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October 2
, 2011

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OpalToney7-24.jpg (37075 bytes)As I Was Saying
By Opal Toney

Things remembered...
Here I am at my window looking outside.
This year the school bus route is not on the road that goes by our house.
I kinda miss ‘em, if I was outside I would wave and the kids on the bus would wave back.
Right now I’m lookin’ at the beautiful pink moss. It’s the tall kind that I like. The other kind is spread out on the ground.
My Mama loves flowers and we looked forward for spring to come. There were trees of beautiful colors everywhere.
There was one thing we girls, and Mama, didn’t like at all.
My brother had a big Billy Goat. One of the things he liked to do was knock down anything he could, and if our brother was not around my sister and me were afraid to go outside.
When Mama walked out on the front porch, the first thing she saw was the big Four o’Clock plant with pretty little red blooms laying on the ground.
She grabbed her broom and here the goat went.
As I was saying, here I am at my window.

The Last Word:
My sister and I would yell and Mama would come with her broom. The goat would see the broom and take off running.
– O.T.


honeyandflag.jpg (61206 bytes)The View From Here
By Katherine Veno

A setback is for growing...
Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, was said to call failure an education. When I force myself to sit back and remember that famous quote, it helps me overcome failures both large and small.
Trying to learn from my mistakes and failures, I have found that giving myself freedom to fail in life also gives me the opportunity to grow and succeed.
If I never take a risk on anything, I will be safe, miserable and most likely bored and boring. Because I have lived my entire life taking great leaps of faith, I really have had few days when I was restless and bored. I am my own best entertainer.
We cannot depend upon others to make our lives worthwhile, we have to do it ourselves. Others are not responsible, nor did they contribute anything to our own failures in life. Worrying about what people think of our behavior is a waste of time. It causes all sorts of trouble like rising blood pressure and stress, leading to lots of mistakes. Just let it go.
Failure often forces us to re-evaluate our priorities and what is most important to us. A setback in life makes us pay attention to detail. If I am an instant success at everything I try, I will be arrogant, lazy and complacent, not to mention, terrible company for others.
If my greatest fear is being alone, I will jump into friendships, relationships in spite of friends and family saying slow down. If you fear it, you will create it.
Learning to get over failure is not easy, but it is achievable and we should become better people for it, not bitter and frightened to take a chance and live.
In life, we are going to get our feelings hurt by other people. Some will leave scars and will affect how we think, act and relate for the rest of our lives.
Put-downs, critical comments, gossip and ridicule are all part of the sad rejection we feel. For some of us when we get hurt, all we want to do is hurt back.
The trick here is to remember you are lovable, capable, forgivable, acceptable, valuable, beautiful, worthy and wonderful. Go forward. Do not surround yourself with negative people. Do not waste your energy and love on somebody who is incapable of returning your love.
Love yourself. Remember you may try and not succeed, but you do not need approval from anyone but yourself.


EmilyLundy4-2.jpg (36194 bytes)Escapades of Emily
By Emily Gail Lundy

High school years pivotal...
Someone has said, “Your entire life is based on the time you spent in high school.”
Though high school does not determine your looks or appearance at, let’s say, 39, or your position in life, people you loved or ran with in high school can be forever with you, or forgotten completely.
As a grown-up, unless you live by your parents, you may find you have to settle your own battles, your own destiny, and mostly, your own experiences. Just never be too big to forget where you came from, who made you.
High school can prepare you for the failures and mistakes you will likely make, maybe suffer from, and those who mature know they have only self to blame.
During youth, it may seem punishment is too severe for minor things whereas some really bad stuff goes untouched or seen even as routine. Of course, it’s easier to chastise for the little things, i.e. dress code infractions, not as much flak, not as much retaliation. While bigger things like, bullying goes unaddressed.
An incident in my husband’s life surprised me. He said as he and a few siblings walked to and from elementary school on a country road, a one-day cousin by marriage would wait to beat someone up. Every day. One day the one-day cousin chose my husband’s pretty, older sister and hit her too hard, where he shouldn’t have. She ran home crying. Her dad took care of it somehow, and the bullying stopped.
Ranting about hair too long has taken up more teaching time than any other, while bullying has always been with us but only now being seriously addressed.
Mean students have always been around, not just since 1990. Today, not just boys, but girls too can turn a Granny’s face sallow with words that are atrocious, nasty and vulgar.
Taking a serious look at my own freshmen and sophomore years, I was bullied verbally. I was too skinny. My laugh was annoying. I was a “goody-two-shoes” and too naive for my own safety. I liked a boy, a senior hunk, and a senior girl liked him too. Neither of us had a chance with a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, but this older girl made my life a living hell at any break time, especially outside.
When this girl would see me and begin her barrage on my being, I learned to leave, find a place of safety or fun by my ownself and act as though that was what I wanted to do.
Few teachers can eliminate bullying. Some have skits or the right words, but backfire comes easily. The one being protected by a teacher can get harassed horribly outside school perimeters. Changing schools may help, but can also be impossible or be no better.
My one success at stopping cruelty came when a new student enrolled into one of my senior English classes. For all his previous life he had been deaf; then miraculous surgery had reversed his situation. He could HEAR. But few, including his parents, realized ALL he had missed those 17 years of silence, and my class was hard for him.
He sat at the front, repeatedly asked questions the other students didn’t need to ask. I saw how they made faces when this young man spoke, I heard their whispered remarks, I sensed the disdain.
One day I sent the young man on an errand to the office, down a long hallway. Risking a bad conclusion, I “took off” on my other class members, telling them how badly this new student wanted to catch up with his peers, make good grades, but he had missed much of life they hadn’t; he was at an impasse.
When the student returned with whatever I had wanted, my students were silent. Then in work time, two or three asked if this young man needed help and showed him how they were starting out. Another walked with him out of the room when the bell rang. I was never so proud of a group of young people.
Soon this new student was gone as other authorities realized he could not leap into the normal world without more preparation. He even made A’s in his new English class, and I congratulated him wishing I had known how to treat him without making his work look easier.
Some teachers can bully students themselves. Even in elementary school, I realized two different times, the same teacher chose a girl to pick-on, ridicule, or shame. I wasn’t old enough to explain this action but could now.
There’s a thin line between bullying and teasing. I have a theory that has proved true. Make fun of someone for a physical or even mental reason, and you will have this return to you as your own child or someone you love dearly.
My only advice for bullying that is mental is for the one signaled out to smile, act as though it’s OK if possible, and seek someone to like you as you are no matter how long it takes. They are somewhere. If you have to eat by yourself, read, and act as if you prefer to eat alone. One day you will be out of this situation and call your own shots I hope.
If bullying is physical, painful, humiliating and on Facebook or pieced together falsely into a picture, search out the culprits, and save the worst punishment for them like permanent expulsion. One more tidbit: students not happy at school should have a warm, loving environment at home.


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