Monday, November 26, 2012

Bookstore Love!

Join me on my writing journey each week as I post to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers

Today I'm thankful for bookstores!
The first bookstore that I frequented was Bill Edward's Bookstore in my hometown of McAlester, OK. It was really more of an office supply, but Bill carried a few books, and since my brother and I loved school supplies too, we spent many a wishful afternoon in Bill's store.
When I married and moved to Tulsa, a favorite Sunday morning activity was watching Lewis Meyer's Bookshelf on TV.  His bookstore was in Brookside, next to the old Brook Theater.  His signature sign-off for the show still rings in my head - "The more books you read, the taller you grow."
When we moved to Houston, I was fortunate to be within walking distance of Half-Price Books, and two wonderful children's bookstores, Munchkin's Mablies and Stop, Look, and Learn.  It was at Stop, Look, and Learn that I met Tomie de Paola, one of my favorite children's writers!
Our next move brought us to the Seattle area and my favorite independent bookstore, Island Books.  I know the owner and most of the booksellers.  Island Books hosted an evening at the bookstore for my former students who shared their genre brochures and ideas for reading by genre with my current sixth graders.  After the event the bookstore carried my student's brochures in the children's section of the bookstore.
When I travel, I love to spend time in bookstores.  I'll never forget the rainy afternoon I spent in Paris at Shakespeare and Company, and my discovery of Blackwell's in Oxford where I spent several hours exploring new (to me) authors in the children's section.
While the internet has made procuring books from the comfort of my home a breeze, I make time to support my local independent bookstore.  It's a treasure that I don't want to lose in my community.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Trio of Thankus!

Thanks to Teaching Authors for inspiring me to write thankus, a thank you note written in haiku form.  

My first thanku, composed on Thanksgiving Day, is written in honor of my mother and the place where I feel closest to her.

I don my apron
Retrieve treasured recipes
And feel Mom's presence.

My second thanku is for Kristin Levine, author of The Lions of Little Rock.

Thank you for Marlee
Who bravely took a stand and
Heard the lions roar. 

My third thanku is for my fellow bloggers from Two Writing Teachers.

Friends in cyberspace
Companions on my journey
Fire my writing soul.

Thanks to Mary Lee at A Year of Reading for hosting Poetry Friday Roundup.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Passion for the Newspaper

Join me on my writing journey each week as I post to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacey and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers

Thank you, Stacey, for encouraging me to use the month of November to see with fresh eyes and write daily about the things for which I'm grateful.  It's a wonderful journey.  
I'm beginning to recognize that I'm joining the ranks of the old folks!  When I mention the PWOW (personal word of the week) assignment and suggest that my students find their word in the newspaper, they immediately comment, "Can we find a word in an article on the internet?  We don't take the newspaper."
It saddens me to see the demise of newspapers and yes, I fear that someday they will be a thing of the past.  But for now, I'll cling to my personal love of the printed paper.  
So here's my Facebook post:  "Today I'm thankful for newspapers.  In this age of instant news on the TV, internet, and Twitter, I still like to hold a newspaper in my hands.  I love the act of picking it up from the front porch, taking it out of the plastic bag, discarding the Sports section (a sacrilege for some of you), and laying aside the rest of it to savor later in the day.  I like to follow favorite columnists and stumble across my own serendipitous finds while browsing the daily paper.  I like the travel sections, the living sections, the art scene, the local events, everything except the real news!  And I love the luxury of reading the Sunday paper.  
So while I can, I'll savor this daily ritual of reading a newspaper and hope to delay its demise by my continued subscription."    

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Library Love!

Join me on my writing journey each week as I post to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacy and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers

Today I'm thankful for libraries.  I love that this incredible resource is available to everyone.  I think back on my own library history beginning with our public library in McAlester.  I loved walking up its staircase.  It somehow prepared you for the knowledge that you would find once you entered its double doors.  It had high ceilings and the children's section was off to the right.  I can recall the exact shelves where some of my favorite series were shelved - Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew.  I remember summer reading programs - especially the year when each book you read was represented by a brick on a picture of a library.  My friend Dortha and I walked to the library almost daily during the summer.  It was with great sadness that I said goodbye to this magnificent brick edifice when our home town decided to build a new library.  

The new library was modern and close to the high school, but lacked much of the architectural charm of our old library.   Significant libraries in my children's lives were the Looscan branch of the Houston library system and the West University branch of the Harris County system.  When we moved to the Northwest, I was delighted to find our local library was open until 9 in the evening Monday through Thursday.  I love the King County library system.  I visit our branch several times a week since it's on my way home from school.  I often have books on hold to pick up for my classroom.  The bunny sculpture out front with a boy reading a book is a favorite of children.  I love the beautiful blossoms that greet us in the circle drive when spring arrives each year.   More than the physical facility I love the people that work in the libraries.  It's such fun to share favorite books with the librarians and get their recommendations.  I like to invite the librarians into my classroom so my students will recognize familiar faces when they go to the library.    

I'm so grateful for this resource that is available to everyone in our community.  I can't imagine my life without the blessing of a public library!  Take the time this week to thank a librarian for the services they provide for us!  

Monday, November 5, 2012

Election Day Memories

Join me on my writing journey each week as I post to the Tuesday Slice of Life sponsored by Stacy and Ruth from Two Writing Teachers

Today I'm thankful for my citizenship in the United States of America and the opportunity to vote.  I have so many memories of election day!
My childhood home in Oklahoma was a polling place for many years, and preparations for election day began many days in advance of the election.  Dad always brought the plywood voting dividers down from the attic, Mom cleaned and cooked frantically, then went to the courthouse to pick up ballots and required materials, the flag was hung from the front porch, the required number of workers arrived to staff the election, and then neighbors arrived to vote.  My mom provided a pot of soup or beans simmering on the stove for the workers.  She took her job as judge quite seriously, and more than once chased away folks who were handing out campaign literature too close to the polling place, and even advised husbands that wives should be allowed to vote in private.  She didn't like it when men told their wives how to vote.  I believe I may have inherited some of her independent nature.
In Washington all votes are now cast by mail-in ballot.  I miss chatting with neighbors as I stand in line, looking for my name in the big book, signing on the dotted line signifying I was there to cast my vote, and proudly wearing the "I voted" sticker.  I remember many polling places.  One very vivid memory was standing in line outside a small residence in Stillwater, OK to vote in my first presidential election in 1976.  Polling places were often my children's elementary schools (Roberts in Houston and West Mercer on Mercer Island).   I frequently took my children with me to vote so I could share this important process with them and sneak in a mini civics lesson.
Our modern age of convenient mail-in ballots leaves me feeling oddly disconnected from the sense of shared community and patriotism that I felt when I cast my ballot in person at the polling place.
What memories come to your mind when you think of election day?