Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Family #cats – In my dreams I soar by Susanne Swanson

Welcome to the third post from the archives of Susanne Swanson who shares something short and sweet this week….

In my dreams I soar  by Susanne Swanson

This is Benji and I am not what you call a big cat. From the beginning they called me the runt of the litter. (No thank you for that.) Sue even still doubts my birthday. Much too small to be that old she said to the vet who readily agreed.

But when I am asleep I show them all wrong. In my dreams I soar!

©Susanne Swanson

About Susanne

Hello! This is Susanne. After years of working in accounting and technology where rules are clear and numbers add up, I decided to explore the other side where roads are meant to be traveled, memories unfurl slowly and cats have been known to talk.

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In my blog you will meet my two favorite felines, Tiger and Benji, and see pictures and stories from my travels, especially in the Pacific Northwest where I live. Add in my garden, some rain (lots of rain it turns out), a few sunsets and reflections on life, and you have an idea of where we are headed. I hope you come along for the ride.

Connect to Susanne




Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – The Easter Bunny Came After All by Patty Fletcher

Being away from family and friends is hard when there are holidays and for Patty Fletcher, undergoing her training with her seeing eye dog Campbell, Easter was a challenge despite the kindness of those in the residential centre.

The Easter Bunny Came After All by Patty Fletcher

I have been asked over the years what my favorite Easter memory is. While I have many, and most of them are centered round my daughter and her growing up years the one I write of today happened while I was at The Seeing Eye training for my first dog guide.

Now let me tell you spending a holiday away from home is hard for me and that year was no exception. I was missing my grandchildren, my pets, and my then Fiancé, Donnie. We had no trips scheduled. It was of course Easter Sunday morning and the instructors were busy taking people to church, running errands and getting ready for a great Easter lunch.

I was in my room and was simply so home sick I could do nothing but lie curled in my bed and cry.

As I lie there feeling miserable and trying to think of something I could do to help myself feel better, I heard a soft knocking at my door. Not wishing to have anyone see me crying like a child away from home for the first time. I tried to ignore the one knocking in hopes they would simply think me out or asleep. That, however was not to be. Instead of going away whoever was knocking grew more persistent adding voice to their knock. I heard my instructor Drew’s voice from the other side of the door.

“Hey, I know you’re in there. Open up in the name of The Seeing Eye.”

I had to laugh despite myself. Throwing off the covers I’d been wrapped in I went to the door, trying to rub away the tears as I did so.

When I opened the door, Drew seemed to hop in to the room.

“OK Young Lady! Enough lying about like you’ve nothing to do! I have errands to run, and you need an extra trip to make sure you know all you need to know before I send you home with this big dog.”

I started to protest, we didn’t normally do trips on Sundays. but that would’ve only been a half truth. Drew and I had done several Sunday trips for just the reason he’d given. So, rather than argue with him, and risk a twenty-minute lecture while trapped in the van, I put on my shoes, washed my face, and harnessed up my pup.

Soon we were riding down the road with the windows open and music blasting, and I had to admit I felt better.

As it turned out Drew had some errands to run for students at the school, one of them being his own. Devin, the other first timer in our little group, was going to play a trick on Sue another instructor.

The two of them had been going back and forth playing tricks on each other all through class.

I knew some of the details but had decided to refrain from helping.

Once in the store my home sickness returned. As we walked through the aisles picking up the items on Drew’s list. I could literally smell the chocolate bunnies as we passed them. Something must’ve shown on my face because Drew asked me.

“What’s the sad face about? I thought we left that on the side of the road.”

I sighed.

“Sounds stupid I know, but I always get an Easter bunny and I didn’t this year. I thought for sure Donnie would’ve sent me one, but he didn’t even call today.”

“AWW Well, maybe the mail is just behind. Who knows? A package might come tomorrow.”
He began to talk to me about other things, but my sadness remained.

When we stopped by the flowers later in another store on our route, so he could pick out gifts for his wife Peggy, and his mother I was envious of the obvious love he had for both. It showed in the way he went about choosing their flowers. Once all our errands were done we headed back to the school.

“Thanks Drew.” I said. “I appreciate your taking me with you today. I needed to get out.”

“It was my pleasure. I couldn’t have you moping about all day on Easter. That is no way to get the Easter Bunny to visit.”

“I don’t believe in the Easter Bunny anymore.” I said, giving another sigh.

“Don’t believe in the Easter Bunny?”

I had to laugh. The way he said it made it sound like I’d said Campbell didn’t exist.

“Nope. Not anymore.” I couldn’t help it.

The feelings of sadness just wouldn’t let go.

“Now listen here! Young Lady! The Easter Bunny most assuredly does exist. He is like Santa, in every single one of us. So, you just dry your eyes and get rid of that pouty face, else he is gonna hop right on by you.”

I smiled. “Um? Drew? The Easter Bunny would’ve already come if he were going to. He is supposed to come on Easter Eve. You know? Like Santa comes on Christmas Eve.”

Drew just laughed and for a few minutes neither of us spoke.

Later that day as we settled in to our places round the tables set up for lunch I found a miniature Easter basket sitting by my plate. The server standing there explained that John Keane had played Easter Bunny and had made the baskets. I cannot tell you how that warmed my heart. Lots of people had spoken of Mr. Keane as being a man who was strict. Some even used the word militant, and while he could be that way at times I’d found him to be kind and caring. This act of kindness only strengthened my belief.

When Drew came round to say happy Easter to all of his students, and to let us know he was leaving for the day I said, “Look, baskets!”

He reached out and pulled a strand of my hair.

“See, the Easter Bunny.”

“No, Mr. Keane.” I said, while eating jelly beans.

“Hey! Save that candy for after lunch, you’re gonna spoil your appetite.”

He tried to move my basket away from me, but I held fast. “Leave! It! Gibbon!”
I said reproachfully, and he laughed again.

“So, you still don’t believe in the Easter Bunny huh?”

“Nope, but I do believe in kind people.”

“OK, good enough. Have a good day and behave yourself. The Easter Bunny might still be watching.” I sighed and began to work on the shrimp Cocktail the server had just placed in front of me.

“Classy appetizers.” I said round a mouth full of shrimp.
“Save room, there is steak too.”

“O! I don’t eat steak in public.”


“Because I do a crappy job of cutting meat.”

“How do you like your steak?”

“Medium rare, but…”

He was gone before I could say anymore, and when he returned he said,

“They’re cooking your steak and will bring it to you cut. You can’t not have some, it’ll be awesome, now have a good day, ok?”

I tried to give him my best smile, but despite all the happiness round me, and great things being done for me that darn sadness was still creeping round. He gave my hair one last tug wished us all a happy day and was gone. As soon as his presents was gone from the room my sadness deepened, but I worked hard not to show it.

Back in my room after lunch I closed the door, and after letting Campbell out of his harness and loving on him a bit, I went to my bed to lie down. There on my pillow was a miniature chocolate Easter Bunny. I sat down on my bed and cried. Not with sadness though, with joy. The Easter Bunny had come after all.


©Patty Fletcher 2018

About Patty Fletcher

Patty Lyne Fletcher in her own words (October 2017

I’m a 49-year-old single mother with a beautiful daughter, of whom I am very proud. I have a great son-in-law and five beautiful grandchildren. Three girls, and two boys. I hope to be able to write more about them later on.

I own and handle a Black Labrador from The Seeing Eye™ named Campbell Lee—a.k.a. Bubba Lee or King Campbell, to give just a couple of his nicknames.

I was born on November 9, 1967 in Kingsport, Tenn., where I also grew up.

I was born one and a half months premature. My blindness was caused by my being given too much oxygen in the incubator. I was partially sighted until 1991, at which time I lost my sight due to an infection after cataract surgery and high eye pressure. I used a cane for 31 years before making the change to a guide dog.

Read more about Patty Fletcher

Books by Patty Fletcher

One of the reviews for Bubba’s Tails

Wow! I loved reading this! What an amazing story about an incredible journey. This is about a journey from The Seeing Eye, Inc. in New Jersey to Kingsport Tennessee, but is also about the journey of a loving owner, and her special canine companion. I loved reading the story through King Campbell’s point of view, and how he is talking to the next litter of pups about to train as Seeing Eye Dogs. This is something the has always fascinated me and was the first time I was really allowed a look at some of what goes into training these special dogs. The book is made all the more exciting because the author and her dog Campbell went through this journey years ago. Such a creative way to share their story, and I can’t wait to read more of King Campbell’s Bubba Tails!

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

Patty has also contrituted to two anthologies

December Awethology Light

A Treasure Chest of Children’s Tales

Connect to Patty


Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives #Family – #Kidney Transplant – A Good Match by Miriam Hurdle

Welcome back to Miriam Hurdle with the third of her posts from the archives and this week a life-saving operation is needed for her brother-in-law.

Kidney Transplant – A Good Match by Miriam Hurdle



In the summer of 2008, my husband Lynton, my daughter Mercy, her boyfriend (now husband) Will, and I planned to attend my nephew’s wedding in Hong Kong. That was the year when China was hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics. The airfares going to Hong Kong from the U.S. were higher than usual because of the people traveled to Beijing through Hong Kong. After searching, I found a Bangkok tour from the U.S. via Hong Kong, and we could stay in Hong Kong at any length of time. It was a deal I couldn’t resist. I had never been to Bangkok, so this would be a bonus for our trip. All we had to do was adding five days to our travel.

I scheduled the tour and stopped by Hong Kong first. We arrived on June 25, 2008 and stayed with my sister Yolanda. Yolanda and her husband Patrick took us sightseeing for two days. Hong Kong decorated the city with the Summer Olympics theme.

After my nephew’s beautiful traditional Chinese wedding, we went on a five-day tour in Bangkok. When the tour was over, we came back to U.S. via Hong Kong. There was a two-hour’s layover.

While we were waiting at the Hong Kong airport, I called Yolanda. To my surprise, there was worrisome news. Yolanda said while we were in Bangkok, one day Patrick went to work on the train as usual. He got on the train but had a feeling he should get off the train in the next station, and he did. As soon as he got off, he felt dizzy and fainted. Upon arriving the Emergency Room and attended by a doctor, he was diagnosed with kidney failure.

My heart was heavy for the worrisome news. Yolanda said they had known about the possibility for quite some time. They were thankful that Patrick got off the train at the next station and was taken to the hospital close to home. Besides, had he fainted on the train, it could have taken longer for Patrick to receive the hospital care.

We came back to the U.S. and I kept close contact with Yolanda. After Patrick received the initial treatment, the doctor put Patrick on routine dialysis at the hospital as outpatient services. He adjusted to the new condition well.

Three years prior to Patrick’s incident, their family migrated to Canada. Patrick and the two children moved to Vancouver, B.C. while Yolanda continued her government job in Hong Kong. To get their Canadian citizenship, they had to live in Canada for three consecutive years. They moved to Canada for two reasons, one was for the two children to get a good college education, the other was for getting better health care services. During the previous three years, Patrick stayed in Vancouver with the two children and went back to Hong Kong four times a year to spend time with Yolanda.


During the months Patrick received the outpatient dialysis services, he could not go to Vancouver to see his children. He then learned to do the dialysis by himself at home. He only needed to do it every twelve hours. After many months of doing it by himself, he could visit his children in Vancouver. He monitored the timing of the dialysis, so he didn’t have to do it on the plane. Most of the time he stayed in Hong Kong to be close to the hospital.

After assessing the chances and distance between Hong Kong and Canada, as well as Hong Kong and China, he registered in the medical system in China to get a kidney donation. His blood type is O. He could only receive a kidney from a donor with blood type O, whereas people with any blood types could accept blood type O kidney. He had fewer chances to get a kidney of the same blood type. The hospital in China told him that the waiting time was from two to ten years.

The four basic blood types are A, B, AB and O. People with type O blood can give to others with any blood type but can accept only from the ones with type O.


Accepting that he had to wait for a long time to get a kidney donation. He quit his job to take care of himself. Yolanda was very supportive. During this time, their children stayed in Vancouver with the family friends to finish school, the daughter finishing high school and the son finishing college.

After six months waiting, Patrick received a phone call from China; let him know that there was a kidney donation for him, and that he had to go right away for the transplant. Yolanda could not go with him without advanced notice to get a leave from her government job. Patrick’s sister went with him, taking the night train to China. Next day, Yolanda took time off from work and joined Patrick. She stayed with him for the ten days while Patrick went through testing, transplant, and observation.

When matching organs from deceased donors to patients on the waiting list, many of the factors taken into consideration are the same for all organs. These usually include:

  • Blood type
  • Body size
  • Severity of patient’s medical condition
  • Distance between the donor’s hospital and the patient’s hospital
  • The patient’s waiting time
  • Whether the patient is available (for example, whether the patient can be contacted and has no current infection or other temporary reason that transplant cannot take place)
  • Depending on the organ, however, some factors become more important. For example, some organs can survive outside the body longer than others. So, the distance between the donor’s hospital and the potential recipient’s hospital must be taken into consideration.

Many kidneys can stay outside the body for 36-48 hours so many more candidates from a wider geographic area can be considered in the kidney matching and allocation process than is the case for hearts or lungs.

Apparently, the donor and the Patrick were a Good Match. Patrick’s body showed no sign of rejection of the new kidney. After the ten days, Patrick’s condition stabilized, they went back to Hong Kong to receive the ongoing medical care. He was making good progress slowly but surely. We thank God that it was a miracle for him to get a kidney donation within six months. It was a miracle it was a Good Match of the donor and receiver.

To fast forward the story to 2017, Patrick eventual went back to work part time, and then transitioned to full time. He is now working a combination of a part-time church pastor, and part time Headquarter staff for his church. God is merciful. His loving kindness is with us forever!

©Miriam Hurdle 2017

About Miriam Hurdle

Miriam Hurdle is a multi-genre writer. She writes poetry, flash fiction, and short stories. Her poems are included in Letters to Gaia, Whispers and Echoes Issue 2, Whispers and Echoes Issue 3, and Outcast and More Words.

Music has rooted in her life. Being a soloist as a teenager led her to taking voice lessons and to have ongoing singing engagements. She continues to sing soprano in choral groups. Lyrics have a major influence in the natural flow of her melodic writing. She writes memoir in the form of poetry.

Along with her brother, she took photos when the films were black and white. Photography is still her enjoyable hobby. Drawing and painting were fun activities as a child. Her favorite was to draw a Japanese girl with big eyes, long hair, small lips and chin. She resumed drawing and watercolor painting several years ago. In her poetry collection, photos and paintings are included to illustrate the poems.

She earned a Doctorate of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California.

About  Songs of Heartstrings

Human being has the willpower to travel through an exhausting journey, win a tough battle, and heal a deep wound. Strength from hope keeps us going until the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight and striving until the storm is over.

This poetic memoir comprises themes ranging from the suffering through an undesirable relationship, surviving an aggressive cancer, to the happiness in true love, the joy of parenthood, and gratefulness toward the Maker. Hurdle reveals the honest self-talk and reflects a heart filled with optimism, faith and trust. She illustrates the poems with her beautiful photos and paintings.

One of the recent reviews

This is a collection of poems, photographs, and drawings that tell stories from Ms. Hurdle’s life. They include sitting in nature, giving birth, death, illness, and loss. Faith and being a survivor are strong themes throughout “Songs of Heartstring.” My favorite part was when the poetry connected to nature, but all the poems were heartfelt and lyrical. The tribute to the author’s parents was touching, along with the loss of a friend. The glimpse into dealing with cancer was inspiring. Although this was a quick read, it’s full of depth and can be enjoyed more than once. This is a book that poetry lovers will enjoy.

Read the reviews and buy the collection:

And on Amazon UK:

Read reviews and follow Miriam on Goodreads:

Connect to Miriam

Amazon Author Page:
Website and blog:

Thank you very much for dropping in today and I know that Miriam would love your feedback. Thanks Sally.


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Weekly Round Up – Easter Parade Invite, Bloggers Bash Voting, And all the fun of the fair.

Welcome to the round up of posts on Smorgasbord this week of posts that you might have missed.

One thing that you probably have not missed, since Easter Eggs have been in the stores since January is that next weekend is the religious festival and also a time for families to get together and celebrate the extended holiday weekend.

As you know I do like to throw a party occasionally and this Easter I have decided to hold a traditional parade.. well two to be exact as they will be posted on Saturday and Monday.  To be in the parade you need to send me a photo… several already have so I only have a handful of places left on the floats...All the details are in the post and it is easy to enter…..

The time for the Blogger’s Bash in June has come around very quickly and as part of the event is the annual blog awards. There are some amazing bloggers included in the categories as there are every year. Very honoured to have been nominated along with so many from our community. Now it is your opportunity to vote for your favourites.

As always I am very grateful for your support and delighted to hear from you every week. Also my thanks to Paul Andruss and Carol Taylor this week for their input which is appreciated…

And here are the posts from the week….

With Easter next week I thought that you would enjoy this five part short story over the two weekends from Paul Andruss, first published in January 2018… Set in Ireland in the 1930s it follows the life of a young man with a mysterious past who lives in The House by the Sea.

Part One.

Part Two

Carol Taylor and her sous chef, granddaughter Lily give us two recipes for a cake and biscuits for Easter…

Sally’s Personal Stuff

This week’s One Hit Wonder is the Halloween favourite.. ‘Monster Mash’.

This week a look at Revenge…in the R’s of Life…. and it is never really sweet…

Colleen Chesebro is on hiatus as she house hunts but she asked that we continued to share our poetry.. Here is my weekly contribution… and etheree  ‘Age Defying’

This week’s prompt for the Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction was ‘Beggars Can’t Be Choosers’


Two parts this weekend in the updated version of Size Matters… measurements, motivations, portion sizes and good fats.


This week L.T. Garvin shares her memories of her best friend in Junior High School and their aspirations to enter the talent contest with the classic Proud Mary by Ike and Tina Turner….keep on rolling and enjoy.

Welcome to the third post from the archives of Donna W. Hill and this week Donna shares the workings of a canal and the period of transition between water levels as an analogy for the times in our life when we are in limbo between events. In this case the treatment for her guide dog’s chronic disease.

The last in the present series from the archives of Norah Colvin which is actually reflections on learning by her daughter Bec, and written when she was 26 in 2013

Susanne Swanson takes us on their camping trip to Mora and Rialto Beach Olympic National Park in Washington State.

Special Feature

Author Stevie Turner asked 18 authors questions about significant life events that would inform and inspire… and over the week or so I will be featuring the contributors. The anthology’s proceeds are being donated to Cancer Research, and at 99p/99c it is very good value.

You can buy the anthology for only 99c:

And on Amazon UK for 99p:


New book on the shelves.

Author update

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #family Mora and Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park by Susanne Swanson

Here is the second post from the archives of Susanne Swanson and this week she shares their trip to the Olympic National Park in Washington State and the beaches with amazing roots and tree remains.

Mora and Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park spreads over the Olympic Peninsula in the northwest corner of Washington State, almost a million acres of protected wilderness, with mountains, forests and the wildest coastline in the contiguous United States. A designated World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve it attracts visitors from around the world. It also attracts us locals and we visited again this summer, this time camping in a remote section of the Park at beautiful Mora.

Mora Campground

Located next to the Quillayute River, and a mile from Rialto Beach, Mora lies deep in old growth forest, dripping green and gorgeous and that’s where we parked our trailer the first two nights. Mora doesn’t take reservations but we got there early in the week and easily found a spot. You may be surprised to hear it cost us a measly $10 a night to camp. Yes, true. Already a bargain at $20 a night, it’s only $10 for those with a Senior National Parks Pass. Money well spent, I think.

Quillayute River

The Quillayute River is only four miles long, formed by the confluence of the Sol Duc and the Bogachiel Rivers, before it flows into the Pacific Ocean. We stopped by the river on our way to Rialto Beach and I felt transported to an earlier time, almost expecting to see Native Americans in traditional garb, fishing, and weaving baskets from cedar bark. In fact the Quileute Indian Reservation is home to the Quileute tribe who’ve lived in this area for thousands of years. The village of La Push is its largest community and sits at the mouth of river, just south of Rialto Beach.

We visited instead with a family from France, who had stopped to take pictures of the eagles.

They also pointed out this resting seal to us, a real treat!

Rialto Beach

We discovered Rialto Beach on our trip to the park last year, but I was impressed all over again with its rugged beauty, offshore sea stacks, and the size of the giant drift logs and standing ghost trees on the beach.

I asked Bob to pose in front of one of the logs for scale and he obliged.

Then while he fished in the surf (catching only seaweed) I walked a mile up the beach to get a closer look at some sea stacks.

On my walk I saw what looked like a giant tarantula but was another tree stump, not completely bleached of color yet.

Though it was cool and overcast, it was a refreshing change from the dry heat we’ve had in the Seattle area most of the summer. We did find blue skies on our visit to La Push and First Beach the next day and on our hike to Third Beach; more to come on that in a future post.

©Susanne Swanson

About Susanne

Hello! This is Susanne. After years of working in accounting and technology where rules are clear and numbers add up, I decided to explore the other side where roads are meant to be traveled, memories unfurl slowly and cats have been known to talk.

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In my blog you will meet my two favorite felines, Tiger and Benji, and see pictures and stories from my travels, especially in the Pacific Northwest where I live. Add in my garden, some rain (lots of rain it turns out), a few sunsets and reflections on life, and you have an idea of where we are headed. I hope you come along for the ride.

Connect to Susanne


My thanks to Susanne for sharing the family vacation and I know that she would love your feedback.. thanks Sally.

Thank you for dropping in today and look out for the new series of Posts from Your Archives coming after Easter….another chance to showcase your blog and books.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Family – Reflections on Learning by Norah Colvin

Today is the last in the present series from the archives of Norah Colvin which is actually reflections on learning by her daughter Bec, and written when she was 26 in 2013… so I am sure that her PhD in Environmental Management is being put to good use. Bec shares her early memories of being home schooled until enrolling in school in grade 4.

Reflections on Learning

In a previous post To school or not to school I explored some issues I was grappling with as my daughter reached school age. I stated then that in future posts I would explore the effects of decisions I made upon my children’s (and my) education.

My daughter, Bec, now 25 and working towards a PhD in Environmental Management at UQ, has beaten me to the post by writing the following reflections on her schooling experiences. Who better to explore the effects upon her education than she herself?

Bec’s reflections on learning

When I was a wee girl I felt I had a very prolonged ‘childhood’. Not that I became a (painful) teenager later than others, or even an adult later; but more that the early years went for longer for me than they did for others. While other children I knew were in school, wearing uniforms and filling in worksheets, I was on my way into the Brisbane library with my mother, excited about the new books I would get to read. (I always anticipated the craft activities which were on offer, and specifically recall excellent activities related to owls.)

I also remember that when most other children were in school, I got to play with clay at home, and used the clay to create ‘exhibits’ for a zoo about my favourite animal. It was a great motivation to find out as much as I could about the animal, and I immersed myself in it. I started with rabbits (which I still love though have a real ethical struggle with given they’re such a disastrous environmental pest here in Australia) and then moved onto the Sulphur Crested Cockatoo.

Another memory, from my very long childhood, was that when most other children were in school, I set up at home ‘The Rainforest Club’, where I made a desk, a rainforest-related library, and a membership program. What was the point of the club? Who knows – but the evidence is still present in a number of Norah’s books which include markings on the inner cover to the effect of ‘This belongs to the library of the Rainforest Club’.

I remember frequent trips to the Sciencentre when it was in its old digs on the other side of the river, and a day starting with picking strawberries at a local farm, then bringing them home to mix into home-made strawberry ice cream. I also remember being very proud of myself when I got to cartwheel in a parade at the ‘Out of the Box’ celebration at Southbank.

Then there was the day when an intimidatingly large cane toad launched toward me when I was sitting at the front of a group of children watching an engaging talk about animals (unlike the bunny rabbit, I am not quite so much torn between heart and mind about this invasive species, although increasingly it seems that the story of the cane toad in Australia reflects the story of post-1788 colonisation in Australia). A less traumatic animal experience was going on the ‘Batty Cruise’ down the Brisbane River as the macro bat colonies were stirring shortly after sunset. It was absolutely incredible – there were thousands of bats flying overhead – and an expert on board had a baby bat AND a baby echidna.

I also know Norah still has the story I wrote which explained all of the mysteries of neuroscience; “How the Brain Works”. Obviously, it’s a little man who lives in my brain, working efficiently with a series of filing cabinets.

What this little man didn’t work out at the time though – and only really worked through the files to figure out years later – was that despite not being at the time in School with a capital S, I was in school during every moment of the day and night during those early years. I LOVED visiting the library and the museum and the Sciencentre. I LOVED reading books, researching about animals, writing stories and experiencing my world.

There’s no evidence in my memories that I was ever actively Being Schooled – I remember playing, spending time with my mother, going on fun day trips, and being creative. All of this, as far as I knew, without a formal lesson plan presented to me in the morning, without worksheets to complete (though I did spend a lot of time writing for fun – can you imagine such a thing?), without testing which would give me a reductive and quantitative measure of my intellect, abilities, and ranking against other children.

I started School with a capital S in grade 4, which was very hard to begin with. The decisions which led to my enrolment in a School are absent from my memories of the time, but I think I remember that I wanted to be with other children. It makes me sad to think back on this, because I worry that as a child knowing nothing but my own life as the basis for all of my understandings about the world, that perhaps I didn’t appreciate Norah enough, and maybe I hurt her feelings when I wanted to be with other children.

When I started School, I have a vivid and poignant memory on the first or second day being given a worksheet with no idea about how to complete it, as it was such a foreign concept. I felt out of my depth and incapable of fitting in, and I was upset. It took a little while to make friends (which resulted in a number of lonely lunch breaks), but once I did I was happy. I enjoyed most of the school work, and as far as I am aware my schooling experience from that point on was no more extraordinary than that of any other child at a state School. I missed being with Norah during the day but I was lucky that she was involved as a parent helper in my class, and then had a teaching position at my School.

So there is no dramatic end to the story – I was home educated and then I went to a School. I find this difficult to explain, but as a child, there is no other life that I knew. So it didn’t feel like my home education years were cut short by going to School, nor did it feel like I was starting School late (though I was aware that I was a bit different in terms of my schooling). Now as an adult and with hindsight, I am very thankful for the gift of home education that Norah gave me. (I am also proud to know that I was a bit different in terms of my schooling.)

I would like to offer some evidence of the impact that being home educated has had on my life, but I am not sure how to do this, after all, I’m the experiment and there’s no control for comparison. I can, however, say that I loved my childhood and I still have a very strong and driving love of learning.

Click on the link to see some photos from Bec’s scrapbook photos.

These early photos portray activities that continue to interest Bec to this day: a love of animals and nature, an enjoyment in cooking and sewing, creative crafts, mathematics and writing.

©Bec and Norah Colvin

About Norah Colvin

I am an experienced and passionate educator. I teach. I write. I create.

I have spent almost all my life thinking and learning about thinking and learning.

I have been involved in many educational roles, both in and out of formal schooling situations, always combining my love of teaching and writing by creating original materials to support children’s learning.

Now as I step away from the classroom again, I embark upon my latest iteration: sharing my thoughts about education by challenging what exists while asking what could be; and inviting early childhood educators to support children’s learning through use of my original teaching materials which are now available on my website

Connect to Norah via her websites


And social media

Twitter 2:

My thanks to Norah for sharing the posts from her archives and I know she would love your feedback.. thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Family – Symbolism of the Locks on the Erie Canal & an Author’s Dog Fighting IBD

Welcome to the third post from the archives of Donna W. Hill and this week Donna shares the workings of a canal and the period of transition between water levels as an analogy for the times in our life when we are in limbo between events. In this case the treatment for her guide dog’s chronic disease.

 Symbolism of the Locks on the Erie Canal & an Author’s Dog Fighting IBD

Verona Beach Light, one of 3 working lighthouses on NY's Oneida Lake: photo by Rich Hill

Do you take comfort in certain man-made structures? Two of my top three – lighthouses and covered bridges – have virtually universal appeal. Lighthouses are beacons of hope, turning unforeseen disasters into visible rock formations, skirted with a flick of the helmsman’s wrist. Covered bridges, with their rustic beauty, promise shelter from the storms and safe passage over the rapids for the weary traveler. But, locks? What’s up with that?

covered bridge at luthers mill west of towanda, PA in fall: photo by rich hill

Canals: an Overview

Lock 24 on the Erie Canal in Baldwinsville, NY, mid September: photo by Rich Hill

Ever since first grade when Mrs. Myers told us about the Erie Canal, I have been fascinated. So, what’s so special about man-made waterways? After all, Nature does waterways with a flair for beauty and detail that eludes mere mortals. But, if you look more closely, the reasons behind these structures and how they work might just capture your imagination, as they have mine.

Streams and rivers are wonderful ways to transport people and their belongings … that is, if you don’t mind carrying your boat and supplies every time you encounter rapids, waterfalls, marshes and dry land. In the case of the Panama Canal, oceans work, but who wants to travel all the way around South America? If you want to take advantage of shipping via water, which is still the cheapest option, Nature’s best just doesn’t quite cut it. Canals provide an efficient remedy.

The Erie Canal opened in 1825, and has undergone many expansions and enlargements since. The concept, however, has remained the same. Instead of trying to navigate moving water that twists and turns and gradually and often not so gradually descends or ascends, canals are straight and level.

Moving to higher or lower elevations is accomplished by raising or lowering the level of a section of the canal until it reaches the level of the next leg of the journey. This is not quite as simple as filling and draining a bathtub. From the Hudson River to Rome, New York represented a change in elevation of 420 ft. The canal then descended 363 ft. and rose again to 565.5 ft. at Lake Erie. This was accomplished with a series of engineering masterpieces called locks.

Locks: What they are & How They Work

A lock is a two-part gate across the water, a temporary dam that can be removed and put in place as the situation requires. Leonardo da Vinci’s invention of the miter lock is still widely used today. Closed, its two halves with their 45 degree angles form a ‘V with the point facing into the current. From a little shack, the lock operator controls the locks and the valves that allow water to flow in and out. Rack and pinyon gears, nowadays powered by electric motors, open and close the locks.

The thing about using locks is that you stop traveling via your own power when you enter them. In fact, when “locking through,” your boat gets tied up with bow and stern close to the side walls. In short, you give up control and abide by the rules of the locks. Revving your engines and blowing your horn won’t help you get there any quicker. Your progress depends on someone else and something else.

Symbolism of Locks in This Writer’s Life

There have been many times when I have felt like I have entered a lock; on a gurney headed for surgery, after sending out college applications or job resumes, witnessing a loved one dealing with medical issues or the final transition from flesh to whatever lies beyond, there’s a point when the best I can do is no longer the major factor influencing the ultimate outcome.

That’s when I say that I’m in the locks.

The actions of other people matter very much to all of our lives, and we are all more interdependent than we often care to acknowledge. So, to some extent we’re always in the locks. But, some situations make this crystal clear.

Guide Dogs: the Transition

Donna & her guide dog Hunter walk along path in Redwoods. There's a glowing mist: Photo by Rich Hill.

The transition from one guide dog to another, which I have already experienced three times, is definitely a lock experience. The illness of the dearest of friends, the unrelenting need for the independence that friend provides and the life interlude that is the training process with a new helper combine to create major life alterations. I’ve been blessed to have had an overwhelming amount of grace in the past, which enabled me to care for my canine friends in their final days without losing track of how special the experience is.

Our sweet Hunter is 11.5 years old, and his age alone is enough to remind me that our time together is growing short. Added to that, he has been ill this fall, and has lost a scary amount of weight and muscle mass. So far, we’ve spent over $5,000 on veterinary specialists, tests including ultrasound, endoscopy and biopsies and a host of medications and specialty foods.

Canine IBD

Hunter has been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), not to be confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. IBD is an autoimmune disorder, the causes of which are not yet clearly understood. The type Hunter has, Canine Lymphocytic-Plasmacytic Gastroenteritis, occurs when lymph and plasma cells make their way into the lining of the stomach and small intestine. The resulting inflammation makes it difficult for nutrients to be absorbed – hence, the weight loss.

It isn’t fatal, if it is managed. So far, however, he has dropped from 67 to 55lbs. He still enjoys playing a bit with his ball, romping in the snow and going for rides in the car. Eating, however, is problematic. This is a Labrador retriever, so that’s about as abnormal as it gets. Appetite stimulants and hand-feeding are helping, but progress, if there is to be any, is proving to be painfully slow.

IBD is a chronic disease; i.e. it’s not curable. It’s possible that he will recover or at least reach a new normal that will allow him to regain some measure of strength and health. It is also possible that despite our efforts and those of the caring veterinary professionals who have been working with him, that we’ve missed something. Only time will tell.

The View Beyond the Bow

Unlike the locks we love on the Erie Canal, we don’t understand this life transition enough to be certain which way we are headed. We’re securely tied to the canal, waiting for word from the lock operator about how to proceed. Is the water rising or falling? Will the next phase of the journey be open waters or yet another lock? Whatever the final outcome, we will be diligent and listen for the lock operator’s promptings.

Resources: Canals & Locks

For all resources on the Erie Canal and if you have a dog that is suffering from IBD please follow the link to Donna’s original post:

Resources: Canals & Locks:The Erie Canal: Making it Work

Resources: Inflammatory Bowel Disease in Dogs : Inflammatory Bowel Disease Due to Lymphocytes and Plasma in Dogs – PetMD

©Donna W. Hill

About The Heart of Applebutter Hill

Imagine you’re 14 and in a strange country with your camera, your best friend, her guitar and her dog. You uncover a secret and are instantly in danger. Join Baggy, Abigail and Curly Connor as they explore Elfin Pond, sneak around Bar Gundoom Castle and row across an underground lake. The powerful Heartstone of Arden-Goth is hidden nearby, and corporate giants unleash a spy to seize it. Compelled to unmask the spy and find the Heartstone, they can’t trust anyone.

As summer heats up, their troubled friend Christopher is viciously bullied and an armed stranger terrorizes Abigail and Baggy. The friends disagree about the spy’s identity, but are convinced it’s a teacher. When a desperate Christopher shows up one night with a terrified cat, the truth is revealed. Soon, police are involved.

One of the over 50 reviews for the book

This is a book about a blind girl without being a book about a blind girl….which is exactly the point. The main character, Abby, doesn’t trumpet her disability around the world as if it were her defining characteristic. She doesn’t have a sense of entitlement. The reader is never tempted to pity her, even for a moment. She is a driven, bright, gregarious yet measured girl who just happens to be blind.

Through her experiences we are exposed to a world that depends on the other senses, we find new ways to connect to the world around us. Mrs. Hill paints Abby’s thrill ride with her companion dog (Curly Connor) and best friend (Baggy Brichaz) in such a manner that the reader leaves the book better equipped to understand visual impairments without hitting them over the head with it. It took me a while to realize this because at first I was just writing this review on the merits of good vs. bad Young Adult fiction (and it is good, trust me). The feather in the cap of this book is that it stands as a great story that actually teaches you something, leaves you pondering your own disabilities vs. those of others.

I am a middle school reading teacher and I review and teach a lot of YA fiction. What separates the wheat from the chaff for me is well-developed characters that show humanness and overcome in spite of failures. You get the feeling that each of the characters in this book could very well survive on their own but the adventure is exponentially heightened because of the relationships they garner with each other. Mrs. Hill does a brilliant job of showing weaknesses, strengths and diversity as just a starting point to the basics of character interaction. By the end of this book, I felt like Abby, Baggy and Curly were my next-door neighbors and I still find myself looking out my window, waiting for the Cloud Scooper to swing by….

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Read more reviews and follow Donna on Goodreads:

About Donna Hill

Donna W. Hill is a writer, speaker, animal lover and avid knitter from Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains. Her first novel, The Heart of Applebutter Hill, is an adventure-mystery with excursions into fantasy for general audiences. Professionals in the fields of education and the arts have endorsed it as a diversity and anti-bullying resource for junior high through college.

A songwriter with three albums, Hill provided educational and motivational programs in the Greater Philadelphia area for fifteen years before moving to the mountains. Her essay, “Satori Green” appears in Richard Singer’s Now, Embracing the Present Moment (2010, O-Books), and her cancer-survivor story is in Dawn Colclasure’s On the Wings of Pink Angels (2012).

From 2009 through 2013, Hill was an online journalist for numerous publications, covering topics ranging from nature, health care and accessibility to music, knitting and chocolate. She is an experienced talk show guest and guest blogger and presents workshops about writing and her novel for school, university, community and business groups.

Connect to Donna.

Amazon author page:

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Family – Melanie and Me by L. T. Garvin

Welcome to the fourth of the posts from the archives of L. T. Garvin and this week she shares her memories of her best friend in Junior High School and their aspirations to enter the talent contest with the classic Proud Mary by Ike and Tina Turner….keep on rolling and enjoy.

Melanie and Me by L. T. Garvin

I think I liked Melanie because her hair had a slight bit of curl which I might have envied although this was the era of slick, stick-straight, part-down-the-center, the-longer-the-better 1970s hair. Melanie showed up in the middle of Beowulf one day in English class. No, she wasn’t monster hunting, she brought me from the midst of the tale wondering about feasts, Danes, and funeral pyres.

“I like that skirt. Come to my house later. My room is so keen,” she said.

It was the 1970s, but Melanie was the first free spirit I had ever met, wearing small flowers interwoven into her hair. Her parents were bonafide hippies, younger and cooler than mine. Her world was filled with colors of the 70s, avocado green, harvest gold, orange and purple, beaded curtains and rugs shaped like feet. Melanie had a brown guitar that she had learned to play from her dad. He used to laugh and say, “I’ll be your manager someday.”

The 1973 Jr. High Talent Show competition advertisement captured vibrant Melanie’s attention on an ordinary Friday afternoon. She found me at the bike rack, unchaining my bike, getting ready to go home after school.

“Hey you, look at this!” she said.

She shoved the flyer at me. Melanie might have been Stevie Nicks if the stars had been aligned properly, you know the timing and all that. I could see that she loved the spotlight.

“So we can do something, right? I’ll play the guitar,” she said.

“Um, I don’t play anything,” I replied.

“It’s fine, you can sing,” said Melanie.

“What songs do you know besides Proud Mary?” I asked.

“Well I know that one, and…well, we’ll see,” she said.

Proud Mary. This was back when Ike and Tina Turner had the Revue. Melanie apparently liked the idea of floating away on a river, so she got out her guitar, and I hauled out every apprehensive nerve in my body then we met with her dad, the Music Man. She strummed. He interjected. “Timing a little off…better transition there….no, that’s a B minor for sure.” Then the focus went to me. “Alright, we’re ready for you to sing,” he said.

After learning what an intro was, I tried to channel my inner Tina. “Left a good job in the city….” and started out strong. Melanie strumming. Manager Dad humming. I was like a Book Nerd masquerading as a blonde Cher. “Workin’ for the man…” then all of a sudden I actually heard myself singing. And I sounded WEIRD. So I stopped.

“What?” asked Melanie.

“Yeah?” asked Music Dad.

“I ummm…. does it sound…?”

“No, go on,” said her dad.

“Left a good job in the CitEEE, workin’ for the man every night and day….”

“Now what?” asked Melanie.

“Keep going!” said Music Dad.

“Uh, I think I might need to go home now. I just remembered something I needed to do,” I said.

“Ok then, let’s shoot for tomorrow,” said Melanie’s dad.

Next day we tried to pick it up at least to the point of where I could finally get rolling on the river, but somehow I could never even make it to cleaning those plates in Memphis or pumping any pane because every single time after that first stanza when my brain heard the voice coming from my mouth, the trauma was too much to go on.

“Oh come on!” Melanie would admonish me looking like she was born to do this in those flared bell bottoms.

“Je…SUS, just keep going,” her dad would say before he finally lost patience over us taking that gold medal in the junior high talent show.

I couldn’t quite figure out the problem. I guess I actually expected Tina’s strong vibes would spill out of my mouth just like on the radio. Then I had a vision of people actually looking at me. I wanted to ask Melanie if I could stand behind a screen or something, but her patience was running thin with me, so she picked up her guitar and learned to play Yesterday Once More, but without the vocals.

We soon got past her musical aspirations and on to riding bikes, giggling over boys and playing crazy long games of tennis.

Junior high was alive with possibilities, seething with young teens navigating the social order, and me with a friend who was way too cool. Then just like that, one day in the middle of The Count of Monte Cristo, Melanie vanished in that hippy-drifter sort of way. She was not at school. As I meticulously read of Dantes meting out his revenge, kids were saying that Melanie had checked out of school. She had mentioned casually one time that her family might move, but never really clarified it.

I went by her house on my bike after school. Everything was dark within, no cars, no lights, bare driveway. Nobody was there, day after day. I didn’t have a best friend for a long time after Melanie left, and for a while, Proud Mary rolled right out of my thoughts. Then, later on, I would hear: “If you go down to the river, bet you’re gonna find some people who live….” and I would think of Melanie and how she tried to bestow upon me self-confidence belted out in the form of a leggy Tina Turner. Then I would wonder just where Melanie went with that brown guitar and if she thinks of me when Proud Mary blasts the airwaves and Tina reaches out, first easy, then rough, like that crazy river of life that sometimes drowns us and it rolls onward.

©L.T. Garvin

About L.T. Garvin

L.T. Garvin is a huge fiction fan and literature lover. She enjoys writing fiction, short stories, and attempts at poetry. L.T. has a particular fondness for Southern literature possibly because they have such good food and bigger than life stories in the South.

She currently has three books available, Confessions of a 4th Grade Athlete, a humorous children’s book about a boy named Nathan and his exuberant experiences in school and sports. Another children’s book, Animals Galore explores unique animals and their antics. A novel, Dancing with the Sandman, is suitable for all age groups and takes readers on time travel journey back to the 1960s. L.T. Garvin maintains a WordPress site where she shares fiction, poetry, and humorous essays

Books by L.T. Garvin

About Dancing with the Sandman

The Sandman cometh dancing to the beat of rock ‘n’ roll, blasting the turmoil of the Sixties. And where are you? West Texas, of course. Billie Jo Dunstan confronts her past, traveling back to the 1960s through a decade of turbulence and swirling color memories, contemplating life growing up in rural Texas. Tragedy and comedy come alive, preserving the past and a portion of small town life that will survive beyond super highways and the ratcheting progress of time.
Garvin’s (And They Came, 2017, etc.) latest novel offers a reflection of one girl’s coming-of-age in small-town Texas in the 1960s. … Garvin is at her best when offering these cheeky nods to the past, never getting bogged down in nostalgia.
A winning narrator enlivens a charming tale of a town facing modernity.–Kirkus Reviews

One of the reviews for the book

The story starts and ends in west Texas as Billie Jo revisits the small town she grew up in, a town left behind years ago when progress, in the form of a new highway, raced ahead. It’s a place that holds memories so tangible they feel like ghosts rising out of the sand, and they create the substance of the story.

Garvin calls the book a fictional journey, but it reads like a memoir. If you were a kid in the 60’s, this book will feel something like a trip into childhood, a time before helicopter parents and iphones, a time when kids had to create their own fun while learning the painful lessons of life.

Though the book takes place in Texas, there is so much about Billie Jo’s experiences that felt familiar to me, a child of rural Connecticut. In a way, the qualities that make up a childhood – the way adults are perceived, the family quirks, sibling teasing, unexpected kindnesses and losses, how kids think and fill their leisure time – seemed universal. This is a thoroughly relatable book.

And told as a “look back at the ghosts of the past,” the book has a nostalgic aura that lingered beyond the last page, calling forth my own ghosts and eliciting memories that I’d forgotten. Dancing with the Sandman is a lovely, poignant, rich read for all ages, but especially for those who enjoy memoirs and those who were children in the 60’s.

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Also by L.T. Garvin

Read the reviews and buy the books:

And on Amazon UK:

Read other reviews and follow L.T. Garvin on Goodreads:

Connect to L.T. Garvin


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up- Glenn Miller, Roses, Mexico, New Books, Reviews and Guests.

Welcome to the round up of posts that you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

Some stand out moments from the week that I would like to make a special mention about.

The first was the nomination for the blog for the Versatile Blogger Award by Brigid Gallagher which I was very honoured to receive. I know that many bloggers are now award free. I quite understand, as when you are at full tilt, it is tough to take the time to respond to an award and also to draw up a list of willing nominees.

However… even after six years, I still get a kick out of awards and I have met so many wonderful bloggers through other people’s nominees, that it is well worth the effort. And also it is an opportunity to showcase newer bloggers who are still finding their feet or deserve to have some promotion.

Anyway.. this was my response with 7 more secrets about me…..and some nominees who are terrific bloggers.

The second highlight is the release of Understanding: An Anthology of True and Significant Life Events… Compiled and contributed to by Stevie Turner and 18 other authors including myself and quite a few of our blogging community.

The proceeds from this anthology will be going to Cancer Research and it is a very worthy cause.

Over the next week I will be posing a number of author profiles of those who have contributed and I hope that you will follow those authors and also support their work in this collection.

About the anthology

The following authors and bloggers kindly answered questions posed by Stevie Turner regarding significant life experiences they had undergone. These events include sexual abuse, a near death experience, alcoholism, being diagnosed with cancer, depression, losing weight, getting married, being a mother to many children, being the daughter of a narcissistic mother, and many more!

In this first post I share the authors who have contributed with a profile on Stevie Turner, D.G. Kaye and in the coming two weeks will feature the other authors in separate posts.

All proceeds will be donated to Cancer Research:

You can buy the anthology for only 99c:

And on Amazon UK for 99p:

Now on with the other posts this week.

This week William Price King shares the life and music of the legendary Glenn Miller whose music is still loved over 70 years since his untimely death during the Second World War.

In his final gardening post, Paul Andruss shares the beauty and background to the rose.

In the second part of her posts on Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, D.G. Kaye shares the fundamentals that you need to know about renting, shopping, tipping, exchanging your cash, dining and how to drink safe water.

This week my guest is author Ann Chiappetta who shares where she would love to live in the world, the animal she would most like to talk to and her favourite season.

My review for Small Town Kid by Frank Prem – recommended

This week Carol Taylor and I join forces to share the foods that contain good amounts of Vitamin B3 and the recipes that the whole family will enjoy.

A lovely guest post from Joy Lennick in tribute to her mother…

Sally’s personal stuff

This week in the R’s of Life,  I look at the true cost of retail therapy and the waste associated with our drive to own the latest and the most fashionable.  And also the mountains of food that goes uneaten in most of our countries when millions are starving.

This week I share the abundance of food that you can enjoy as you lose weight… starving the body is not an option, and cutting out food groups is counter productive.

Being the first week of the month… .Colleen Chesebro allowed us to pick our own words as prompts…My Etheree is entitled ‘April’


Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction – the Prompt this week is ‘Fire’

Donna W. Hill is a breast cancer survivor and in this week’s inspiring post she shares her motivation and also encounters with butterflies and knitting.

Blue butterfly on milkweed: photo by Rich Hill

This week Jen Moore, shares the delightful character who is her son, and the warm and embracing way that the family manages his dyslexia.

This week Norah Colvin shares all things berry.. which resulted in a lot of discussion about what is a berry and what is not, and how to get hold of our favourites…


A new contributor this week and the first post from the archives of Susanne Swanson who shares her return to her kindergarten school, celebrating its 100th anniversary.

New Book on the Shelves

Author Updates


Thank you very much for visiting this week and for all your support, it is always appreciated.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Family – Frank B. Cooper School Refrain by Susanne Swanson

Delighted to welcome Susanne Swanson to the Posts from Your Archives series, and her first post today shares her return to her kindergarten which was celebrating its 100th anniversary..(I don’t think Susanne was one of the first pupils!)

Frank B. Cooper School Refrain by Susanne Swanson

I’m not sure what I was looking for by returning. It was years and years ago when I attended Frank B. Cooper school, kindergarten through 6th grade. But it was the school’s 100th anniversary and the building, now the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, where artists live and work, would be open for celebration and tours.

But why go? Was I hoping to run into childhood friends? (Maybe.) Did I hope to trigger memories that were no doubt bound up in those indescribable hallway sounds and smells? Warm sandwiches left in lockers, new shoes shuffling on heavy floors, recess bells? Whatever the reason, I made the trek to the old school on Delridge Way, and was met by that overpass, still standing, though empty and lonely of children.

I entered through the front and was welcomed by young greeters. Had I ever been there before they asked? (Um, yes, maybe 50 years ago?) There were other alumni visiting they said, and encouraged me to look around. I could take a tour of the artists quarters too if I liked. I did a bit of both.

Almost reverently I walked through the building, tracing steps from long ago till I found the stairs I’d climbed many times before.

It was 4th grade and I was with my best friend Joyce, the one with perfectly blond hair (she was Scandinavian and her hair was almost white, and sleek and straight.) We were debating who was the best, Paul Revere and the Raiders (her choice) or the Monkees (mine), when Miss Warner interrupted and told us to stop acting like monkeys. How we laughed at her words though I felt my group had been impugned.

There was the auditorium/lunch room where we bought hot lunches for 35 cents from smiling ladies wearing soft shoes, dressed in white aprons and hair nets. I loved the hamburgers where much of the meat was stretched with oatmeal; and who can forget the ice cream sandwiches? Weren’t they 12 cents?

We ate in the same room that served us up assemblies and Disney movies after school and where I stood on the stage and spoke a part in the Christmas program.

I visited the gym and wondered how we’d played ‘red rover’ and ‘soak out’ in such a small space. (Did they still play the game where we got people ‘out’ with the sting of a red rubber ball? I doubt it.) Somehow we even had room to square dance to ‘pistol packin’ mama’, a song I’m pretty sure is no longer welcomed on school grounds.

And who could forget the naughty kids being sent to the Principal’s Office where they sometimes got the paddle for their foolery?

Not me. I was an ‘office girl’ behind the desk, answering the phones with ‘Cooper School student speaking.’ (I guess I was destined to be in an office.)

I wandered the hallways for an hour or so, taking pictures and looking for memories and stories to tell, perhaps hoping for an epiphany. Or perhaps waiting to meet someone from the old days. Neither happened. Or did it? Maybe the old friends were there under gray hair and lined smiling faces? And maybe the stories were found but are still waiting to be told? We shall see.

©Susanne Swanson

About Susanne

Hello! This is Susanne. After years of working in accounting and technology where rules are clear and numbers add up, I decided to explore the other side where roads are meant to be traveled, memories unfurl slowly and cats have been known to talk.

20180707_141950 (2)

In my blog you will meet my two favorite felines, Tiger and Benji, and see pictures and stories from my travels, especially in the Pacific Northwest where I live. Add in my garden, some rain (lots of rain it turns out), a few sunsets and reflections on life, and you have an idea of where we are headed. I hope you come along for the ride.

Connect to Susanne


It would be great if you could share your experiences of attending school reunions and Susanne would enjoy your feedback.. thanks Sally.