, babies and pets

are sometimes what bring smiles from even the ‘grouchiest’ people!


I will be shortly walking out of the library to see one of the biggest horse parades in

the United States. (Delaware, Ohio at 3 p.m. on September 7th.) I will be running into

a number of my friends, church members and neighbors. I will be sitting on a curb

soon, enjoying the community sense of fellowship and high expectation. In the past,

there have been diverse costumes, including Native American, (some represent the

history of this area, as descendants of the Mingo tribe), KISS band member look-alikes,

old-fashioned period costumes, Servicemen and women, Amish men and women with

their bonnets on, guiding their wagons and Clydesdales.

I will keep my eyes peeled, my camera ready to capture the horses with my coworker

and friend Amy, her ex-mother in law and daughter, riding together as a Trio entry in the

parade. The parade committee and guest judges will be choosing Best of Show, Most

Unique and other categories of winners for varied entries in this annual parade.

I have written about Amy’s horses, Spirit, Lokie and Sapphire. I have not been sure of

which ones they will be riding, one in all turquoise, another in all golden colors and the

third one, still up in the air, as of Friday. This means the headdress and blanket under the

saddle are of a chosen color, all in the ‘regalia’ of horse finery!


I am wearing this cowgirl on a horse, fall colors shirt, you can see in my avatar photo. No pants

today, since it is quite sunny and pleasant. Will be sitting on West Winter Street, with some

members of the family waving at the cowboys, cowgirls and children who are in this

All Horse Parade.

Supposedly, it is still considered, “The Biggest All Horse Parade East of the Mississippi!”









Announcing Ohio State Fair, 2014


Entertainment and relationships have been found and made

stronger from attending lively musical performances and

riding on fair or amusement park rides. This year has

already been forecasted to be a hot summer, by the 2014

Farmer’s Almanac and meteorologists.

Where do you go that is not exorbitant in cost and get

the ‘most bang for your buck?’ The Ohio State Fair!

From July 23 – August 3rd…

I am sure that your area of the world may have wonderful

cultural events, festivals, zoos and botanical gardens

to enjoy.

The CBS news broadcasters (Channel 10 in Central Ohio)

recently gave us the upcoming partial list of singers

and entertainers who will perform at the Ohio State Fair.

Here are a few of them:

Lady Antebellum will deliver a great country and popular

musical performance. They are easy on the ‘eyes’ and

‘ears.’ Their concert will be held on July 25, 2014.

Joan Jett will be bringing her excitement and enthusiasm,

along with some ‘retro style’ (of the 80’s) ‘rock and

roll’ music.

Going even farther back in time, Aretha Franklin, The

Beach Boys, Nancy Wilson and Heart will be performing

for those who have nostalgia and deep pockets.

The American Idol night will include Scotty McCreary’s

deep vocalizations and country combined with pop style

music, (July 27, 2014) All the concerts will be held

in the air-conditioned Celeste Center.

I used to love to go to the Ohio State Fair, where

the coliseum and the bleachers were all one price.

Past personal experiences of fair entertainment was

so incredibly diverse. I have seen The Beach Boys,

Huey Lewis and the News, Kenny Rogers, Three Dog

Night, Alabama, Kenny Loggins, and many more singers:

All For Free, with the cost of Fair admission.

That time has been ‘long gone,’ sad to say!

There are many other directions other than music, to

go and see at the Ohio State Fair. There are all the

wonderful 4-H exhibits of crafts, cooking, domestic

animals, and even Rodeos! I enjoy the Amish hand-

crafted wagons, which are proudly displayed, along

with demonstrations of their skills in maneuvering.

I was lucky enough, to stumble across this with

an ex-boyfriend who loved horses. We sat and watched

several of these ‘programs’ in the Coliseum. It was

amazing to watch the beautiful horses showing both

obedience and majesty, with their heads held high

and their clopping hooves kicking up the sawdust.

I like to head towards the Natural Resources area as

the day gets warmer. There is a large prairie, filled

with original Ohio plant life. The Ohio animals display

includes wolves, coyotes, owls, songbirds, and other

interesting living native species to Ohio. There are

many trees, where you can feel refreshed, sitting and

listening to country style music, once you have toured

the area to see the ‘sights.’

Every year my children were young, they liked to go

see a huge Smokey the Bear, where there was a person

out front, who would ask questions about the children,

or they could ask Smokey ones, and the ‘helper’ would

help fill in the blanks to allow Smokey to talk to

the child. My children ‘fell’ for this for a few years,

then politely did not let my youngest daughter in on

the secret. It was like an Ohio trip to Disneyland,

where children are so in awe of the costumed actors

from their favorite fairy tales.

You may wish, in this Natural Resources area to view

loggers trying to stay on their logs, while there are

fishermen, (children can fish for free) on a man-made

lake in the center of this cooler, shady area.

There is even a place to ‘clean’ the fish and fry

them, if you should wish to!

One special area of the fair, that my brother Randy

used to enter his artwork,is the Fine Arts Building.

I always go to see our native Ohioans who are both

creative and artistic. It is air-conditioned and they

have a guided tour with ear phones, along with a kids’

packet that has the kids looking for certain details

and checking them off, very interactive!

Lastly, if you come to Ohio during midsummer, make

sure you come to see the Butter Cow, along with the

very unique and artistic butter sculptures that are

crafted annually.

I think it is interesting that the butter sculptures

have included tributes to John Glenn with his space

craft, the Wright Brother’s and their airplane, along

with the Ohio Children’s Choir.

I am sure you can check out some examples of such fine

and varied artistic renderings out of butter on their

website. As an aside, have you ever seen the hilariously

funny, yet poignant movie the Midwest custom of having

butter sculpture competitions? This one is focused on

the Iowa State Fair.

The movie simply named, “Butter,’ has such recognizable

actors as Jennifer Garner.

Now, I cannot write about the upcoming Summer event of

the Ohio State Fair without reminding you that our

cooking demonstrations and fair food cannot be beat!

There are all cultures represented in their trailers

where FDA inspects and the BBB endorses all the foods

prepared there. I would write an ‘ode’ to such delights

as the deep fried Snickers candy bars, Oreos and even

enjoy the deep fried pickles, too. There cannot be a

food that is not included on this fair’s menu! If you

want simple ‘home cooking’ you can go to the Bob Evans’


If you would like to eat some Ohio/Lake Erie fish, you

can catch it yourself, as mentioned, or you can seek out

a Walleye Fish Sandwich. You can go to Schmidt’s that has

been around for over 100 years to get a Cream Puff or a

Brat sandwich combo with sauerkraut and/or German Potato

Salad. You may purchase beers and other alcoholic beverages

inside the gates, where your photo ID will be necessary

and our state law is must be 21 years or older to purchase.

I personally like the homemade ice cream and also, the

funnel cakes. I choose to eat a Greek gyro, which includes

sour cream or a special Greek garlic sauce, chopped lettuce,

tomatoes and onions, too. Mmmm! Good!

I have hopefully enticed you to try out your local fairs,

just for the memories you and your friends or children will

have afterwards! If you go to Kroger’s or another grocery

store, they usually have discount tickets and if you are a

Veteran, there is a free day, as long as you bring some form

of identification!

Enjoy and looking forward to seeing you in my Home State: Ohio.

Let me know if you are coming!

The Value of an Education


Do you remember when you would rush out of school in June, fairly

bouncing with joy and enthusiam, feeling “free” to spend your summer

in bliss and have loads of fun? Then, by August (or September), you

would be getting “bored” and miss your friends? You would get excited

to choose some school supplies, get a few new clothes (or yard sale

purchases,) and return once more to school!

Melvin and I talked about home schooling due to a family he knows who

has chosen this form of education on Thursday at first break. We have

some doubts about the authenticity of his friends’ (who are parents)

concerns about public schools. I have had some sincere, recent worries

about my coworker, Keith’s daughter, Ashley and her poor Fall report

card from her internet studies. (All D’s and a couple of F’s, too.)

Both Melvin and I  tend to wonder about how anyone would want to stay

at home to learn, while there are so many exciting learning opportunities

within the schools, with friends there, too. Even though I was a teacher

and am trained to know about the state content standards, have supervised

home-schooled children’s Fourth Grade, Eighth Grade and GED testings

and proficiencies:

I would not have wanted the total responsibility of writing and conducting

their home sch0oling program for my own children or my present

grandchildren now.

I tried to make my children’s early years encompass as many variations of

learning experiences on a “shoestring budget” and definitely stayed home,

helping them and my babysitting crew of five extra kids in those nine years.

But I would not recommend a full home schooling project based solely on one

person carrying out the role of “teacher.” ‘It takes a village’ to help raise the

students passing through the halls at school. One person, without a network

or team approach, *I believe* will not be able to handle the complete

responsibility and diversity that a public or private school offers in their


I have made a new friend who is in her late thirties/early forties, Theresa,

who recently started working at Advance Auto D.C. #23. She has become

close fairly quickly due to a dilemma or problem with her teenaged son.

He has developed an “attitude” towards school and a “bad habit” of walking

through the high school and out of it on a fairly regular basis.

Since Theresa started, she ends up telling me often, lamenting actually,

about Thomas. We find it to be a daily topic as we enter or leave work.

Also, sometimes when she comes in from the brisk weather, having

had a cigarette with other coworkers, she will stop at my friendly table

of coworkers.

Somehow, one of those people outside, let her in on the fact that I once

was a middle school teacher. She also knows from me, now, that my

mother was a high school teacher.

Theresa often asks, plaintively,

“Would you please talk to my son about the value of an education?”

I hesitate, often deflecting the question, putting it to the group for

a consensus, or asking if anyone has a new suggestion to motivate

Theresa’s son?

My feelings are that if you would like to have your child love school

and education, start very young. Be enthusiastic about new things

in nature, in your neighborhood, in your community and spread

the learning to all kinds of museums, parks, historical sights and

the summer library programs. I liked our Delaware County District

Library’s toddler reading program. I liked all the contests and other

programs that were available to take my children and babysitting

clients to during the summer so they would not fall behind. Now,

the programs are so much more encompassing in their subject


At public libraries,  there are lots of entertaining, along with learning,

programs. On this past Thurs. November 14, they had great attendance

at their ages 6-8 year old Legos program for boys. I saw a few Dads in

there, helping out. They had a lively male folk singer earlier in the

month for all ages, singing and getting the parents to participate with

the program, too. I had totally forgotten about the song, “Jimmy

Cracked Corn (and I don’t care!)”

I feel if you missed the early years of getting your child hooked on

learning, due to a busy work schedule, then try to add any extra

activities, with adult participation, as soon as possible! Becoming

acquainted with the school, finding out how to help out at home,

baking on weekends, making cut-outs for bulletin boards, reading

to your child’s classn (use a personal day) or just being there by the

side of the computers in the computer lab will show you are concerned

and interested. By showing a respect for the teachers and schools, you

will be reinforcing your children’s learning.

Most of all, acting interested in every piece of paper that comes home

will be a good start. That backpack is a great source of information!

Lastly, I place a value on education by showing my family different

ways to contribute to society. There is no “right” way to go down the

path of learning. There are all kinds of avenues, they don’t have to be

straight paths from high school to college. Trade schools, joint vocational

schools, classes online, coursework that your boss or others suggest,

business school and computer work through JVS’ can serve their

purpose to further your career or your child’s future, too.

As far as home schooling, this takes a lot of joint effort with others

who have chosen this educational avenue.

Those who read my first post on this subject will understand, I was very

concerned about young 10 year old Ashley, being bascially unsupervised

during the day in her online training, the school being ‘relieved’ I felt by

not having to deal with the ones who had been bullying her. I was not only

concerned about her education, but her social life. Her activities needed to

be ‘stepped up’ a notch. This did not happen, I am sorry to say, she fell

behind in her 4 H project and workbook. Keith responded by not allowing

her to go to the fair.

Once I saw that poor report card, I would have marched her right back

into the school at that point, with an already planned “intervention” with

not only the grade level teacher, social worker but including the principal!

I refrained from too much expression of my spiraling depression over the

whole subject. I am sorry but this single father got pages of my (and your)

suggestions written out and I especially told him he would have to “network”

with other home-schooling parents! (On weekends and this means a lot of

extra effort but well worth the repayment in the end.)

There are a lot of valuable resources out there in this area and I gave

my best effort. I have my own six grandchildren and diverse activities

to stay involved in. My very worn out oldest daughter weekly takes my

now 9 year old grandson to Boy Scouts, is the Pack’s co-leader and

the chairwoman of the Popcorn Sales, which provides their Camp

Lazarus funding for day camp next summer. It is not easy, been there,

done that three times, as a single parent with one father who was down

in Cincinnati, then over in Dayton. All three kids belonged to sports,

along with the five kids I babysat for almost nine years. No pity party

for me, no sympathy anymore, sorry, for Keith and his one and only


I don’t place a value on the education, my mother would agree, and would

have a different way to put this: I will ask her sometime soon!

What you put into effort with your children or teens, will repay you greatly.

I place a value on the PERSON! I believe in my children and their judgment.

I support their choices. You need to do this, follow through and give your

best to them.

What my Mom added, in her recent phone call, that being a high school

teacher was challenging in the seventies, especially. She taught 30 years

so has a lot of history in those years to share. I liked her words,

“The value of an education is knowledge (no one can take that away unless

you let them!) The other key rewards are success, learning, pride and self-

confidence. You may find it in a trade,  going to college, serving your country,

being a great parent, family member or a caretaker… All these are priceless

results of an education.”

I remember my Dad saying that,

“School is your job. You have a ‘boss,’ your teacher. That is your work as a

child. What you put into it, you will get vastly returned. Don’t use any

excuse to get out of something that you are interested in. Invest extra

time to learn all you can about what you love most. I did not get any free

passes out of my life, you will not be given any from your mother or me.”

I would not want or wish for anyone to “rest on their Laurels.” I would

expect personal growth and integrity. I would expect love and compassion.

I would definitely expect good or outstanding parenting! Because this is

another way to show who you love the most! Their future depends on how

you handle their childhood and teen years…

I will pass these words of wisdom on to Theresa and hope for the best.

Active Vs. Passive Learning


While I have some ‘brainiacs’ in my family, my brother
and sister in law both have PhD’s and my Mom has her
Master’s, they are basically pro-public schools. They
had a lively dinner conversation over smoky brats, hot
dogs and hamburgers. We were talking about my coworker,
Keith, and his daughter, Ashley.
Rich taught in Cleveland Public Schools with a Learning
Disabilities classroom for 20 years, Susan is an English
Professor at Baldwyn Wallace, and my Mom taught in Westlake
City Schools (plus a few years in Vermilion and Sandusky
high schools). I have experience with fourth, fifth, sixth
and preschool integrated classrooms (special needs blended
with typically developing peers.) Randy is a graduate of OSU
with a fine arts degree, Susan’s daughter is a judicial
clerk with a Law degree, along with her husband who has
a degree in computers. Everyone may not have taken direct
part in this lively discussion but many times my grandniece
and grandnephew, Emma and Robby may have created some fun
and “cute” distractions!
When I asked Keith how Ashley’s first week of school
was going, he let me know that he was allowing her to
be home-schooled.
Some background information, I wrote a blog about this
little duo and Ashley’s unfortunate bullying experiences
on the bus. Ashley is overweight and I feel, without
even meeting her, that she may have some learning
disabilities. She is strong in her computer and math
skills but not in her reading and spelling skills. When
two areas are strong and opposing ones are weak, this
disparity shows strengths and weaknesses. But, usually
it also means LD labeling and some tutoring and special
needs’ arrangements through an IEP. (Individualized
Educational Plan)
I thought it was unfair she got thrown off her bus due
to the way she reacted to teasing by other bus mates.
I thought it was brave and very challenging that Keith
was able to get more of the custodial parenting
responsibilities through a year’s worth of “battle”
with his ex-wife whose present husband and her stepson,
were actually “bullying” within their own family structure.
This also included throwing a little “mud” and getting
some counselors behind Keith.
So, I was dismayed that Keith was giving up having Ashley
learn through a new teacher and situation. Instead, she
logs on and is monitored while he is at work and she
spends so many hours doing assignments. Once in awhile,
she will ask her mother when on a visitation or her Dad
for help. Each time they are trying to encourage her to
do the thinking.
When this subject was brought up, the family all pitched
ideas to present to Keith to make Ashley’s curriculum
more well rounded. One way they thought would help her
to learn more was to have “projects” where she could
do more active learning. She could research and then
do some homemade experiments for science, some hand
made posters and models for her book reports or history
lessons. She could also be taken to museums over the
weekend. The Columbus Art Museum has free admission
on Sundays.
There might be a local Homeschooling group that would
join forces and include Ashley. Sometimes smaller groups
can include someone better than large classroom settings
and this could have been accomplished, also, within the
school system: I would pair her with a more ‘popular’
or outgoing student on these projects. I also had used
a “loner” student while I taught sixth grade Language
Arts to stay in and make bulletin boards while given
a subject matter and his own freedom to choose how to
interpret the subject. (Christopher would be around
47 years old now…)
Mom said that church youth group, Girl Scouts and other social
groups, like 4H would be great ways to make her life more
well rounded in the social aspects. I will mention this along
with the other suggestions, that you my fine readers may supply!
Keith is a nice man who likes to play learning games
so I think he may be open to suggestions. I am tempted
to give him a written compilation of these, but would
also like to “use” my teaching associates out there,
parents who have home-schooled and parents who have
had to come up with their own workable strategies to
bring added dimension and success to their children
or students.
This is my plea, so please respond and help me out.
I am interested in your views on home schooling and
computer learning versus classroom learning where
there is a social structure. I also think that Ashley
needs to have exercise, so am not sure how to deal
with this.

When I wrote about Keith and Ashley she was 10 years old
and in fourth grade in a county school. She is now 11
years old and would have been in fifth grade. This may
help with any and all advice, suggestions or comments you
may make!
Thank you, as always, Robin

Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth!


I was very excited to see my friend, Amy, at work today and hear

her news. This Amy is the one who owns three horses, I wrote about

on April Fool’s Day. About how Amy and her horses, Spirit, Lokie and

Sapphire were filmed by a French international company on the

Morrow County farm she boards her horses on.

This news, I could tell from her face glowing and her increased pace

to reach me across the zone where I was working, was going to be


“Robin, guess what? My favorite dream is going to become fulfilled!”

Since she had mentioned guessing, I replied,

“Did you finally hear when the short film about American horse

farms in Ohio will be released?” (We had big hopes that this would

bring her some fame or fortune…”)

“No! Still have not heard back from that French director that filmed

the short film. We still will have to watch the Academy Awards next

January, 2014 to see if it ‘made the cut’.”

Amy continued in a raised voice that sounded like I do, while hyped

up from Mountain Dew or a shot of espresso,

“My son in law, inherited from a relative, over $2 million dollars!  And,

one of the first things he wants to do is buy the farm that we board

our horses on!”

I knew that Amy and her husband, Paul, had been saving to buy the

property since it had been up for sale. I was very pleased since they not

only rented their home, miles away from the horses, but the property

seemed very reasonably priced, $300,000 with acreage and a house to

live in on the property. They could board horses along with saving that

monthly cost of renting their home and paying boarding.

This was a dream come true for Amy and her family! I was ‘tickled pink’

for her!

There was a swift, but brief, cloud that passed across her eyes.

I asked her, “What is the matter, is there something wrong or a ‘catch’

in this piece of news?”

Amy relayed a dilemma. She knew not only was their family saving

but the manager, who helped clean the stalls, took the horses out and

fed the horses was also saving to buy the property.

She asked, “Is it okay to buy something while knowing someone else’s

dream may be crushed by doing so?”

I was quiet, thinking on this. She followed me as I picked for the five

hamper area, heavy liquids and cases of oil dropped into hampers,

filling out.

Finally I turned and answered,

“Amy, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!”

She laughed, “What does that mean?”

I had to look it up, so I will answer this. You may know the answer if

you are a farmer’s family member or an actual farmer or horse lover.

It means that when you open a horse’s mouth up, if you inspect the

teeth, and find them healthy, the horse is “worth” purchasing. It is

therefore an excellent horse.

Therefore, if a special and fantastic gift is offered you, you should

accept it and appreciate its “value.”

Neither of us, earlier today, knew the answer to the meaning of this

colloquial expression but I explained my thoughts on this. I am

discarding the concept of “karma” or “kismet” for this answer. I don’t

want to think about “What goes around, comes around.”

“Amy, your son-in-law wants to share his money that he inherited.

This will help improve your husband’s and your life. It will enhance

and enrich your grandchildren’s lives. He wants to share his wealth

also, making his wife, your daughter happy, too.

How can you turn that down? How can you not accept the gift of the

farm, house and place for your horses to live?”

She smiled and seemed relieved, ” I was afraid it would be wrong to take

the possibility of the farm’s purchase from the manager, we cannot offer

her a salary so not only will we be buying the property, we will be taking

her job away.”

I replied, “I guess you could offer free boarding for her horses and offer

a good reference letter, but my belief is that you need to support your

family and their welfare is your primary obligation.”

Amy’s story of the horses and their different personalities can be found

by looking at the April posts or clicking on the  word “horses” to the right

of this post!

This fantastic ending is that she called her husband at lunch today and

he made arrangements to meet with the property seller. I hope that

those three horses will feel like their lives are vastly improved due to

a closer daily visit from Amy, her daughter, and grandchildren!

The horse shoe is definitely pointing up for Amy’s family and their luck

will hopefully flow through her contacts, including the manager.



Crafting a Life


We create new beginnings to our lives when old chapters

end and new chapters begin. We may be ending our hard

working years, entering retirement. We may be ending a

friendship or a family member’s relationship, sadly, due

to some illness or cancer. We have so many reasons to

continue on, to strive to find our windows of opportunity.

In our gifts we have received from birth on, whether they

are natural, given through our abilities or crafted, chosen

through our interests, we have unlimited possibilities to


In the natural gifts we may have beautiful voices that sing

like… (place a favorite singer’s name in this slot.)

Other natural talents include ability to throw a ball well,

so you may become a “natural” pitcher. You may be excellent

in art and may become a famous artist. There are some who

are like savants and understand mathematical equations and

challenging theories. These individuals may never have been

trained or taught but can “see” the proof of a theorem.

I could go on and on, I hope you “catch my drift” about natural


From birth on, some children are exposed to classical music

and encouraged to perform at early ages. These could be

classified as children who were “crafted.” They were tutored or

molded into awesome violinists, for example.

We can also choose to “craft” a new ability that is outside what

we would normally be involved with. What is so unique about

this is that we don’t have to limit ourselves by our abilities in

these areas! Someone who practices walking, balancing and

doing handstands on a balance beam over and over again, can

become an Olympics gymnast.

I mean I can never be an opera singer nor have my name given

on the Top 100 songs that Casey Kasem lists on his Sunday Radio

Countdown! But I can, with practice, become a better swimmer. I

could be a better skater.

I have enjoyed, pursued, practiced and “crafted” a talent in pen and

ink drawings. I have been asked by historical societies in Lancaster

and Delaware Ohio to draw homes that were on their annual Home


I have also become much better at painting with watercolors and

acrylics. I am not sure I would have pursued this in college, but did

enjoy 2 courses on how to teach art to elementary school- aged

children.  I left a lot of paintings on the walls of my last home my

ex and I owned, including 5 foot tall sunflowers in the laundry room

and a beach scene in one of the bathrooms. I particularly liked my

Italian tiles that I did in our creamy tan, stucco style kitchen with

bright blue squares that were laid out across the top of the walls

leading to the arches that made me think I was in an Italy.

I am also adequate in sewing due to two Home Economics’ classes

(Basic and Advanced.) My daughters were encouraged by my Mom

to sew their  4H projects and bake their 4H projects. Along with

one of the two girls who did get a sewing badge in Girl Scouts.

My son was encouraged in Cub Scouts to refine a block of wood

into a Pinewood Derby car. He also crafted an end table and another

project out of wood.

I have to admit there are no knitters or crocheters in my immediate

family. I do love the cross stitch, needlepoint and crewel homemade

gifts received from my dear cousin, Heather. She works on some of

these while at her husband’s dialysis appointments.

I spent a lot of time on indoor crafts but there are so many you may

wish to pursue outdoors. I am amazed at the natural abilities and

learned abilities at parks! There are people who cross ski, who

downhill ski, and who do amazing stunts at skate parks! Until

recently, I had known how to throw a Frisbee in the usual way

and try to get across a wide expanse of space to the receiving

person. Now, there are whole backpacks or special carrying cases

that have a wide variety of Frisbees for Frisbee Golf Parks.

You can find these  “golfers” in state and some local parks.

Another way to term this spending time, doing what you enjoy,

would be entitled “Past times.”  Fishing, gardening, and more.

The reason I chose the word “craft” is because of the way it sounds

more like a gift. So, a wonderful way to use the tools that you have

to work with wood, like my son may do someday, would be to get

involved with Habitat for Humanity.

Another meaningful use of the skill of sewing is to make blankets

sewn for newborns at a local hospital or donate at your next church

bazaar. There are tons of fundraisers that will direct your crafty

talents to good use.

The fun, outdoorsy activities that may be enriching for you may also

be a way to connect with your family. I have known whole families

who enjoyed going skiing, canoeing or camping. Those Girl Scout

and Boy Scout skills may be put to use!

Lastly, on my heart recently, giving yourself as a gift is more important

than you will ever know! Until you try it, you may be skeptical but being

“just” yourself by listening, sharing and spending time with a younger

person, as through Big Brother/Big Sisters or a local Mentoring program,

could make a HUGE difference in someone’s life!

Please share your hidden talents and let us know how you like to share