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Chips N Dust

Things my mom taught me

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Worst I had was a sadistic sixth grade teacher.   Someone got paddled every day.  Some days the whole class got a whack because not everyone put their pencil down quickly enough when she got up to talk after desk work, most kids got their pant cuffs wet from the 6-10 inches of snow in the recess area, etc.   Every Friday was spelling and you got a whack for every word you missed.  One poor classmate was a terrible speller (but a very bright guy otherwise) and got about 10 every week.  I think I spent more time every evening in homework during that class than I did in any of the 12 years of school, until I reached college.

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4 hours ago, Gene Howe said:

Not that it wasn't ever deserved but, I never got paddled at school. At home, it was a willow switch or a belt. Both left welts. Doubt that would be allowed today.

You'd probably end up in jail if you used a paddle or belt today.

Edited by Al B

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27 minutes ago, John Morris said:

Now that's a story I could sit an listen to for hours, I bet it's a good one!

John, There were some really good times in my younger years. Mom was a pretty good piano player. My uncle really picked the banjo. An aunt married a music teacher who played the steel guitar, accordian, guitar and banjo. Together they really put on a show, at least for a kid up to 10 yrs old. It was after WW11 started that things began to go sour.

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9 hours ago, John Morris said:

Just one very small example of a story I like to tell, that surprises younger kids today, a story about how I fell out of the back of a pick up truck moving down the highway, 17 yrs old, too much beer and too many giggling girls, too many kids in the back, and I have the scars to show today, and the one question the young ones ask me after I tell that wonderful story, they ask, "you got to ride in the back of a pickup truck!". I find it very sad that kids cannot experience what we experienced decades ago, while I would not wish a fall from a truck on any kid, but I do wish they could ride free, and take risks! 

We have very few daredevils and barrier breakers today, because they don't get to take those chances anymore, they don't get to up and leave their home at the age of 15 and "somehow survive"!



Hello John. I can see both sides. I have my own set of scars. However, I recall from several years back while visiting my wife in the hospital, seeing a young man, say 15-16 years old, severely incapacitated from an injury to his brain after crashing his skateboard into a parked car. No helmut! He could barely talk or sit up, but I joked with him every day and we would do fist bumps. His dad told me he was unlikely to recover. I could feel his heartbreak. :(

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Several years ago, I was called on to provide Speech and Language evaluation and rehab services for a severely injured 9 year old native American boy. In AZ, it's legal to ride in the bed of a pick up. He was among several in the back when they hit a rough patch of road. He was thrown out and, somehow was ran over and ended up wound around the wheel, trapped in the wheel well. Luckily, their speed wasn't great but, the driver wasn't aware that the boy had fallen out and didn't get stopped for several feet. 

He suffered severe brain damage as well as a broken arm and pelvis. 

I saw him in the hospital two days after the accident. As a result of the brain damage, his vision was impaired and, he couldnt control eye movement. He had lost all capacity for speech as he had lost all voluntary control of the muscles necessary. Although, his receptive language seemed intact. 

I saw him three times a week for 4 years. We were successful in establishing communication for him using a series of communication boards with pictures. Eventually, we transitioned to printed words. 

Sadly, he passed away at the age of 14. 

This sad narrative illustrates the very real possible consequences of hauling human beings in the open bed of a pick up. 

Thanks for reading and please don't let your kids...or anyone...ride back there. 

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John, shortly before the start of WW11 my parents opened a neighborhood grocery store   Things were fine for a while, but my dad was in the Coast Guard Reserve. He was away from home most of the time after the war started. Mom developed a constant cough and eventually wasn't able to run the store properly and take care of 5 children.I believe my dad blamed her for the business finally having to close its doors. The last time he came home, there was a lot of yelling and language that I was normally unaccustomed to hearing. He left that day and never returned. Mom's cough got continually worse and alcohol became a problem. Because of financial issues we eventually had to move to a low end apartment . Mom got a job as a cashier in the local First National Store but her health progressively got worse. After a year or less, she couldn't work, with 5 kids to support. I never knew what or how things happened, but one day my dad arrived, and an ambulance and another car with people I didn't know. The ambulance took my mom to the sanitarium. She had been diagnosed with tuberculosis. My oldest sister left in a vehicle with people I didn't know and the rest of us were driven about 50 miles to what was described as a heath home where we stayed a little over a year. 

I eventually heard that my older sister was living as an aid for the children in the home of a former mayor from the city. She was later diagnosed with TB and was taken to the sanitariun where my mom was. "She spent almost 4 years there before finally being cured."

One day, my dad and his wife showed up at the health home and announced that mom had passed away and we would be leaving the home to move in with him and his wife within a month. This was about 2 weeks after mom has died. 

We never got to see her again.


Just a summary of the years after dad left and before moving in with him.




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Continuing with my story: The 4 of us kids moved in with my dad and step mother. I soon learned that my step mother had been married before and had 2 sons from that marriage. I was never given any details about why, but her parents had custody of her younger son. Her oldest son would have been about my age. He was killed after falling off the back of a pick up truck when he was 11. "Ironic that this subject was discussed here".

We were living in the town where my step mother grew up , but within less than year we moved back to the town and house where I lived in my early growing years. This brought back lots of memories, and when I mentioned my mom, it apparently bothered my step mother. Dad then got involved with our differences and over short time  I soon became the target of her displeasure. It seemed that no matter what it was,an argument with my sisters, a disagreement with her , a skuffle with my brother, it was, "wait till your father gets home". When he got home, his response was a slap to the face at first, but over time this turned into a whipping with his belt, and the whippings got progressively worse over a period of over 3 years.

It was during my sophmore year in high school when my step mother's mother passed away.  Her son who was living with her, now had to move in with us. We did get along well, but one day while out in the front yard, I found a jackknife. I put it in my pocket, and while whittleing with it that evening, Dick saw me using it and right away said, "that's my knife. We began arguing about it and it didn't take my dad long to get involved. I told him that I had found the knife but Dick said it was his. Dad said give him the knife and I told him it was mine , I had found it outside. That was all it took. The belt came off and I got the beating of all beatings. When it stopped, he said, give him the knife,  or do you wan't more?  I had had enough. I ran, grabbed my coat and ran out the door. This was December 19 and the weather was cold. I had no idea where I was going to go or what I was going to do, but I knew I was never going back home.

These weren't the years you would like to read about so I skimmed past this time. Totally unpleasant. Now I was on my own.

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