Since President Obama’s tribute to teachers in  his inaugural address,  I have been  composing my thoughts on this topic. Believe it or not, the blog wrote itself and  also will be continued in my next one. My return to Bishop gave me my moment on stage as a teacher, as I felt like a star, a small one I admit,  a small star in a small town. This recognition on Main Street  is the result of working in the high school for so many years. Now in the senior phase of my life, I reap the benefit of years spent in the work I always enjoyed, teaching.

I loved my job from the first day that I stepped into my classroom in St. Louis, Missouri in 1944. Since then I have taught grades three to twelve in five states: Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, California, and a half year in Taiwan. But only now that I have returned to Bishop meeting “students” in administrative positions in the bank, the stores, the gas stations and view the end product, do I fully realize what teaching is all about. So many of my middle-aged “students” say “Mrs. Franke, do you remember when…” or “do you remember what you said when…?” When asked these questions, I hold my breath for what did I say back in the 70’s?  Is it repeatable now? So far what I said back in the  dark ages has passed scrutiny. However, on my first arrivingl back in Bishop, my first stop was to a restaurant where Lou and I used to have lunch. The first person to greet me was a student, now a waitress. She hugged me while exclaiming in a loud voice: “Oh! Mrs. Franke, do you remember when I came into your office and told you I was pregnant? And then you said … ” Of course, all diners in the vicinity were listening intently to what I HAD said, me included, and I was the closest to a heart attack as anyone could possibly be.”You said, it’s not the end of the world!” and I regained consciousness and the diners continued with their lunch.  Scarcely a day passes that I do not meet a former “student” reaffirming that I picked the best profession in the world – teaching. My next blog will be on THE STUDENTS.

Forgive me for not replying to your comments., as I did not know the procedure. I think I know how now maybe.


Now that I have finished my rambling autobiography and have no TV, I spend my evenings reading. This is evident in the choice of topics of my last blogs: factories outsourced resulting in unemployment, thus a cut back on food for many of these families. Since I am on a roll in depressing myself at the bleak future facing the unemployed, I have been reading about overpopulation and what the consequences are to our quality of life. Visiting any big city, one experiences the long lines of cars, the traffic jams, the smog, all signs of a future that will only get worse. A possible solution is protecting our environment by reducing America’s wasteful consumption of natural resources. But people must get to work and this fact is a reality.

My evening reading sessions presented a more practical solution – population control, two children per family. The world’s population is almost 7 billion; China’s population is almost one and a half billion. One of every five people in the world lives in China. Chronic air and water pollution are great unsolvable problems. In an attempt to slow the unstoppable growth, the Chinese government passed the law that only one child be permitted per family, as the land in years to come will be unable to sustain uncontrolled growth. Then the powers of the Catholic Church came out with an edict against the Chinese government for the one child rule. Seems to me that those sitting in the Vatican should turn off their TV’s and read about what is going on in the world. What solution would they propose to this problem? I might add that Catholic Italy at present has the smallest average complete family size (1 1/3 children per couple) of any nation. Now I must get on with my reading.

Last fall the GOP campaigned  on the “creation of jobs”, a pie in the sky dream. In my last blog, I asked “What jobs and where?” The largest company in America, WalMart, practices the most ruthless method of business that has resulted not only in poorer quality of merchandise imported from China, but of holding suppliers hostage to its own agenda. The end result is closed factories and a collapsing job market. Where are our  blue collar citizens supposed to find work?It is reported that on any one evening a million Americans go to bed hungry. In America, the land of opportunity, many of our children go to bed hungry? My question to the members of Congress is who is minding the store? Put aside the bickering over small issues and do something for our living children.  Abortion Congress considers one of the biggest problems facing this country, or at least this was an issue that was given priority in one of its first sessions. Rather than dealing with fetuses in the abstract, my suggestion is perhaps give attention to those children already born and going to bed hungry.

In the early seventies, I accompanied my husband Lou shopping to the local department store, a rare event as his dress was basic: tans for work and alternating a few shirts and suits for dress up occasions. This event took place at my urging. His boxer shorts were paper thin and I was sure would not survive another wash cycle. All went according to plam, the shorts in correct size were easily located but on further examination Lou dis covered that his favorite Hanes brand was made in China. He carried the shorts to the main desk, asking to speak to the owner and then indignantly demanding why he was carrying products made in China. The owner explained that Hanes sold out to China and were no longer produced in the US.  Lou in disbelief replied “I will not buy anything not made in the US.” The owner replied, “Good luck!”

On leaving the store without the shorts, Lou said, “Mary, this is the beginning of the end for this country. Our workers cannot compete against slave labor. ” Here we are forty years later with deserted, empty factories and thousands unemployed, Lou’s prophetic words in the process of coming to pass. The President is being accused of not creating jobs. My question is jobs doing what and where? How many dishwashers and gardeners are needed in a community? It does seem that those in Washington yell “Fire” after the barn is burnt to the ground.

My blog is in my head but have difficulty communicating blog to computer. I have added resolution #2 to my New Year’s pledge: getting a computer manual from the library/bookstore, studying a chapter a day, and then will have no more difficulty blogging. If problems persist, I will search for an intelligent looking fourth grade student to help solve the problem. This is my new plan! The reason that blogging is important to me in my new life here in Bishop is that I do not want to lose my friends that I left along the way from Tainan back to Bishop. Now the long range plan of writing my biography is completed or perhaps I should say I just put a period to the end of my ramblings and quit. Originally I was writing a book, as Ray Bradbury gave me the courage and encouragement for this project. After several weeks this goal evolved into just writing My Memoir. Sad to admit the following  realistic result, as what I ended up with was sixty-four pages of My Ramblings. I lay the blame on my not fulfilling the original goal on the computer, but my birth certificate is also a contribuating factor: 86 1/2 years of age gives one a late start in such a project. More on this issue in the next blog!

My resolution for 2011 was to have one blog a week and maybe even two . Yesterday was my second blog for January, proving that this year I am going to  carry through on my resolutions. I had just managed the title, TODAY I FEEL AS THOUGH I AM 96, meaning ten years older than my birth certificate reads, when some mishap wiped away what I had written. Always expecting the worst when at the computer, I mistakenly thought the virus, which had plagued me for two days had snuck back into my computer. I wanted to take to my bed, bemoaning my incompetence. However, because I had a date with neighbor Martha, had to rise to the occasion of dinner and a movie. This morning the world seemed brighter, and I returned to my proper age of 86. I  discovered the computer’s problem without bothering my tutor Alden, giving myself the computer grade of C+ rather than F minus. Maybe there is still hope for me. Eons ago I reported in my blog that I was writing a book, my autobiography. After weeks of writing and rewriting pages of my life, in desperation I gave up the idea of a A BOOK  but instead would simplify to My Memoirs. Finally after completing the sixty-three page project, I had to admit what I have spent months agonizing over could only be called MY RAMBLINGS. A number of you, my faitful and loyal friends, requested a copy of my poor attempt at a book. I emailed copies but do not know if you received them but perhaps those who did, if any went through, would verify the mailing. More on My Ramblings in the next blog

My dear faithful and loyal friends, I do apologize for my disappearance from the blogging scene. My excuse is that I am 86, not much I can do about my age, but I lack comuter skills, and this I can and will do something about. My resolution for the year 2011 is to learn the basics that I lacked in writing an autobiography of sorts. The autobiography turned out to be an unpolished rambling account of my life. When I left for Taiwan in 2009, Ray Brabury suggested I write a book. The Taiwan plan did not turn out as expected so here I am back in Bishop in my lovely apartment, furnished completely with yard sales and thrift shops. My attempt in writing the book merited an A plus in effort but a C minus in performance. But another factor that entered into my failed attempt at a book is that there is more to life than sitting at a computer. Sounds like a good excuse, don’t you agree? But even lacking computer skills I can  handle a blog, so here I am back in the blogging scene.                                                                                                                                      And  I will answer COMMENTS, which I could not handle in my previous attempt at blogging. These are my New Year’s resolutions.