Category Archives: Entertainment

2015 Day 31: The Wilderness Camp

As you already know, I was a teacher for many years.  And I was also the crazy teacher who loved to take middle schoolers on field trips-overnight.  One of the most interesting and physical field trips that I ever did was the time we went to a wilderness camp. Yes, you heard me correctly-a wilderness camp!  We could have a total of 15 people. The reasoning for 15 was that was the size of a van.  And we didn’t need to take too many students because not everyone is ready for that kind of experience. By experience, I mean that we were going to do a ropes course, go hiking on the Appalachian Trail and we were sleeping in tents on the trail.  We didn’t have to do cooking-thank goodness! The other teacher had never been camping-EVER! But she was a good sport and willing to give it a try. So that left space for thirteen students. We were not sure how many eighth graders would want to attend but we figured that it would be mostly boys. Right? Nope.  We had ten girls and three boys. All of the boys were in Scouts-so no worry there.  The girls were bright and funny and cheerleaders. I was concerned a little about them.

The day began misty and gray as we set off from the school parking lot. By the time we had driven 20 miles,  the girls had begun to tell knock knock jokes. They were hilarious! By the time we reached the 30 mile mark, the girls had switched to blond jokes. The fact that they were all blondes made the jokes even funnier!  Next they switched to singing songs. The other teacher and I didn’t have to do a thing. The girls were the undesignated entertainers for the trip. When we arrived at camp, we put our things away and started on the ropes course. Ropes was the key word here. We were divided into teams and used group strategies to use ropes and cross rushing streams and climb cliffs.  It is a good thing that I could do heights! The strangest and scariest activity was something called the pamper pole. It was as tall as your typical telephone pole with the little iron steps up the side. The activity for this was to climb up the pole using the iron steps/grips. When you reached the TOP, you were to crawl up and stand up on your two feet on the very TOP of the pole. BTW, we wore a safety harness.  Once you reached the top and were standing up straight, you were to spring from the top and grab a swinging bar. The harness person would then let you down to earth. Some of the kids started up the pole but came back down. Most of the kids climbed to the top and leaped to the swing bar.  No one made it to the bar yet. Then it was time for the adults. My teacher friend said no and looked at me.  So up I went. Once you got into the groove of climbing up, it was ok. But when I looked down when I was almost to the top—yowie!  I made it to the top and then climbed  up. Next was the swing bar.  Man, it was hard to leap into the air but I did it. I missed the swing bar but was fine. Well, check that off my list!

The next morning we left the base camp and headed to the mountain trail. It was misty rain. The guys were glum. They were not hikers. The girls were cheery and sang the WHOLE day! We had a great time eating by the campfire and sleeping in 2 man tents at night. The next morning after a hearty breakfast, we hiked back to base camp. The guys were tired.. The girls were singing-again!  The guys even mentioned how difficult it was to hike with cheerful people.  The girls mentioned that the boys were real stick-in-the-mud campers and started singing again.

Well, I know one thing from this experience. I will choose blonde cheerleaders to hike into the woods with any day over Boy Scouts.  Sorry guys!

2015 Day 20: The Macarena Girls

Before retiring, I was a teacher, a curriculum coordinator, an assistant principal and a principal.  I have a lot of good memories from those 32 years of my life.  But one that stands out in bravery and sense of humor was my experience as a Macarena girl.

Every year, we did some kind of promotion for our reading program.  We wanted students to read A.L.O.T!! So we always had a “carrot” out there to encourage them in their reading.  And having a contest that students get to participate in is the easiest and best way.  One of our fifth grade teachers was  a real jewel and had a great sense of humor.  Her kids were always thinking of unusual things.  So when she proposed that they come up with the perfect reward for the school if they met their reading goals,  they set right to work.   When they finished, they had a doozy of an idea.  It was better than the time that the principal dressed up as Elvis and arrived in a limo to greet and thank children for their efforts.  The principal was a great sport and even wore an Elvis costume with exposed chest hair.  What a hoot!

Now for the new idea.  A really popular dance among children and teens was the Macarena.  The kids wanted the principal, assistant principal and the counselor to dance the Macarena in front of the school.  Well, that was fine with me. I didn’t know the Macrena but how hard could it be??  The second part of the idea was that we should wear swimsuits.

Swimsuits? We were all OLD-I had grandchildren.  And despite the fact that I am now a water fitness instructor and live in a swimsuit all year and have NO problem anymore with wearing it in front of adults at the Y, I am sure that I did NOT want to wear a swimsuit in front of the whole school. It would probably make the Atlanta news-not in a good way.

Well, adults can be sneaky, too.  The three of us talked and found a way we could wear swimsuits.  So we announced that we would do it at the end of the year IF they met the goals. THE DAY arrived.  Parents arrived.  Nothing like making a fool in front of everyone!!! The school was abuzz.  The dancing was scheduled for 1:45 in the gym.  We had a sound system all ready with the music.  We just smiled when kids asked us about our swimsuits.  It was close to THE TIME.  Children were seated in the gym. They were EXCITED! We strolled into the gym.  We were wearing raincoats. LONG raincoats. We were wearing hats from the 1950’s with feathers and veils. We wore long gloves.  The fifth grade teacher began to encourage the kids to tease us about the raincoats.  They wanted us to take them off.

So we did!  We were wearing turtlenecks, and leotards, and 1940’s swimsuits.  You know-the kind that Esther Williams wore in the movies. They were high cut and anyway we had on turtlenecks with long sleeves.  They were longer than some shorts that women wore then.  We were in swimsuits.  That was the deal.  We danced the Macarena and the fifth graders danced with us. It was a blast!

Today it is still a little scary that somewhere—out there—–is a video or two with us doing our performance!

2015 Day 16: Wha-cha Have?

As I drove home tonight after having dinner with my husband and daughter,  I noticed that one of the “fast food” places had been torn down to make way for a—–ah, BLISS–a Krispy Kreme.  I have wanted one that made HOT doughnuts in my town for ages. Finally, we are getting one!  It also reminded me of all those fast food places that were in the town where I grew up. I though this would be a great post for tonight.

First, let me gather up the extensive list I have made of fast food restaurants in Marietta during the early 1950’s.  You see, there were none.  That’s right-NONE.  NOT.A.SINGLE.FAST.FOOD. PLACE. So you are probably wondering what in the world people did about feeding their family as they drove to ball practice or dance or cheerleading.  Well, that is easy.  They ate at home.  Or they ate when they got back home.  That’s it.  End of discussion. People just ate at home.

In 1955, that began to change. McDonald’s was born.  When one opened in Marietta, it was on the 4 Lane near the runway for Lockheed and the Naval Air Station.  Probably they got a good deal because it was not very quiet with planes zipping in and out all day.  It was a walk up.  You parked your car and you walked up to the window and ordered and paid.  Then you moved to the next window where you picked up your order.  They had cement picnic tables where you could sit down outside.  Lots of people just went back to their car and ate there.  They had the coolest sign that said how many burgers they had sold.  And it changed as they sold more.  They didn’t have a big variety of burgers.  They had hamburgers and cheeseburgers and sodas and French fries.  Those fries were something else.  They were HOT and SALTY and had the best flavor.  Much better than today.  And I can tell you the…shhhhh….secret.  Want to know? Really want to know?  L.A.R.D.  Yep. They fried those slender tater strips in lard.  Oh MY! Be still my heart as it is headed for cardiac arrest from all that lard.  They were amazing.

But my favorite fast food place in the world was not in Marietta. It was in Atlanta and was called the Varsity. The “legend” behind the start of the Varsity is that a Ga. Tech student flunked out and was told he would never be successful. So he went down a block and bought some land  and started the Varsity in 1928.  He sure showed Ga. Tech because tons of students eat there daily-still.  My Dad was a student there and that is about all the food he ever had—-Burgers and Hot Dogs with or without chili with onion rings or fries.  They were the best.  You could drive into the  parking lot and a waiter would jump onto your car and take your order when you parked.  Some of the waiters were legendary.  Or you could go inside the Varsity and order at one of the many order stations.  The person in charge would say-Wha-cha have? Wha-cha have? And you would tell him. Every day the main corridor of the Varsity looked like an ant hill.  People were everywhere-touching each other-holding their order-pushing through the crowd.  You could literally walk from one end to the other on the shoulders of customers. That is how many people where in there.  Once you got your food inside, you could sit in one of the rooms in wooden desks and watch TV.  What a great idea! Watching TV and eating at the same time.  Hmmm-sounds rather like today’s family dinner.

My favorite meal was a chili-mustard steak with onion rings and a Coca-Cola. Or I had a chili dog with rings. Sometimes I had a naked steak.  Love that terminology! To end the meal, I ALWAYS had a peach pie.  It was hand made and then fried to a crispy golden brown.  Oh it was heavenly.

To this day, I can still have those same foods at the Varsity.   Are they as good as when I was a child?  Nope.  There is ONE ingredient that is missing. It is LARD.  They fried everything in lard. And was it good! Those animals fats give a wonderful flavor to fried foods.   Please let me remind you that lard was a perfectly acceptable food ingredient in those days.

Today, fast food addicts can satisfy their hunger with a variety of foods. And these foods are lard free. Hallejah! We have seen the light!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 Day 10: Saturday Favorites

It’s Saturday-Yay!  It has been raining all night and is still misty and really wet. So on a day like this, there is nothing better than homemade chicken soup and a good book or classic movie.  BTW, my chicken is in the pot, simmering along as I type.  This post is my opinion-not a requirement to purchase or watch! It probably tells a lot about my taste in cinema!!!

Best all time adult movies for me include:

*North by Northwest.  I can’t say enough about this Hitchcock movie. I have it and have watched it a gazillion times! Cary Grant is a classic man. And who can forget the scene in the cornfield?

*In Harm’s Way. A World War II movie in black and white that came out in the 1960’s.  John Wayne, Patricia Neal and a cast of hundreds of other well-known actors/actresses. I have this both in DVD and on disc.  Wow!

*To Kill A Mockingbird. A CLASSIC.  Be sure to read the book first.  Atticus Finch is played perfectly by Gregory Peck.

*Goldfinger with Sean Connery.  You know he was REALLY the ONLY James Bond! My husband in high school worked at the movie theater and I saw this for months on Friday night when we were dating.

*Some Like it Hot in black and white with Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon.  It’s Prohibition and Tony and Jack dress as women and join a women’s band to avoid the Mob!  Ha Ha all the way!

Best Kid’s Movies:

*No Time for Sergeants-A great film with Andy Griffith and Don Knotts.

*The Ghost and Mr. Chicken played wonderfully by Don Knotts.

*The Parent Trap-the OLD one with Hayley Mills.  I still watch this and laugh and laugh. I have tried the clicking sticks on novice hikers, too! Shame on me!

You will notice that my list contains no Disney classic movies.  I saw Bambi as a child and I was DONE .  I CAN NOT watch animal movies to this very day.

Best chick flicks to watch with your teenage granddaughters:

*Pillow Talk, Lover Come Back, The Trill of It All, The Glass Botton Boat with the queen of comedy and style-Doris Day.  Not a vulgar word is heard and no nudity.  She can still crack me up!

Best Horror Film for me is Them-a black and white movie made in 1954 about ants made into giant ants by radiation.  Don’t watch it alone!

Best Musicals:

The Sound of Music—-the Hills are really alive in Austria and so is the music.

Holiday Inn by Irving Berlin-I usually watch this every July and then from Thanksgiving on.  Yes, I know all the words!

Have a great Saturday!