Among my blessings this year, is a woman I think, may be one of the best principals in Western Mass. She is assisted by a woman who has to be the best school administrative assistant in all of Massachusetts. Where we live is the smallest school district in the state (where I teach, across the river is the second smallest district). Because of the size of the school, this sweet little school is run by just the principal and her admin. And just because the school size is smaller, this doesn’t mean either of their jobs are easier. The same reports need to be filed for an increasingly demanding DESE every year, just as the same needs of children in a large district need to be met. So yah, their job is tough – but on top of that – the two of these women must be some of the best communicators ever – I am never left to wonder what is happening at my son’s school. Ever.
With all of that, yesterday, while on December break, I got an email from the principal that included the following information – I honestly had no idea that this day was coming up – and am very pleased to know that my tiny little town will be doing it’s part to celebrate.
Community Celebration of the
150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation
1:00pm on New Year’s Day
at the First Congregational Church of Hatfield
Hatfield will join other towns and churches in Western Mass to commemorate President Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, at 2:00 p.m.
Signed 150 years ago during the Civil War, the Proclamation led to the permanent end of slavery in the United States.
Come join us at 1 pm on New Year’s Day for an inspiring community celebration that will include the singing of great American Spirituals, an excerpt from the Emancipation Proclamation, part of a narrative about Hatfield slave Amos Newport (written by Robert Romer, author of Slavery in the Connecticut Valley of Massachusetts), and remarks by Rev. Dr. Peter Kakos of the First Congregational Church, Father Robert Coonan of Our Lady of Grace Church and others.
At 2:00 pm, the church-town bell will be rung 150 times in joyful commemoration of this important step toward freedom for all. Don’t miss this historic event. Refreshments will follow.
This is going to be a long list and one I am going to continue to update throughout the day. Direct references will be made to Project Vote Smart, a group that documents recorded votes. I am going to be honest, I actually could end with just one issue– I could put this one vote down, and be done — Read the rest of this entry
A homework assignment that asked me to do some thinking about myself as a writer? Yah, I’m going to post that on my blog.
A bit about the assignment – from the syllabus of English 712-
The purpose of this first project will be for you to reflect on your literacy practices: on yourself as a writer and reader and the literacy practices of formative groups and institutions (e.g., family, school, church). The process of composing this three-page collection should develop your self-awareness. . .This project will resemble a collage. Like an essay, it will have some overall unity of intention: the overall picture you want to convey about yourself as a literate individual shaped by certain social/cultural contexts. . . .Unlike an essay, the collection will include bits from various genres ordered as you wish to create an overall effect with some variation and texture. . .
Tara, the writer.
An Ethnography in the Third Person
At age 9-
Crying. Report due on elevators, She doesn’t know why she chose elevators, or was it Otis. Her mother picks up the pen, helps her finish.
At age 10-
Teacher enjoys Tara’s creative writing piece set on the bird sanctuary at her great uncle’s farm, and tells her so. Tara beams.
At age 10-
Other children are told they are smarter. They get to write more and do more exploration on their own in a program called SOAR. This will bother Tara for years. Read the rest of this entry
Outside of the work I do for MotherWoman, the Western Mass Food bank is my favorite, local non-profit. I think that regardless of one’s position in life, no one should ever go hungry. Unfortunately, according to the Western Mass Food Bank, 20 percent of households with children in Massachusetts (1 in 5) said they were unable to afford enough food. The food hardship rate for households without children was 14.4 percent. It was with that in mind that I volunteered to walk for an hour Thursday morning with Monte Belmonte of WRSI to raise money and awareness for the Food Bank. Yes, yes, I will be shopping a souped up shopping cart on Rt. 9 – Yes, yes you should honk your horn and wave wildly as you pass me by on the way to school.
My goal is to raise $200 by Thursday afternoon. If you can help in any way, that would be greatly appreciated. I will be collecting donations tonight and tomorrow. If you would like to send the funds electronically, drop me a line.
Thank you in advance for any help you can provide.
This was posted to FB earlier tonight.
Has CL&P fixed my f’in power yet.
Here in the Valley, we’ve had a tough week. But in Connecticut, they’ve had a miserable week. Just awful. 63% of my home town is still without power. Seven days later — that’s insane. I know this is the worst loss of power Connecticut has seen since Hurricane Gloria in 1985, but good lord, seven days, and more than half of your customers still don’t have service. Come. ON! And while there are really good folks out there working their asses off for their neighbors, the people who have the power to do the most seem to be doing the least.
Thoughts? Am I being too tough on the electric companies. I know here in Mass. folks have their own complaints about WEMCO, but there just doesn’t seem to be the same outcry here as there is in our neighbor to the south.
Not for nothing, but I really think CL&P, with all apologies to our furry friends, screwed the pooch on this one.
Update: I wanted to include a few more links about what I’m talking about in terms of CL&P not doing what they should be doing –
CL&P Union Leaders: Staffing Too Low, Executive Pay Too High
Meteorologists Dispute Forecast Claims
Sometimes I have to remind myself of things I do, and why I do them. I do a lot. More than I should. I teach six classes, manage ten independent study students, advise four extra curricular activities, and chair the English department. I am raising two boys the best that I can, and co-managing a household with my co-navigator. I make play dates and mama dates, and sometimes I sit in front of the tv, and sometimes I write. Sometimes I host parties, and sometimes I think of a project too big to manage. And sometimes, well, not sometimes, actually, more like currently, I sit on the Board of Directors for MotherWoman. Read the rest of this entry
I live in Massachusetts in the Connecticut River Valley. Word is our dirt, it’s good. So good, we produce the best asparagus in the world – asparagus so bountiful, one of the teachers at the school I teach at, brings it in bagged up and ready for sale to our staff. You know you live in a small town when you can pick up your dinner veggies on your coffee break at lunch.
The landscape around here will take your breath away. That is, if you’re given to that sort of thing. You know, the rolling hills on the edge of the valley, and the tree-lined river, and the fields, ready to be plowed in March. Even the land getting ready for winter, the trees shedding their leaves, it is all devastatingly beautiful.
This week to celebrate this place and this land I’m participating in Loving Local’s blog-a-thon to mark Farmer’s Market Week. Every day this week I’m going to talk about a different farmer’s market in the area. I’m going to visit two I’ve never been to before, and talk about three of my old favorites. On top of that, I’m going to tell you where to get the best corn in Western Mass as I explore the farm stands near my house. It will be a busy week of food exploration, but I’m looking forward to sharing a little bit of this Valley I call home.
If you have a moment and some spare change this week, please think about donating to Loving Local
If you have several moments please stop by Our Grandmother’s Kitchens to see all the posts from folks participating in the blog-a-thon