Category Archives: creek walking

Childhood book verses (Summer)

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I have mentioned this little book, from my years of elementary school titled,

“Kate Greenaway’s Birthday Book.” I like to read the names (Susan, Sandy,

and Allison…) of ones who I knew back then and when their birthdays were.

I enjoyed reading and choosing little verses to share with you.

The pen and ink drawings, with watercolor details, were created by Kate

Greenaway. The verses in this timeless book of collected short poems, one for

each day of the year, were written by “Mrs. Sale Barker.” This book was published

first in London, England, followed by New York City, NY,  by Frederick Warne

Company, LTD.

Summer is a time to enjoy nature’s restful places.

All kinds of activity choices I remember from my childhood like. . .

climbing trees, sitting by a brook or creek, seeing fields of wild flowers

with bees and butterflies flitting above them. The luxurious feelings

of  being filled with a combination of warm sunshine followed by cool

shade.

It was a time of innocence, play and learning from everything around

us.

Hope you enjoy this collection of six Summer poems. After reading

through about 90 days’ of Summer verses, I feel these are the ones

you will enjoy the most! They fill me with memories and nostalgia.

 

~First One~

“I’m rather idle, as you see

I sit upon the ground;

And all the world seems made for me

As it turns round and round.”

 

~Second One~

“I lie beside the running stream,

And watch the clouds, and rest and dream:

A jug with water by me stands,

Which I have filled with my own hands.”

 

~Third One~

“Blossoms, blossoms on the trees

Swinging in the Summer breeze,

Lending sweetness to the air,

To be shed on children fair.”

 

~Fourth One~

“A pretty tree, a shady tree,

Just casts its shadow around:

And we can go and sit beneath,

If we don’t mind the ground.”

 

~Fifth One~

“Little flowers of the field,

To me you tell a tale,

Of blooms upon the hill side,

Of blossoms in the vale.”

 

In this fifth one, I remember how we would say we had traveled

up hill and down, ‘hills and dales.’ But, I had to pause a moment

to remember that “vale” means, ‘valley.’

 

~Sixth One~

“How I love the field flowers,

Blooming bright and gay!

How I love the green, green fields,

To wander there all day!”

 

I remember making rings of daisies for bracelets, necklaces and

“crowns” in elementary school. Later, in high school, when I was

not working as a babysitter or at Lord Nelson’s Restaurant in

Westlake, Ohio, I remember plucking daisy petals off, one by one,

saying the silly words, “He loves me, he loves me not. . .” while

throwing them into a creek. The field flowers I loved the most

were those blue cornflowers and Queen Anne’s Lace.

 

Did any of these quaint verses bring back any memories for you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Man of Steel, a teacher

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For Father’s Day, I always emphasize that there are many men

out there who act like fathers, do the job of fathers and need to be

remembered, thanked and hugged for their beyond the ‘call of duty’

efforts. What male role model do you think of “outside the box” who

played a valuable role and impacted your life during your formative

years?

I have a man in mind, who may or may not be alive, but he was

our Science Club counselor, leader and mentor. His name was

Mr. Bobniz! We had a motley crew with members that were very

strong, active participants in many activities and then there were

a few who probably joined because there was a genuine love and

acceptance theme going on. No one was excluded!

Mr. Bobniz overlooked rudeness, swearing and general rowdiness.

We all got together with him like a team, planned many wonderful

outings. We went to parks, creeks and streams. We rode our bikes

from the West side suburb of Bay Village, Ohio to Sandusky to put our

bikes on a ferry to Kelley’s Island. Where we saw the glacial grooves, no

drinking at the local winery, but lots of good, clean fun as getting away

from town and letting loose does for young teenagers!

We planned and connived Mr. Bobniz into getting some extra cash

funding to take us on a big trip to Mammoth Cave. Wow! We were so

excited! We were sure glad to go to the Health Museum, the Science

Museum and the Cleveland Zoo, but this trip would top all of them!

Yes, we were kind of “nerds” or “nerdy” and we had some kids in the

group who could join the actors and actresses in the television show,

“The Big Bang Theory” but we were leaving the state of Ohio! You can

imagine the kind of snacks, meals and money that we were needing

to embark on this trip. We were leaving early on a Saturday while

returning in our long caravan of cars with walkie talkies, on Sunday

afternoon. Only a couple of parents were coming as chaperones.

So fun you could explode with scientific facts about stalactites, stalagmites

and bat droppings!

I will never forget the silly antics of what  one motel room full of wild boys

who decided to collect our pop cans throughout the whole trip did.

After all, we were recyclers! We collected once a month newspapers and

magazines for the Science Club paper drives. Anyway, since there were

2 exits; one was a sliding glass door exit out of each room and the other,

a hallway door, this group of guys piled pop cans high into a tower by the

hallway door. They got a string, an apple and rigged it so that it would fall

when the door opened by the poor maid. We laughed about the stunt on the

the way home. Along with their catching what they thought was a live poisonous

spider, whether the brown recluse or the black widow, I cannot know, and

putting it under one of the glasses in the bathroom. (Side note, remember when

motels had real glasses and not paper, plastic or styrofoam cups?)

Mr. Bobniz was a hero. He was a teacher, friend and most of all, he

played Father to us during some of the wildest sober times teens could

have. As far as we know, he never married. And we are not sure about

his sexual preference, he never mentioned partners, dates or either

women friends or male friends to us. He listened to our little quarrels,

our numerous complaints about school politics and the “establishment.”

If you grew up in the seventies or even, the eighties you can relate to all

of that. I know Viet Nam existed on our t.v. sets every night while we ate

dinner. But these carefree and innocent Science Club moments are worth

mentioning and remembering.

Thank you, Mr. Bobniz!

I am not sure if you ever were chosen but better late than

never:

You deserve Teacher of the Year award, 1974!

Creek Walking

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Ever since my first grandson was born, we have celebrated late spring

with park walks until his third summer. Then we had creek walks the

past five years!

We were a little less enthusiastic about bringing his little brother along!

Last summer, I went to his father’s house and picked up only Skyler,

avoiding even seeing those longing eyes or begging lips of his younger

brother.

That was our last late spring/early summer creek walk alone. We had crossed

the “creek” (a narrow strip of the Olentangy River that runs through Delaware)

by Mingo Park, looking for our usual creatures and things. Sky and I balanced

ourselves on a log placed across part of the creek. We found some clam shells

and little snail shells along with seeing some mallard ducks and a heron. We

looked for the bugs under the rocks, little worms and crawdads, too.

This year we determined Micah, otherwise known as “Wild Thing,” could

join us on our creek walk. Both boys were fed, put in old, ‘beat up’ clothes,

while wearing their swim shoes. We went to Blue Limestone Park, got out

with two towels thrown over my shoulder. Snacks, flip flops and wipes left

in the car for after the walk. We looked for crawdads (do you call them

“crayfish?”), frogs, minnows, and other unusual things. We found what we

believe were raccoon footprints in the bank’s mud. We also found three red

cardinal feathers, which I told my grandsons meant we were going to have

a lucky day!

We found two walking sticks and proceeded along the side where there is a

wider cement walkway under the railroad trestle. It is such a big arch that

usually I am very pleased with photos taken of children under it, while there

is a bright, fresh green sight at the end of the “tunnel.”

Micah loved walking in the water! He is fearless, it doesn;t matter how deep

it is he wants to wade in almost to his chin! I had mentioned I had one more

week where I could not get my ear wet so no splashing me above the waist.

Micah found the best fun was “stirring the pot” his expression, which meant

he was taking the nice, clear water and stirring his big stick until the water

was muddy. Skyler found about 6 living crawdads and about a dozen that

were the dead shells floating in a bunch. We tried to figure out why this

happened. Were they all eaten by an animal? Were the carcasses left over

from last Fall or Winter’s chilly weather?

Skyler made us all proud by getting a 99% in the National Testing for Second

Graders. (Not really the name of the test, but my oldest daughter could not

remember the name of it!) He asks a lot of questions and I just showed him

the plaque with the flag that traveled around the world on the Columbia. He

is convinced he can be like his Great Grandpa Oldrieve. I am hoping he will

stay interested in science and maybe, choose to be a researcher, doctor or

as he wishes, Astronaut!

The best part for all three of us, was running into two other groups, fellow

creek walking travelers. A threesome that included a 41 year old father with

his son and daughter. His daughter talked to Skyler and they stopped to tell

what they had seen. His children were on a bike hike the father said, when

the daughter’s bike got a flat, so they switched plans.

They “shucked” their shoes on the bank of the creek. Their father took several

pictures of his children. I chatted with him, saying I had been coming here

since my children were young, we used to bring buckets to catch tadpoles or

frogs. The father said that when he was young, his mother would give him

a net or he would put holes in his bucket to catch crayfish. Both of his kids

were surprised I was the boys’ grandmother. The Dad told us his age and I

said I was over 16 years older. Could be his very young mother. We laughed.

He said his high school friends used to get beer and go party by Blue

Limestone lake.

The second group had some fishing poles, a teenager, two parents and a

toddler. They were allowing the teenager in the water but struggling with

keeping the toddler out of the water. They were holding him letting him

reach the branches of the trees and giving him rocks to throw into the creek.

We had a conversation about how I was able to bring Skyler to the creeks

around the county because he was cautious and would not try to jump or

move forward away from me. He listened so well that I brought him short

of his third birthday, (he would have turned 3 that November) while Micah

had to wait until he was over four years old. Personalities can make a big

difference in how children show readiness for experiences.

When we had sufficiently looked at fields of tall grass, the two quarries, and

walked a long length of the creek, we chose to get out of the water and go to

the car. We took off our wet shoes and wiped our hands on wipes, put on our

flip flops and more sunscreen. We went to the playground over a hill and across

the parking lot. We sat at a picnic table and ate hull-less butter popcorn puffs.

We drank water and went to play until the boys’ clothes were dry and Mommy

had called to say she was home, showered and had started dinner.

I was blessed with an older daughter who always sends with me home a warm

plate of food. She put 2 nicely baked oatmeal, coconut and pecan cookies with

the package!

I felt like I had had a day with the Wild Things! At the end of the children’s

book, remember when Max comes back from “Where the Wild Things Are?”

The last line says something like, “And his supper was still warm.”

That was fortunately me! After I put the plate in the microwave, I cleaned up

and put my pajamas on.

I sat down to a warm, home-cooked and yummy Sunday dinner.