Matt Weinstock -- May 2, 1959
May 2, 2009 | 4:00 pm
LIVE AND LEARNFor many parents Thursday was Back to School Night, a solemn event at which they dragged themselves through the routines their little darlings must endure every day. They went to the same classes their youngsters do, met the teachers and learned what was being taught and why, so they might better understand what is going on in the educational world.
All in all, it was a pleasant and satisfying experience and, as far as is known, the parents resisted the impulse to tell the teachers what they taught of them and viceversa. Naturally they picked up a little knowledge along the way.
A HOMEMAKING TEACHER at Paul Revere Junior High had a class of parents aghast when she casually mentioned that, in addition to teaching the girls to cook, bake and set the table, they had received instruction in house cleaning, polishing windows, washing and ironing. After a spot check, the parents unanimously advised her that the girls had kept this a secret at home.
One father asked the teacher, after class, if she could please give his daughter additional coaching in baking cookies. The last batch she proudly brought home, he said, almost broke a tooth.
A young gym teacher was well along with her spiel about basketball, softball and taking showers when she exclaimed, "Oh, this is the 8th grade class -- I was giving my 7th grade speech!"
A social studies teacher had written on the blackboard, "I teach grammar, spelling, reading, speaking, listening."
That word "listening" stood out like a lighthouse, and she explained, "I try to teach them they have to work at listening and yet sometimes when I read a few paragraphs of classic literature I see their glassy stare and realize they haven't heard a thing I've said."
"Most of them," she went on, "also confuse reading and studying. We try to teach them that studying is picking out the important facts from what they're reading and putting them in their own words, but I'm afraid we don't always get through to them."
And then there was the young father, going from one class to another, who was overheard remarking hopefully to his wife, "Maybe we'll get a Martini at the next one!"
HURRAY FOR Dizzy Gillespie, one of the jazz greats. After finishing a number disturbed by inconsiderate talkers, he said into the microphone at the Crescendo, "Thank you very much for your total indifference."
APROPOS OF the current togetherness craze, Carl C. Jenkins found this line in "The Prophet," written by Kahlil Gibran in 1926 on the subject of marriage: "But let there be spaces in your togetherness that let the winds of Heaven dance between you," So it isn't that new ... Enchanting description of the Mississippi steamboat John J. Roe in "The Autobiography of Mark Twain": "Upstream she couldn't even beat an island. Downstream she was never able to overtake the current."
LET US BE evocative, a very expensive word for a Saturday. Mack Tuesday nicked a finger the other day and the staff broke out a pre-space age first aid kit. It wasn't colored or plastic, just plain old adhesive tape, the kind that smells like disinfectant. Made him yearn all afternoon for the uncomplicated past.
For years we hung our heads in shame,
We had but one car to our name;
Now no longer neighbors hate us,
Two motor cars assure us status."
FOOTNOTES -- When writer David Chandler dropped in at a friend's house the children were watching TV, and when the program ended one of them asked, "Pa, why can't we live in the West?" ... A 1955 Ford station wagon with the license plate GUN 484 was seen in San Gabriel. Those gunslingers, willing to travel, are everywhere.