McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • Memories add meaning to mundane days

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  • The traditional calendar with 12 months and 30 days per month seems quite adequate for our daily existence, but the notes written between those numerals chronicle a plethora of memories that the numerals don’t recall. I’m sure that we muse over those entries, so rich in life’s history. Neither time nor paper will allow more than a perusal of all the snippets of bygone days.
    When a retired teacher repeats the noteworthy memories of the wonderful incidents of a career filled with the recollections of the personalities of hundreds of neat, memorable school children, the memories of those spaces on the special days on the calendar, it’s a kind of history which books don’t mention but which, when recalled, add a great deal of color to otherwise mundane records of meetings and daily reminders of school happenings.
    From my own memories as a school kid to the more vivid memories as a classroom teacher of 38 years, I find myself asking how many of those memories were important to others as well.
    My memory calendar includes the early days when walking to school meant a closer touch with nature and weather extremes — the daily trek to and from school included interaction with other kids not necessarily in your class but maybe in other grades and usually in your neighborhood.
    Community events were experienced from the perspective of other kids walking with you instead of riding in carpool. I can recall putting together bouquets of dandelions and wild flowers to give to a favorite teacher, or maybe a special girlfriend. Friendships were developed by several students following the same route to school. Lasting friendships flourished from those day-to-day treks back and forth to school. Ah, yes! They may have included little boys and girls performing acts of unusual kindness for each other like carrying books for each other, etc.
    As I recall all of those memories, I would be remiss if I didn’t recall the experiences which Ellen and I shared during the early years of our marriage when we spent two years taking care of those people who desperately needed TLC in Presbyterian Hospital in Denver. Those experiences were a part of our alternative service, when we worked in a large general hospital taking care of critical care surgical and medical patients. The experiences tested the sincerity of our Christian convictions, the very reason we were working in the hospital. To say we experienced real growth in our Christian faith was evidenced in the lasting respect for people of other faiths, or no faith at all.
    Our involvement in many programs which involved many churches working to improve the cultural climate in the city taught us to establish those areas of cooperation for the rest of our lives. It was very fulfilling to sing in large church choirs in Red Rocks Amphitheatre and participate with other choirs in Christmas and Easter oratorios together. To this day I can still hear the wonderful sound of 500 singers performing the Messiah at Christmas.
    My years as an educator, all the different seasons of the school year and the many different personalities, have colored my calendar with a bright rainbow of memories. Some of the brightest ones are those that surround the All Schools Day celebrations, spanning the entire 38 years of my teaching career.
    Those memories of my student population growing up and bringing back their own contributions to our community, filling in those spaces between the numerals on my memory calendar, helped me to write “Once Upon a Day in May.”
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    Once upon a day in May
    I saw some children in their play
    I listened as they sang their songs
    I saw them as they marched along
    Some other children came to see
    They joined them in their revelry
    On tin can drums and sticks they played
    Great marching tunes for their parade
    Then moms and dads and folks en masse
    Came out to watch them as they passed
    Bright flags and banners lined the way
    To welcome children on that day
    Now many years have come and gone
    The happy music echoes on
    Those kids are grown who then had played
    They sang and marched in their parade
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