“How was school today?”
I ask that question every Monday-Friday of all our kids. And I always get the same answers.
Parker: “I had a good day today.”
Then, being a dad detective, I try to get more information. On a good day, Parker will tell me why one of her pre-K friends had to sit on the emotions mat or in the better choices chair. She often neglects to mention if her butt graced those locales.
When I ask Gabby if anything interesting happened in her class, she tells me, “No. It was the same as all the other days.” Apparently there’s not a lot of variety in second grade.
When I open my mouth to ask Max, I just shut it again. Honestly, there isn’t much a sixth grade boy is going to volunteer. Ever.
So that’s why it’s so much fun to go to parent teacher conferences. Teachers, unlike their students, will talk
Last night was our first conferences for middle school. Max, to our great pride, made the Honor Roll. Missy immediately demanded to know where her bumper sticker was. Turns out you have to buy them. Here we thought they were automatically distributed as awards for good parenting. Chalk up another moment to life experiences.
Max’s teachers could not have been more complimentary of our boy. The said he was polite, interested in the classwork and doing very well.
Say what?! Wasn’t this the kid who, on Tuesday, didn’t know how to make a chicken sandwich? It was a simple recipe. You scoop barbequed chicken onto a bun. And isn’t this the kid who constantly pushes our buttons with attitude and pre-teen hormone driven angst?
Quite honestly…we’re thrilled that he saves it for home. Better he take out that hormonal angst on us than on his teachers. In fact, most adults we know compliment us on how well behaved our kids are. Suckers.
Before we went to Max’s conferences, we went to Gabby’s second grade meeting. Her teacher is a young, enthusiastic educator and this is her first year with her own class.
But the three parents scheduled before us were no shows for their conferences. I was shocked (and five minutes early because I cannot STAND to be even slightly late for anything). How can you stand up your kid’s teacher? It’s not a blind date with your buddy's cousin…it’s your child’s education!
This is Gabby’s first full year of school since going on ADHD medication a year ago and the difference in her class work is dramatic. Her teacher seemed to really adore having Gabby in class. It was music to the ears of once concerned parents.
Gabby’s teacher did share a funny moment. Our daughter could care less what people think of her most of the time. Gabby is a free spirit and often moves to her own drummer. We love that about her. For a project on animals, most of her classmates did shoebox dioramas. Gabby did a mobile…the only one in her class. It hung proudly by the front door of the classroom. Her teacher loved it.
Gabby is also a talented young artist. One day a few weeks ago she brought home a certificate touting her art achievement. She quickly pointed out that it said she was in first
grade. And that’s all she said about it as Missy stuck it on the refrigerator.
When we mentioned this to her teacher, we got, as Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story.”
The certificate was presented during a school assembly, which Gabby failed to mention. And neither Gabby nor her teacher knew that the art teacher had chosen her for this honor. When Gabby’s name was read, it was during the first grade part of the ceremony.
Gabby looked at her teacher who shrugged and said, “Just go ahead and we’ll get it sorted out later.” So Gabby went on the stage and got her certificate. As she walked off, Gabby turned to the principal of the school and said, quite clearly, “I’m in SECOND grade…”
I think her teacher is still laughing.
Good teachers are a resource that should be considered as precious as the things you lock in a safe deposit box. Our kids have been blessed with one terrific educator after another. Gabby’s teacher last year helped us to get her diagnosed ADHD and we will forever be grateful that she did. All three of our kids enjoy school and seem to thrive in the education environment. They learn so much from books and teachers and even more from the social interaction with other kids . It’s a wonder for parents to behold.
I wish I could be a fly on the wall of their classrooms. Because when I ask what happened at school, I know there’s so much more than what they tell me.
But as long as we keep getting such positive reviews from their teachers, I guess it’s OK to hold back a secret or two.
My grandfather wore a hat.
I can still remember Hubert Mason headed out the back door of his home in Moundsville, WV, for his short walk to the Marshall County Tax Assessor’s office. He looked very smart in his fedora and briefcase. It was his “retirement” job after working many years as a dairy farmer. Yes, he wore a hat then as well.
Me? I’ve never been a hat man. I have a collection of baseball caps that I might put on if I’m working or playing outside, but otherwise I’ve never been one for headwear. The closest thing I had was an Irish cap I bought in Donegal, Ireland, back in the summer of 1985.
But that started to change in the fall of 2009. Missy and I were shopping at a vintage clothing store in Cleveland called Flower Child. They have styles from the 1950s though the 1990s. As a joke, I would sometimes put on a goofy looking hat and suggest to my wife that I might buy it. She’d always look at me and roll her eyes. Until the brown fedora.
I found the vintage topper a few weeks before that Halloween and put it on, thinking I might look like Indiana Jones. I waited for my usual eye roll but Missy said, “That looks good on you.”
I checked the price tag and it was $20. Missy said, “You should get it. You look really good in that hat.” Sold!
A quick aside here…if your wife tells you that you look good in something, just buy it. Don’t debate. Buy. Even if you think you look like a complete dork, the only woman who has
to like it is the one wearing your ring. Capiche?
So I got the fedora and started wearing it when it got colder. And what do you know? It kept my head warm! And I got several compliments when I wore it on Halloween at work with a “Press” card in the brim.
I wore the fedora on and off during the winter, substituting with a wool cap that fit over my ears when it was really cold. But once spring rolled around, the fedora went on a shelf and I didn’t think about hats again until August.
Missy and I were in Pittsburgh for my 25th high school reunion and were walking in the Strip District. For those of you not from The Burgh, that’s where they sell produce in the mornings, not naked girls at night. We were looking at sidewalk vendors on a Sunday morning when I picked up a smaller, light-brown straw fedora and thought I’d make Missy laugh again.
“That really looks good on you!” she said. I looked at the price. $10. Sold again! Even better, it was made from 100% recycled paper of all things. Suave AND green!
I wore that hat the rest of the summer. It looked good and kept the sun out of my eyes. Plus the mesh allowed my head to breathe even better than baseball caps did.
Now I had two fedoras and my Irish cap. I soon found another Irish cap at a consignment store. It was from the exact same maker in Donegal that I bought my original from. This one even has ear flaps and will likely be a winter staple for me.
Then a few weeks ago, I found a black mesh fedora on clearance at Target for $7. Sold! My four-year-old daughter wanted to take my picture.
Now I had a different color to wear with different outfits.
Then last week I bought a solid black felt fedora for $10 that I can wear during the winter. Mesh isn’t the best when you want a warm head. Just sayin’.
So I now have at least six hats. You know what that means…a hat/coat rack! It arrived over the weekend and I assembled it Monday. And the kids now have a place to hang their coats instead of tossing them on the floor like discarded banana peels.
So now, like my grandfather, I am a hat man. I keep one of granddad’s old straw hats in my workshop in his memory. If it fit me, I would wear it. But I apparently have a fat head (You can keep your comments to yourself).
As you can see below, there are many good uses for a hat. And if you are a hat wearer as well, I tip mine to you.
Eat your heart out, Don Draper....