Wednesday, June 24, 2015

New post from an OLD guy

I know that I'm old and worn out. I also know I was not this way two years ago. Two years ago I was one of these up and running older gentlemen trying just to get things done. I was helping the carpenters get their work don one afternoon when all of a sudden I felt my legs start to give way. I was dragging some old scrap from the back of the house to the side so I could toss it in our roll-off dumpster. I was just pushing the wheelbarrow I just felt my knees give way.

I basically just ignored it. I just kept on working but my knees just kept on hurting. Finally as the carpenters went home, I just set in the rocker on the front porch thinking it would get better. It just must have been to hot outside and I was doing to much.

By the next day it had not gotten any better. Now I began to worry, if only a small bit. I did go by a knee specialist and got a sot, called a 'Roster Comb shot'. It hurt like hell but I was 'told it would help'. I paid my bill and made my way out of the office. As I got to the parking lot, I stepped off the curb and my knee gave way. I fell to the ground. It was hard to get up but I slowly did and got to my car and drove to my personal doctor.

As I told them that I need to see her. they set me up with an appointment two weeks later. Not good. I struggled to get back home and just sat until my wife came home. At that point I told her what had happened.

At this point my life changed for the worst.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


It all started so simple way back in the day - before cellphones, before the internet, before school computers, before al most anything. I never expected it but it happened. It started with a simple game between homerooms. The school thought it would build a 'better school'. I had just started teaching middle school so I was game for almost anything.

Our teachers were told to come up with a homeroom name. We were going to shoot hoops in the gym with our students each assigned morning - WITH our students. Yes WE  had to take part. I had been a basket ball coach for years so that did not scare me but I started practicing at home just to get ready. I did not want to embarrass myself.

My students could not come up with a name that they could agree with so we became known as the 'Mystery team'. As time went on it became the MrE team and that simple meant that I became MrE since my last name began with an E.

Over the year the name spread and the next class continued to use it and so did the next and the next and the next and so forth. 27 years later it was all the kids knew. They were in MrE's class. All because of a simple homeroom basketball stunt.

As teachers we have all been told to stand at our doors as the students file in and to watch the hall traffic. I never had a problem with that. Many a day went by when I was the ONLY teacher students saw in the hall. I loved it and was glad to be there talking to my students, telling them good morning, checking to see how their day had been, how their home life had been the night before, if they had their homework  - if not, why not.

I learned so much in those brief few seconds every class change. I would not change it for the world. I wish I had never retired. My retirement was simply because my wife retired and since she did I figured I had always hear 'retirement is fun. You get to travel, time is of your own making....' NO IT IS NOT. I hate retirement. I hate having nothing to do. Life is SHIT - excuse my French, so to speak.

Within two weeks I was looking for some other place to teach and I found an Episcopal school and needed a prt-time 8th grade history teacher. I interviewed and got the job the same day. It was part-time With a really weird schedule each day but it was a job. Spent two years there loving it. Thanks EDS.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Last Explorer trip of the school year

Well we finally got here. Trip #7. New Orleans, here we come. We left VERY early. I would tell you about our very first time going to NO but that was an overnight trip and all the rest of years from that year on were day trips so I will stick to the one day trip.

We did not do yellow dog because we left the west side of the state going all the way to the east side of the state. We took a charter bus and left very, very, very early - I believe we left school at about 4:30am. We wanted a FULL day in N.O. and this was the only way to get it done.

We pulled up to Café du Monde about 7am. When we got off the bus, we did not get back on it till about 10pm. Our bus driver went to a hotel and slept while we walked everywhere. My Explorers had a very hard time keeping up with me.

After Beignets we walked across the street to Jackson Square and I told stories of what, when, why the statue was about, what happen during civil War to base of statue, why he was on a horse with front legs up (due to the baroness in the center room of the Pontalba Apartments wanted to look into Jackson's face). From there the Explorers were told to work on a drawing, take lots of photographs, then we walked over to St Louis Cathedral.

After walking in, thru the Cathedral, seeing all the flags, tombs, and hearing my stories, we left for the French Market which was their CHEAP spending time and money there. We wandered the entire six blocks and when we got to the end we were across the street from the old U.S. Mint. We visited and walked thru all the exhibits.

We now had a long walk back and this is were they had to keep up with this old man. We walked back along the Moon Walk, along the river, to the old Jax Brewery. From there we were going to dinner on board the Creole Queen with a riverboat trip to Chalmette, the Battle of New Orleans battlefield. We had a great meal, lots of visiting, watching the river roll by.

When we got back it was time to take group photos in and around the Spanish plaza then head off to the Riverwalk Mall, a short distance away. My Explorers had a great time and yes I did turn them loose - with one chaperon - and let them just wander, hang out, go in and out of stores of their choice.

They ate, they shopped, they walked what seemed like miles and miles and miles. As we left at 10pm we walk back to where the bus would pick us up. By 10:30 we were on the bus and headed for home. It has been a great year - and it was great to be an Explorer.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Next to last Explorer's trip #6

We Are headed this trip to one of my favorite places, The Myrtles Plantation. The Myrtles is known as the 13th Most Haunted place in America. 13th. The number is and/or was never factual. But the Myrtles latched on to it and it stuck. You see, 13th is an unlucky number and they wanted it. Any way, this is our first stop this Saturday morning.

April is a great month but my Explorers are looking towards next month I'm sure. Little do they know what's lurking today. The Myrtles tells the tale of secrets, cakes, children, a hangings, shootings, Indian burial grounds, and whisky. Oh, and lots of ghosts. My Explorers got them all.

The stories stared with Whisky Dave, the owner of the house and his running from the pre revolutionary war and his move to Spanish Luisiana. It end with his being shot on his front porch late at  night. the story unfolds thru choice of where he build his house, his slaves, and one up was always sticking her nose - of ear - into his business.

My Explorers listen very intently as the stories went on and on - good and bad, I have read both the actually accounts and heard the ghost stories - believe what you will - they are both interesting.

From the Myrtles we bused on to Greenwood plantation - or the rebuild Greenwood. The story runs in and around Richard Barnes and his family. The stories told of movies, the fire, and his family - AND the stories were told by Richard himself. My Explorers ate it up.

Speaking of eating, we headed back down to Baton Rouge and west to Randols in Lafayette were we had a crawfish dinner, some dancing, and great fellowship before heading home to Calcasieu Parish.

As we got home I began hear - when is the next trip - I knew that answer. New Orleans here we come - and already has been a great year.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Explorers trip #5

We left school early this morning - at 6am heading to our first plantation stop. my Explorers were yawning, running their eyes, but no one was late - they knew the rules. They were ready again to see a part of Louisiana they have never been to.

Our Yellow Dog was making good time down the interstate. Our driver chose to do our trips for free, She knew the students, what they were expected to do, what SHE wanted to see - plus I had told her that it was her bus so if she wanted she could bring someone - she brought her grandson.

We rolled to Baton Rouge, turned south just as we got to the river. My students and their parents knew what to expect - I had given them an itinerary for this trip as with ALL our trips.

Stop one was White Castle - Nottoway Plantation. Our itinerary said we would be there at 9am. As we drove up several of my parent volunteers asked - "you said we would be here at 9am - AND IT'S RIGHT AT 9AM! How did you do this?" (I drive the route a couple of weeks before - I drive the same speed, make the same stops, chart it all - I just know.)

Nottoway is the largest plantation home in the U.S. - 365 windows and doors, a huge white ballroom, a balcony that overlooks the Mississippi River. We explored the home, walked across the street and climbed the levee, took photos, did drawings, asked a ton of questions. And this was only the first stop.

from there we went down River Road to Oak Alley, the Disneyworld of plantations. The OA tour is unlike any tour I've been. They really leave to tour up to you for the most part. After that first year I change out itinerary to a different plantation. The grounds and the plantation are a great stop but you will find out why I call it the Disneyworld tour.

From OA we went to the Cabins Restaurant which this built of former slave cabins. The Explorers loved the stories they were exposed too. This made a great stop before our last stop. After walking around the cabins we were on to Laura Plantation.

My students were excited about the next stop. Laura was famous for what came from there - Compair Lapin which became better known as Br'er Rabbit. They had heard the stories in 3rd or 4th grade - now they knew where the stories came from - right here in their own state. They came from a slave here at Laura plantation.

After touring the plantation, the grounds. the store we were ready to head home and our final stop - supper. Supper would be at Mickey D's in Jennings.