Category Archives: Harry’s Diary

To Dare Mighty Things

Just in case I don’t get around to the pile up of cars in my head here are a couple of them with a brief explanation.

Photo Above:

I am partial to intelligent kids books about History. I helped out at the Northstar Scholastic Book Sale last week and bought two books which I hope my grandsons will read. Stalin’s nose begins as an idealistic diary from a young boy who has been taught to revere Joseph Stalin. The picture book is a simple outline of the ebullient Teddy Roosevelt. I’ll ask my younger grandson if he remembers the character “Teddy” from when he watched Arsenic and Old Lace with us. That Teddy was digging his way through the Panama Canal.

Harriet

When I first heard about the biopic on Harriet Tubman I knew I’d want to see it. Its gotten a 92% audience approval on Rotten Tomatoes and a respectable plus 70% from critics. Claudia and I were mesmerized. I’m reminded how Snoop Dog dissed Twelve Years a Slave” (a fantastic movie) because he didn’t want to be reminded about that old stuff. I’m glad that old stuff is being rehashed. I grew up with the Little Rascals and Amos and Andy. Those who forget the past or never to bother to find out what it was…. are condemned… Continue reading

A bonehead’s after election analysis

My eight loyal readers might recall that after I blogged the then forbidden info that the School Board had agreed to sell New Central for $10 million dollars I was the first to admit I was a “bonehead.” I even voted to censure myself along with my board colleagues who were eager not to pass up the chance to embarrass me. Well, I’ve just discovered that I’ve been very boneheaded all summer and fall of my school board campaign.

Last night I got a wonderful call from the widow of a former school board colleague who I regularly irritated. She was surprised to see that I was on the ballot and wanted to let me know she supported me and wished me good luck. The only question in my mind was that I knew her address was just east of my 2nd District seat by a block. I mentioned this to her but couldn’t let this cartographic puzzle go.

I slept a little late this morning because at ten PM last night I headed out to retrieve my lawnsigns along all the busy roads that had fallen quiet for the night. It only took me till a little after midnight because I scrupulously avoided putting them in residential spots that would require my having kept much better track of them. I am a committee of one as you might remember. This is one of my hallmarks as a candidate. I don’t leave many homeowners with my unsightly post election lawnsigns stuck in their yards.

Well this morning I spent a little time looking through the Trib’s election coverage especially the precinct by precinct results. Sure enough there was Precinct 3 which I spent not a whit of time campaigning in. They didn’t get my mailing. I had no lawnsigns in their westernmost portion of Lakeside. I got creamed there…..but to be fair I got creamed in every precinct. I took from this the insight that I simply wasn’t going to win.

I was not outspent or out-campaigned. I would have let down my contributors had I sat on my duff so I was busy all through the campaign. I just don’t think the campaign was mine to win. The Trib’s editorial endorsement was not likely what killed me. It may have confirmed for its few readers their own doubts about me but I’m so well known that in 90% of voters minds they didn’t need any confirmation bias to vote for or against me.

While David Kirby may not be a very familiar name Name ID was not my problem. I’ve made my bed and most of those coming out to vote preferred to have me sleeping in a bed of snow. In East Duluth my support of Art Johnston did not go down well. I made a point of mentioning it in my letter to let people know I was proud to support him. Frankly, I think those who came to the polls were just tired of me. “Don’t do away mad, just go away,” would have been their mantra. They may take little comfort in my return Reader column at the end of the week because I explain how I plan to live to age 100.

I think the hardest obstacle for me was that this election was a repeat of the 2017 post Trump election. In that one a tidal wave of people looking for payback regarded anyone who didn’t have the DFL endorsement as suspect. Many of them probably had only a modest idea of what the local non-partisan candidates stood for including me. I just wasn’t on the list. And while that ferocious movement had softened a bit in this election it won’t dissipate any time soon. I simply was not on the DFL and Labor flyers that were sent out.

Loren Martel, who did significantly better than I in his 3rd District race, told me he was worried that my putting up Welty lawnsigns next to Alanna Oswald’s signs would cost Alanna votes. He told me of people who were angry at me for attacking Trump who would then vote against Alanna. Looking at today’s precinct by precinct results I see little evidence of that. However, I would guess that Alanna’s signs probably helped me. She won convincingly after all. The failure of her opponent, a former DFL chairman, to get the DFL endorsement was a much bigger deal. He got labor endorsements but his name was not on the DFL postcard.

I’m pleased with the outcome of the election in several respects. I like all the School Board winners. I feel freed from the last remnants of my fight against the Red Plan. I’m glad I gave my contributors a strong campaign even if I was a bonehead. At the bottom of this post is the map I made at the outset of Summer. At some point I drew a light blue outline on my district and left out precinct 3 which has a light pink border I should have followed. I folded the map and placed it in my office without this significant precinct and didn’t think about it again until I got that call last night wishing me well.I’m not a believer in God or omens but its hard for me not to think some sort of divine intervention diverted me from playing with a full deck.

I choose to take that as a sign that another four years on the School Board was not meant to be. When Claudia told me I was behind two to one with 25% of the vote in I knew it was curtains and stomach dropped for a spell. It only lasted a few minutes. But today it feels more like Armistice Day 11/11/1918. My School Board war is over.

Here’s my map with a faint purple circle around the neglected precinct 3 in the lower right-hand corner:

Happy Halloween as I limp to the finish line

It occurred to me today that one reason I’ve been resisting a last minute campaign schedule is because I worked my tail off at the beginning of the summer to get everything done early so that I would not have to do a mad dash at the end. Even the weather and kids are cooperating. I’ve had very little replacement of my lawnsigns. That’s partly because they didn’t go up until about three weeks ago. I waited so long because I dreaded the prospect of driving around to see if they had fallen. It helps that this time I’m running for a district seat or one fourth of Duluth. I don’t have to drive the entire length of our 26 mile city. The farthest any part of this district is from my centrally located home is about two miles.

Wishing to avoid the planter’s faschitis that afflicted my poor foot two years ago as I went door to door in every neighborhood city-wide, I raised enough in donations this summer to mail personal appeals to 7 of my District’s 8 precincts. I don’t have the money that either the DFL or Labor has to blanket mail the entire City but their school board endorsees only get their name and picture on a post card sharing space with all the other endorsees. A voter has to take the union’s word that the candidate is top notch. But only 30 percent of Duluth employees are represented by unions and, in my experience, only the actual labor officials much care about the union’s endorsement.

I still have forty lawnsigns that I could put up but I’ve been busy with Choir practice, good deeds and fixing up a little Halloween Display……and as always practicing French. In fact French was one of the things I sacrificed early in the summer only spending twenty to thirty minutes on it daily while working on campaign related chores. I’ve enjoyed the hour a day that I’ve lavished on it over the past few weeks.

I did have one campaign chore remaining and I spent my afternoon yesterday doing it belatedly. On Monday I was supposed to turn in my campaign finance papers ten days before the election. However, I came home that morning after discovering that our 12-year-old Camray had a non-functioning gas gauge. We have been talking about replacing the car for a couple years and even looked at some other cars last week. But that last irksome discovery pushed us over the edge and we went out and bought the car Claudia had been keen on. Claudia hates shopping and we bought it on the spot. That left me Tuesday to get the finance forms in and calculated. I’ll have to amend them as I forgot about the $160.00 I just put on my credit card to advertise on Facebook. Supposedly I’m only advertising in Duluth’s 2nd school district but Claudia is skeptical because she told me she has yet to see any of my ads. I’m not sure I’ve seen any of them either.

I may find time to do a little more campaigning if I survive all the Halloween chocolates I’m likely to consume. There will be one last weekend and Monday before Tuesday’s vote. But I might content myself, as I did today, with tidying up our patio for winter.

The Glory that is public ed. Reunion details – Part 4

I surprised myself and just cranked out a couple thousand words in Part 3. I didn’t in-any-way proofread or polish it. I might just do the same here about my last day in Mankato a little over a week ago. or I might not. I JUST DID IT….BUT I’M NOT GOING TO EDIT IT EITHER.

I drove to a new hotel on Saturday night at a little past midnight. Had I left for Duluth after our dinner I’d have missed a lot of catching up. I didn’t rush to sleep. I still had 1 and a half Otaknams to review to see what my classmates were saying fifty years ago. Otaks…and Old trick. Read the full word backwards.

I decided before I headed to the bluff country east of Mankato to drive along the Nicollet County Road I used to bicycle to look for Rose Breasted Grosbeaks and Indigo Buntings. It was just North of the Minnesota River opposite Mankato’s Blue Earth County. Along the way I discovered a waterfall I’d never heard of before smaller than the Minneopa Falls on the opposite bank. Before stepping far from the road to take a look I read a modest plaque that mentioned Ray Sponberg who had helped draw attention to the forgotten locale. He was the Father of one of a Senior debater when I joined the team as a Sophomore. She was a very nice person and her father had taken Chartered Live Underwriter classes from my Dad at Mankato State. I snapped a picture of what was once a campsite for Sioux Indians long since banished to the Dakotas.

I meandered for a while along very pretty autumnal roads and then headed to the cabin where the Reunion committee was gathering. I guess my sitting in the High School parking lot gained me admission. It seemed a remote place under a heavy canopy of fall leaves. I’d get a chance to chat with a couple more folks before I left.

One of my classmates who hadn’t come had sent me an email asking if I might go. He’d done the same thing ten years earlier. He too was one of my debate teammates. Its worth mention his story as it will blend into the another story from another absent Debate teammate…..the first girl I ever dated.

I had met M (this time a boy) in seventh grade with I was talked into going out for the Gymnastics team. I could do a front handspring and to be honest I loved watching the gymnasts for than any other athletes at the Summer Olympics. I wasn’t six foot two back then but I was head in that direction and if you know acrobatics height is a genuine impediment.

Our tiny North Mankato contingent was put on an after-school bus that drove us to Mankato’s Franklin Junior High where, between us, we had just enough sad sacks to have a single dual match each year with Mankato’s Lincoln Junior high. The person I remember most from those days was M. He was a skinny awkward kid, who was desperate to prove his worth. He was half Sioux Indian and looked full blooded. He had been adopted by a sturdy German-American couple as an infant. He didn’t tell me this until we were in Debate a few years later but his native ancestry overwhelmed the Scandinavian. One of my high school classmates irritated by M’s fierce determination to be best at everything called him “Red Cloud.” M approached Debate the way he had Gymnastics or getting good grades – with a great deal of intensity. Later before my Dad made me quite Tennis because of a D on a report card we also joined that team. Mike was even more awkward on a Tennis Court but by God he got pretty good at playing a tenacious game of tennis before he graduated. In college we would get together over summers and play chess too. Did I tell you I hate playing Chess with an opponent who has to win? I didn’t care about winning that much but in the college library I once happened on a very slim Chess guide with I checked out and read leading to the only time I ever beat M. Darn it if M.could never remember me having beat him once.

M would continue to be one of my few long standing classmates with whom I reconnected once we got to the email age. He gave Claudia and I an ironing board for our wedding and was one of my groomsmen. My Uncle Frank thought the give was ridiculously utilitarian but we used a lot more than the hoity-toity silver pieces some of my relatives gave us. I think we still have the same one.

M didn’t come to our reunion but we assured each other that we would somehow cross paths again. We’ve done this several times but haven’t managed it. M went on to a career in the Foreign Service and lives out east. We’d started talking foreign policy after our gymnastics practice in 1967. I was spouting Anti-Vietnam stuff that I was hearing from my Dad and our Gymnastics Coach came in and took me on. Today there are not but-in-sky teachers around when we talk about Afghanistan and Pakistan where he spent several tense years.

M had a crush on the debater who asked me out on my first date as a sophomore. She had long straight golden hair and a scandihoovian name. She was in my English class where I impressed lots of girls by giving a humorous speech introducing myself to the class. I was was a class assignment and I was terrified because I had yet to put my Dad’s advice to be a debater into practice to avoid another panic attack. Dad came through again with the advice to joke around. At any rate in the middle of the year S asked me on a date. It was for a Saddie Hawkins Day dance which, just like in the lil Abner comic strip required girls to go after boys for a date. I was so shocked all I could tell her was I’d have to go ask my parents if this was OK with them.

As a few of my loyal readers know my Dad was thrilled with this turn of events. S’s mom drove us to and from the dance and we went out for pizza imbetween. She gave me a traditional compost like corsage and Mr. Frank the Speech teacher was probably Marrying Sam who tied our knot.

S like M (the girl) and M (the boy) were all much better debaters than I was an in no time I became part of the B team.

I quite debate after my junior year having been paired with L now deceased. L. was a “jolly” fat girl who was mercilessly teased in those days before half the school population grew to be plumpish. Her laugh was a defense mechanism used to bat every insult aside as though there was a competition going on. After college she joined a weight reduction program and slimmed down. There is no telling how scarred she was by years of belittling. M the girl also quit debate. S and M the boy continued on and near the end of our senior year M began dating S having developed a serious crush on her. When she broke off with him he couldn’t barely contain his loss.

I didn’t put two and two together until after college when a classmate told me that S had become a major spokesman for the University of Minnesota Gay’s. Thinking back I recalled two possibly tell tale events that foreshadowed this. S once cracked a joke about a nun doing push ups in a cucumber field for sexual release. I think you would have had to be there to see why this odd joke stuck with me. And then in the Christmas Party after high school I was entreated to host S came in and brought a Dylan album to play over and over and over again. She parked herself on the floor for an hour listening to Bob Dylan sing “Lay lady lay, Lay across my bog brass bed.” I was almost too busy cleaning up after my careless classmates to be too annoyed with seeing S remain glued to this song for an hour but I was still a little annoyed with this odd behavior.

Which reminds me of another discursive bit before I wrap up. At the Friday night get together I had a chance to be a bit of a raconteur about my political shenanigans with our old Class President who has dabbled in politics himself, behind the scenes. I told him about my Voodoo experience but had the most time embellishing the story of this Christmas Party. My parents had only a few weeks earlier completely replaced our furniture and installed a new carpet. Someone suggestged that it being winter we start a fire. I put in a log and fired it up……for about twenty seconds when rolling plumes of smoke began flooding the living room. I fiddled with the flue but the catch only spun around helplessly. Scott, later to become a Mankato policeman rushed into the breach and picked up the burning log and dropped it on the new carpeting. Then he picked it up again and dropped it again. Then he did it a third time saving his poor hands from blistering. Then he finally picked it up a final time and rushed to the door to heave it into a snowbank.

Actually Scott was with us Saturday night and he reminded me of this incident. I mentioned how many times he dropped the log in my telling and good cop that he was said. I only dropped it once. “That’s true,” I told him, “but a good story teller never lets that stop him from improving on a good story.”

Well, some years later yet another classmate of mine who was teaching in Duluth told me that S had been a lesbian. It all sort of added up. Sadly, I could see the sense of disapproval in his telling me this. Thank God those days are passing swiftly. But ever since I’ve enjoyed knowing that my first date was a gay woman. And that fact was confirmed by yet another of my original sophomore debate teammates on Sunday as we were sent out on a scavenger hunt. We too had gone out on one date in high school where she had explained how she was stuck attending Mankato State because her Father’s hand to mouth farming operation on a very expensive piece of farm property made it impossible for her to get any scholarships for a more rarefied college experience.

Now on a hunt for a snail shell a feather and some moss she told me how her fiend S stayed close through college a fact I’d been unaware of. And yes S was gay or bi or something. She had been trying to figure that all out. And I was her first date too.

These four largely unedited posts about the glories that are public education sort of misses my intention. However, I went to school with a lot of bright kids who, for the most part, grew up to be bright adults. We were part of the baby boom, at least the white baby boom, who got good schools that took our education seriously. It was a joy to see my old class again.

As I run for the School Board for my eighth time I’ll keep those memories in mind. If elected in two weeks I’ll do my best to do justice for all the kids in the Duluth public schools so that when some of them return to Duluth for a fiftieth reunion it will be as special as my fiftieth was to me.

Alanna warned me

The previous post is about my proposed book. No. I realized early on I would probably not finish it on time. Alanna Oswald, bless her heart, was worried after reading some of my posts on the subject that I would make a lot of folks angry for reneging on my book writing promise. It wouldn’t be that many people. Its less than 75 orders and frankly, most of them would probably forgive me since getting me on the school board is probably their first concern. Continue reading

The Glory that is public ed. Reunion details – Part 3

Day 3 The fallen, Age of Aquarius, ADHD, Buried history NOTE – I will not be editing this rough draft anytime soon or maybe anytime

This four part (five counting the prologue) was meant to be a reverie of sorts about a glorious public school experience. It should have been continued immediately but already the events are over a week old and I’ve gone on to other things in my campaign for the school board and more agonizing over the malevolent squirrel we have let into the people’s house.

So…pick up some pieces of your diary Harry.

I had agreed to patrol our old high school’s parking lot for three hours of Saturday’s morning directing alums to two classic cars which would drive them around the old haunts of their youth. It was rainy and I hunkered down in my traverse. The seven foot long sign I stuck between through my back door’s window. “Classic car rides” it said, or words to that effect. The temps were hovering just above freezing so I had no plans to walk around. Instead I invited people into my front and back seat to chat while they waited for other’s travels to come to an end.

In no particular order our old Biology teacher Mr. Banwort showed up to do some of the driving. While he waited for some people to squire around I asked him about days past. Later it was John my old classmate who I shared a short contest with over a young and very date-able lady. He asked if I remembered our telephone call. I did and I probably stole his story to tell his fiftieth reunion date.

We were both sweet on the Basketball coaches’ daughter. I must have taken her out on a date at some point because I had her phone number memorized. But like a typical guy I had dithered away the time before Homecoming to ask her to go out on another date. That’s when John called me to ask if she was going with me. I told John I hadn’t asked her yet and we fenced a bit in good humor about who would be going. John suggested that we race for the call after we hung up. I agreed, knowing I didn’t have to look up the young lady’s number. I won. I was smitten. The young lady was the first girl I’d ever kissed after a date. It was a beginners kiss but it was lingering as I tarried on her home’s doorstep. When the kiss came to and end and we said out goodbyes I hopped in my Dad’s car and drove home singing the pop folk-song. Kisses Sweeter than Wine.

I’m not sure if that was the date I had been left seething as we departed the dance in our school’s gym. As we left and headed for the back parking lot of Mankato High a couple unfamiliar guys were holding the door to the lot open. As they apparently let us out one of the fellows with a smirk let the door go so that it hit my date’s shoulder on the way out. I was in a state of shock. Without looking back I realized a gauntlet had been thrown at me to defend my date’s honor. At least that was the emotion surging through me.

“I’m going back to have a talk with that guy.” I told my date as I walked her to my car. She hung on to my arm and said, “Don’t.” Every fiber of my body disagreed with her command and I could barely hear the voice in the back of my head telling me my date was right. A fight would only make her date more miserable however it developed or ended. I didn’t turn back to challenge the beasts and knew I was doing the right thing……It was a right thing I couldn’t get out of my head for the next ten years as I imagined how I would have dealt with the curs. God, am I ever glad I’m no longer seventeen!

But I was a feckless youth. I’d had several dates over a couple months and she still seemed to be a little infatuated with me and that made me uncomfortable. As gallant as I had wanted to be with the door incident I was callow in the “how do I end this” phase of our dating. In my case rather than give some embarrassing declaration I simply stopped calling her. It wasn’t the last time I simply tried to evaporate myself out of a relationship. She was crushed and I when John inquired about our status I told him he was free to move in. God, am I ever glad I’m no longer seventeen!

After the morning car rides the Reunion planners had set up a “Magical Mystery” bus tour of Mankato. One of the features of the ride was a trip past every elementary or junior high school building that any of us might have attended. Not having gone to elementary school in Mankato this didn’t mean much to me but we were encouraged to shout out memories when we passed significant places. I obliged when we traveled past the County Seat. I shouted that when Claudia and I signed up for a wedding license in the building we both had to swear an oath that neither of us were “feebleminded.” Actually, I told the crowd that we “had” to get a license which has a somewhat different meaning than I had intended. That wasn’t true unless my wife’s gestation was arrested for seven years when we finally gave our parents grand-parenthood.

One of our “guides” on the bus gave us bits and pieces of history as we meandered through the town. He had been a drudge in the City Manager’s office assigned the task of drafting the documents that put a “mall” in the middle of our town’s main street. At the time it was intended to spare the City from suburbanizing and expanding its commercial sites out beyond the old town’s boundaries. This failed, of course, while it also put an end to high school kid’s “cruising” the main drag.

Among the other stories he told us was of the hushed removal and hiding of Mankato’s infamous boasting about America’s largest mass hanging when 38 mostly innocent Sioux Indians were hung for their part in the Sioux uprising that distracted Minnesota from the Civil War.

The granite sign was one of the first things I remember passing on the way to our new house in 1963. In the next decade it became a magnet for Red Paint. Not long afterwards an official in the Mankato bureaucracy had the tablet buried in Mankato’s Sibley Park. Later, fearing that it might be dug up and restored, he had it unearthed and driven to a secret spot along the Minnesota River where he dumped it.

I agreed with my fellow Scarlet and our guide that hiding this was not good history. As to the monument’s recovery he told us the official had told him in later years that the location had already been buried with three of the four witnesses. A fourth was being overcome with senility leaving the officer secure in the hope that the location would die with him.

It had been my intention to drive back to Duluth after having dinner with my classmates. Claudia, who remained in Duluth, did not think this was a good idea. So when the reunion organizer told me that I was invited to an after the reunion gathering I found another hotel for Saturday night and extended my stay. That meant I could be leisurely at the Saturday dinner and not hurry home.

More grads made it to the dinner and I got snippets of conversation with many but not all of the ones I would have liked to talk with. One of them was Leenie. I hadn’t seen her since High School to my recollection but I remembered my last summer after high school when a gang of us got together to swim in a local lake and generally pal around in a last burst of camaraderie before we were all cast to the four winds and college.

I’d gathered that her marriage with another classmate had ended poorly and when she showed up I have to say she had a beaten up look to her. I’d find out in the course of our conversation that this had more to do with her having had a double mastectomy three weeks earlier. And she was here.

Her family had been the host of our Australian foreign exchange student, another young woman with whom I’d been smitten. I asked Leenie if my understanding that the two of them didn’t get along had any truth to it. Leenie, told me it was mostly about her mother a very controlling “doctor’s wife.” At one point the Mother had insisted that their guest would have to find other accommodations. Apparently both girls stood together to swat this idea aside. I was aware of just how in-artful American hosts could be. It was a challenge for my family to host an Ethiopian student. The year before that the rich hosts of a Thai student turned him out after the initial excitement wore off and he was taken in by a far more considerate family.

Leenie would have been horrified at such an outcome. She had gone into social work helping at hospital birthing centers and in elder care. It was a far cry from her former husband’s interests. And her former husband was now suffering from senility in a home that bespoke of the good money he earned in Detroit before Americans had to share the automotive pie with the rest of the world. He’d been a car designer.

I asked a couple of folks about one other person who had never come to one of our reunions. It was yet another young woman who had mostly incurred her school mate’s ire but with whom I’d taken up a brief post high school dalliance although that is more than it was.

M was a girl that intimidated the bejesus out of me when we joined the debate team as sophomores. For me it was my Dad’s answer to my fear of ever suffering a panic attack again. I met a lot of my future dates on that team including they young lady would became the reunion host who along with her family moved into my family’s house and then invited me for a Sunday after school reunion gathering.

So many of these stories are tied together by that debate experience and our foreign exchange program. When talking with Mr. Banwort I had mentioned our old coach, a dirty old man if ever there was on, and how he’d told us the ranking of our classmates on the Mankato’s IQ records. My bully was was number two. I suspect M was number 1.

Our coach and the student debaters were pretty quick with their repartee and the coach like to fling insults at M. M always flung another one back quicker and more deadly than any tossed in her direction. I admired her intelligence and fierce self defense. Other’s did not. During our bus tour our guide also commented that M was the first girl to wear a brazier. That is just the sort of thing a junior high boy would notice and not mention until fifty years later. He mother was also a teacher. I expect that this coupled with her brains and the fact that her mother was a teacher all added up to a soup of jealousy and disapproval. I probably didn’t look as cowed by her as I was when we talked and lent a sympathetic ear to the few things she shared with me. When I once rolled my eyes at a comment about having to work hard to get all the easy A’s I saw her earning her response betrayed a little self doubt. She knew who was really smart and it wasn’t her. It was a cousin of her’s that had been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. So just as I stood in awe of her she too stood in awe of others.

I still recall defending M. to another of the graduates at the reunion who told me I was a pretty nice guy to stick up for her. I am pretty sure this discussion took place our senior year after M had been humiliated at a gathering of our International club and a large number of foreign exchange students who visited Mankato over the weekend. Despite hosting our Ethiopian student the previous year I’d never joined the International club. When kids signed up to be a host for a weekend I hadn’t done so. But one student from a nearby small town had invited himself to our celebration simply to escape the provincial home he had lived in for that school year. He was Pierre ____ ______ from Paris. He was nothing like the sweet fille from Grenoble my sophomore year. He was a swashbuckler. Suddenly I was asked if my family would take on an emergency guest and we did.

Over the weekend Pierre regaled me with stories of his sexual conquests in Minnesota. He’d had five of them. Never having considered trying to conquer anyone I listened to this cosmopolitan locker talk with interest and muted disapproval. One of his conquests, a virgin apparently, had been a bloody mess. For me this was better than a talking too from a priest on the subject of abstinence. How these young women would fair after his safe return to France I had no idea but I couldn’t rule out a growing Minnesota population at his departure.

Of course, a young woman estranged from her classmates and sophisticate beyond the rest of us was almost fated to fall under the advanced influence of a dashing and confident young Frenchmen. And so in the evening hours of our gathering with the other foreign exchange students the best and the brightest Mankato students noticed a steamed up car on an evening stroll with M and Pierre warming each other up. My friends formed a circle around the vehicle and serenaded them with the best of Rogers’ and Hammerstein. “Getting to know you. Getting to know all about you………”

My last recollection of M. was introducing her to my “fiancee” at the Italian restaurant M was a waitress at. Because I had shown a brief interest in her not long before it was sort of an embarrassing introduction for me. Like always, I’d melted away when M showed me some evidence of being more interested in me than I was prepared to show to her. I’d grown in confidence in college but even so I recalled how much her intellect had intimidated me back in high school. Melting way seemed safer. Certainly as a waitress she was no match for her Rhode’s riding cousin. I don’t know what became of M but that is an unknown chapter I’d very much like to learn about.

I’ve kept the original ideas I wanted to write about at the top of this post. Sorry, its long and I have no intention, now anyway, of editing it. What I’ve written about are the personal events that everyone experiences even while greater forces swirl around them in the world.

I’ve said nothing about the War in Vietnam but I shouldn’t let it go unmentioned.

Two of our classmates who had been Vietnam Era officers, one in the army the other in the navy got up and talked about our fellows who were scarred by the war or simply lucky not to serve in Vietnam. They mentioned the magic draft card numbers that were pulled at the beginning of our senior year that would doom some to the draft. My number, 41, put me at immediate risk of being called up…..except that I had always planned to go to college. The previous generation of WW II vets had graciously extended a 2-S deferment to young men going to college to become the masters of America. It would last me though almost the end of the war so there was no bloodshed for me. We baby boomers were all Age of Aquarius and ideals that required us to put long stemmed roses in the barrels of the guns wielded by our fellows unable to go to college.

Is it just me, or is the echo of that past still with us in our politics today?

The Glory that is public ed. Reunion details – Part 2

Day 2 Woodland hills in a flurry Friday Nite Lights, all the girls I knew pep fest alikum

I only lasted till ten in the evening at the bar we alums first gathered at. As young people swarmed into the main room I had decided a good night’s sleep made more sense than a late night carousing which, frankly none of my old classmates seemed all that interested in. I would spend most of Friday sealed up in my hotel but I did venture out once. I headed to Woodland Hills. This is the cemetery where my Dad was interred 32 years ago and where I took my Mother’s ashes 27 years later. This was the first time I saw both their names on the bronze marker. With a whipping wind carrying a bit of snow from North Dakota I blinked away a couple tears, kissed my fingers and placed them on their grave. The surrounding hills were full of autumnal colors as they were when my Father was laid to rest. He loved fall colors and I remember trips he took us on in Kansas when we were little to view the sugar maples in Hiawatha and Olathe.

A tour was offered of Mankato “West” which was sundered six years after I graduated when my Sister’s graduating class found itself divided. Half of her classmates attended a newly build Mankato East High School. Today even with ninth graders added to West’s attendance it is a smaller school that it was in 1969. Where my graduating class was 454 (although the number varied depending on which 69 grad you talked to)
The class of 2019 was only 278. It was also larger than the graduating class in the eastern school. If the other three classes were similar then there were only a little over 1000 kids at Mankato West. The total enrollment of three classes in 1969 was probably closer to 1500 students.

Because of radon gas in the buildings nether regions our tour was limited to the top three floors. Continue reading

The Glory that is public ed. Reunion details part 1

Prologue. My parents didn’t attend their high school reunions, My wife doesn’t. Three fourths of my living classmates from 1969 didn’t return. I did as I believe I have for the most of them ending in a 0.

Junior High wasn’t horrible but I was a new kid with a funny accent in the middle school years where all the grade school cliques pretty much kept me to myself. I was a tall gangling gymnast but even here I wasn’t that close to my fellow North Mankato Jr. High classmates. I was sent on an athletic bus with the swimmers who practiced at the high school pool while we gymnasts were sent to another junior high to make up a team large enough to field a team for dual meets. There was precisely one dual meet each year with the third junior high in Mankato which had a larger program.

So, when my parents moved out of their cracker box rental at the beginning of my tenth grade High School career suddenly I was plunged into a school with three merging junior highs and ample opportunity to break out of my rut. Continue reading

“Some people will do anything to win the sympathy vote.”

That was the first thing I told Alanna Oswald this morning when I walked into her busy room in St. Luke’s ICU. Unbeknownst to me last Tuesday, when I noticed she was missing from the School Board’s Business Committee meeting, she was a day away from death’s door shaking in her bed from what she thought was a concussion. She was wrong. She was in a state of toxic shock from a runaway infection.

The next evening, the day before I left for my fiftieth High School reunion in Mankato, she rallied enough to send me a text that she had just had half of St. Luke’s emergency staff vacuuming out the poisons in her system which would cost her more than a pound of flesh. She had not yet turned a corner that she let me know might finish her off. Not believing what she told me I asked if she would like me to visit her the next morning on my way out of town. She said yes. I called into the emergency room at a quarter to ten on Thursday and was told she was being attended to and to wait for fifteen minutes and call back. I got an hour of French practice in the waiting room between calls to see if the staff was finished fussing with her. I gave up the ghost the last time I was told it might be another twenty minutes. I stopped an hour out of town to see if she had responded to my text apology before leaving St. Lukes. She had. And her wry wit was fully in tact.

So today, after another bout of texting last night, she told me to come and visit. I got more gruesome details than I probably needed to know but all with the joking soldierly banter of someone at a dressing station having a shrapnel filled arm amputated. Alanna is a pretty jolly fatalist and she at least still had all appendages. She has been told she will be hospitalized for another seven days. She said she was going for a record ICU stay. She will not be at tonight’s school board meeting.

I told Alanna about our candidate’s East High School PTA meeting last night where UMD’s Mary Owen came and read a short statement. It to was full of good humor. Although no one was able to speak for Alanna her absence was more eloquent than any of the candidate’s answering questions.

It was a small crowd of nineteen according to someone reporting back to Alanna. I hadn’t counted attendance in the Media Center and because everyone was spread out I had guessed the number to be double that. In any event, the three remaining candidates were peppered with a steady stream of questions. Judy Seliga Punyko, who knows something about the Board, sent in a question asking the candidates to tell what they had done for the School Board. I was the last candidate to answer so, as the others spoke, I made up a list of a dozen things I had done. I was only able to get through a third of the list in my minute and half response time. Rosie Loeffler Kemp was present too as her former campaign chair, John Schwetman, raced through his answer like a Ronco popeil knife seller at the state fair. He had helped support previous levy campaigns and had kids in the schools.

I was first up in the two minute summation department and with my Symphony Chorus rehearsal five minutes off I stood up and explained my hurry to leave along with parting thoughts. I got unexpected applause as I left the Library. Maybe they were glad to see the back of me. At least that’s the sort of thing I rattled off to Alanna today during my visit. I just wanted to keep it light.

The glory that is public education – through the eyes of a fellow who experienced it.

I should begin this by acknowledging that before I left town I paid a call on St. Lukes Hospital. Alanna Oswald had texted me the night before that she had an advanced sepsis that when discovered led to her immediate hospitalization. “Flesh eating” seemed to be the operative word and she would be hospitalized for weeks to try to clean it all out. I asked her if I could stop by the next morning and Alanna assented. but when I got there I was told to wait another fifteen minutes then another ten then another twenty and when I was told another twenty I realized that seeing Alanna was not in the cards. A team of folks were busy removing the sepsis. I headed south after texting my good wishes and regrets. Alanna explained just how dire her situation was in a text back and then she posted her situation on Facebook.

I’ve said before that Alanna is the best and or smartest Duluth school board member I’ve known over the past forty years. She’s young to me. She was my student thirty years ago. I fervently hope she mends and gets to serve out another four-year term. The drive south was a somber one for me.

My fiftieth high school reunion was extended by a day so I missed church this morning and joined the reunion’s organizing committee for one last gathering under a canopy of fall colors in the Minnesota River Valley. At this moment when I should be hopping into bed I’m instead thinking that it would be nice to write a series of posts. Something on the order of a day’s experience and a lesson learned. What I have come away with is the glory that has been the American public school system. If it has fallen in esteem I can’t help but think it has something to do with the paranoid impulse to close the doors on people who are seen to be not like “us.” Us, being of course, white folks.

There were about 160 of us gathered on Saturday night. If forty percent were spouses that meant that we had close to a hundred classmates gathered. Considering fifty of us have passed from this mortal coil that meant that a quarter of the 400 remaining Scarlets attended on this penultimate night of the reunion.

One of the things that occurred to me and to many others of us during the festivities was our memory that during our Homecomings we always saw our fiftieth anniversary predecessors at the pep fest honoring their return to the old Alma mater. They always seemed so old and frail and we, by contrast, felt quite able. Perhaps we looked as frail to the kids in the bleachers looking down at us or just maybe vast improvements in hip replacements, heart surgery and the like really did give us vigor our predecessors would have been astonished by. For folks on the cusp of age 70 we looked pretty damned good. And we were a pretty smart collection of people. Over the next couple days I learned much about what had happened to kids I left behind.

A couple things. Public School can be cruel. For me High School was a wonderful change from my Junior high school years. Some of those I would most have liked to catch up with did not enjoy my experience. I suspect a lot of folks reviewing their old albums are used to gushy praises. If I can believe my notices I was a fun person and one who was a little bit weird. A lot of girls said I was sweet which I take as code for not dangerous. And I wasn’t dangerous. At least not in that way.

I’m going to lay off campaigning tomorrow and write about the last four days. Claudia decided to stay home and that was a gift to me because it gave me a chance to devote my time to some serious catching up with people I liked and had not seen in decades. I have given it some thought and the following subjects might be worthy of elaboration. But that will be tomorrow’s work

Day 1 National Guard. Wallpaper, Judy the latest chapters

Day 2 Woodland hills in a flurry, Friday Nite Lights, all the girls I knew

Day 3 The fallen, Age of Aquarius, ADHD

Day 4 a reverie in the woods, My first date

Back to my default self and 50 years later

What is a lie? Is an untruth a lie if it is spoken with conviction?

After a day of being wrung out over the Trib’s characterization of me being (As Trump would put it) a “leaker,” I am back to my default analytical mode. Yesterday’s string of six posts had an unwieldy title as it was. A more accurate and more unwieldly title could have been “IF THE DNT EDITORS HADN’T POORLY MISCHARACTURIZED ME IN THEIR EDITORIAL….PARTS 1-6.”

Had the Editors given it a little more thought they might have come up with a more charitable analysis of my occasional dropping of hints about what is actually going on in our School Board and District. They could have called me a whistle-blower. Instead they took the tack that the White House is holding fast to that anyone who points out Presidential duplicity, greed or stupidity is committing treason.

On the other hand the Trib made excellent and somewhat unexpected endorsements. Alanna Oswald was a cinch. They first endorsed her rival four years ago and then thought better of it after the primary. This year’s endoresment simply cemented her status as a worthy candidate. And today the Trib did the right thing. As I’ve told many over the past few campaigns, “if there is any justice in the world Loren Martell would get elected.” As the Trib’s editors note this is his fifth attempt at the Board after four defeats. If Loren is elected he will have bested me. I lost three times before finally winning a School Board seat.

The responsibility of the School Board is a management responsibility. Alanna and Loren understand that after twelve years of School Board members being cheerleaders for superintendents who only selectively told them what they needed to know which in many cases was not enough. David Kirby fell into this habit as well as the Trib’s editorial endorsement of him made clear. His board was forced to pay Art Johnston $55,000 to buy him off of his complaints about having been left in the dark over and over again by Bill Gronseth’s administration.

I like people. Bill came over to chat with me at this week’s Business committee meeting. I was cordial back to him. There is no need for nastiness. But I’ve always been honest and Bill has thrice seen my very bland assessments of him during the School Board’s evaluation of him. Each time I made it clear that treating Board members differently was not acceptable. Bill has done that in spades. Alanna confirmed that yet again when we spoke after her first every Cabinet and Board agenda setting meeting. Bill made clear that it was the Chairman’s call on whether to tell other Board members the details of the District. To which I can only say “SAY WHAT?” Truly since the days of Supt. Keith Dixon “all board members are equal but some board members are more equal than others” to paraphrase Animal Farm.

Its in line with what Bill told me privately when I first joined his Board. He viewed his job as protecting the School District from Board members…….that means he viewed his job as protecting the School District from the citizens, voters and taxpayers. Cordial or not I’ll be glad to see Bill Gronseth’s back. And I hope to serve with Alanna and Loren as we search out a worthy Superintendent for our schools.

BTW I’m heading out of town today to visit my old high school chums for a 50’th reunion. Claudia is staying behind because she is very much a person of today not the past and not my past. She’s accompanied me to my previous reunions. I’m looking forward to it. My high school experience was great after a really lousy Junior high immersion into white Minnesota. That experience has provided me with several humorous remembrances in my Not Eudora column. I’m like my Mother. I find people endlessly fascinating. I’m looking forward to finding out what happened next to my high school acquaintances, at least those who bother to come back. The ones who don’t come back, often because they had lousy memories, are the ones I’ll miss the most. High School can be cruel. I was lucky.

I don’t plan to blog much for the next couple of days but, who knows? I may wake up in the middle of the night with a brain burning to pour out more Lincolndemocrat drivel. Stay tuned.

Rough notes

I’m not fussy about perfection which explains my comfort with the last post’s state – unpolished. Its an attitude that I think is useful to show students who too often think mistakes are some sort of blemish. They are great teaching opportunities….the same way that, theoretically at least, there are no stupid questions. I suspect a lot of missing homework stems from kids fear of showing their mistakes. I hated to write thank you cards after Christmas for the same reason.

I’m sure a lot of my readers remember times when they felt humiliated being called on by a teacher and not knowing an answer or worse yet being called to a blackboard and flubbing a math problem. Feigned indifference is one method of hiding this embarrassment. I remember a classmate of mine passing around his all-F report card in homeroom as though it was some sort of prize. I found out later (from a truly awful teacher) that the kid had the second highest IQ among my 454 classmates. If our President was not such an arrogant ignoramus his tweet flubs could be endearing.

My eight loyal readers have grown accustomed to my sporadic proof reading, tolerating it like an unmowed lawn next door. I trust that the contents I offer makes it worthwhile for them to come back for more. This post is meant to be a heads up to the new readers who check out lincolndemocrat every time I run for office.

I didn’t stick up more lawnsigns yesterday because it was too damp for my taste. This morning its still gray outside but I spent an hour in my garage yesterday putting the signs on bent up old stands. I’ll try to put up a few more today.

Oh, and I finished all my paperwork for substitute teaching. Now I have to study some online classes on how to sub in the Duluth schools these days. I got some hints from Paul Sandholm at the KBJR studios yesterday before we taped a school board candidate session for Sunday’s morning line up. Paul also told me that the Tribune’s and the Chamber of Commerce’s taping went horribly awry last week and the video was unwatchable. That was true not only for the school board candidates but for the Mayoral and City council races too.

Like students everywhere the Trib and the Chamber are only human.

Yesterday was a good day…

…today is a good day.

In fact the whole week has been good. Monday I participated in my second rehearsal for the Duluth Superior Chorus. I had sung with the chorus for about five years a decade ago but set it aside when I got caught up in the Red Plan imbroglio and stayed away through four semi-lost years on the School Board. But I re-upped last spring and decided that I could manage it again this fall as I campaigned for a return to the School Board. Does this matter to taxpayers and parents who watch the Duluth School District like a hawk. Nope. But it matters to me. I hate any kind of myopia and I don’t think it serves anyone well. Focusing only on work or an obsession, like Trump focuses on his genius to the exclusion of all else, isn’t healthy. I know I’m not a genius. But I think I’m remarkably stable. Should I lose this election I will still have a long and productive twenty or more years ahead of me right up to and maybe even past age 90. In fact, I’ll be forced to devote more time to something that politics makes hard to focus on. Writing something longer than a blog post or a thousand.

I think that should be a selling point to my potential voters so I spend time sharing a category of info I call “Harry’s Diary.”

So I’ll start with Tuesday evening where I appeared with all sorts of city council, mayoral and school board candidates at nearby Myers Wilkins Elementary. It was put on by a consortium of folks who worry about poverty and who take the campaign season as an opportunity to share their concerns with candidates as well as grill them on the issues of the day. There were two of many nice things worth mentioning. I got introduced to a group of minority girl students from Denfeld and I chatted to some extent with the incumbent I’m trying to unseat Dr. David Kirby. The young women were looking for some affirmation…..to use an annoying PC term. When our session was over I caught them together in the hallway joking around. That led to my attempting to “floss” and their giddy response to an old fart making a happy fool of himself. They wanted all the SB candidates to pledge to come to their meetings once a month. I didn’t promise them quite that much attention but I will drop by frequently…..if I’m elected.

As for David Kirby. Mine is not a grudge match. David was a fair minded chairman I valued after the previous two years of a hideous school board experience. I just have an compulsion to use what I am confident is a tremendous skill and knowledge set to wrench our schools out of a rut. We had a cordial conversation about all sorts of things. Win, lose, or draw David and I will remain on friendly terms. That’s how politics ought to be.

TUESDAY

My alarm went off at 3;45 AM. I had to drive Claudia to the airport for her all day flight to visit her father in Florida to put his affairs in order. He’s in hospice at the present but in good spirits. I’ll be unsupervised until she returns on Tuesday. During the morning I used the graphic that my daughter sent out on Facebook to craft a critique of the Republican Party. To my great satisfaction by the end of the day it turned out to have driven a huge upsurge of interest which my more trenchant post sometimes generate. Instead of the usual 2,000 hits it generated 15,012 hits.

In the afternoon I steeled myself to start putting up lawnsigns. I started in my own backyard going up 21st Ave. East up to Woodland. I put up my signs and Alanna Oswald’s signs in about 20 yards. (I got them on all four corners of my intersection) I told everyone how she was my student and now my teacher as the smartest member of the Duluth School Board. I have another 100 plus of our signs to put up if the weather cooperates. Later in the day I went to one of our Wednesday church programs where we had invited Duluth firefighters and Duluth police to tell us of their work. We got a demonstration of how not to put out a kitchen grease fire:

This morning I woke up early and studied French when I couldn’t fall back to sleep. I’ve recently put more effort into it after an early summer of doing the bare minimum. In two months it will be my birthday and the two year mark of my studies. Two years is what I hoped would do the trick. I’m getting closer but I’ll still have a long ways to go after that date.

I devoured the news, like always when I woke up reading in the NYTimes about how our Secretary of State is having to eat all his words about sharing State Department Info after switching from the Benghazi Committee to covering up Donald Trump’s tracks. Then I listened to a very useful commentary on MPR’s Kerry Miller show about “learned helplessness.” To summarize: the same way rats who are never allowed to reach safety by scientists who put them in deep water eventually simply stop swimming because its no use – people will do the same thing – give up. In the instances Miller’s guests were highlighting, women in abusive relationships simply stop swimming and learn to take what is dealt them by their abusers.

I thought the idea of learned helplessness was very useful. I’ve often been discouraged but I’ve never allowed myself to be helpless. In fact I was about to take advantage of a tiny bit of initiative to do a couple things I’ve never done before, use my wife’s new mixer and bake some banana bread with three overripe bananas. Here’s the picture I texted her along with a little of the back and forth following:

Sorry can’t do that and I’ve got a KBJR interview to go to but here’s my banana bread:

Sorry no time to edit out the mistakes.

What I just sent to the Strib

1. A headshot in the highest photo resolution possible.

2. The link to your campaign website. Facebook Page: Harry Welty Givem Helty and WWW.Givemhellharry.org and WWW.lincolndemocrat.com

3. A short bio (roughly 50 words) – it could help to look at our 2018 guide linked above for examples.

Harry Welty, Age 67, history teacher, snow sculptor, blogger, frequent candidate for public office has served three terms on the Duluth School Board. Married to Claudia he has a son and daughter who graduated from Duluth’s schools. He has more opinions than you can shake a stick at and he can juggle.

4. Answers to the following three questions (using 50 or fewer words for each response):
…..1. Why should voters elect you?

So that voters can have the confidence that someone who understands school finance, the Red Plan, education law, the value of public education, the management role of a school board and the importance of teachers is sitting on what today is a pretty inexperienced Duluth School Board.

…..2. In order of priority, what are the top three issues facing Duluth Public Schools?

1st. That equity is not enough. Every child should be tended to carefully for twelve years of schooling no matter the shortcomings they bring to school. 2nd. That teachers should be given all the support they need. 3rd That the public is treated with openness and complete honesty.

…..3. What is your solution to that top issue?

In fifty words? Starting with a new Superintendent show respect to every employee of the district and expect the best from them and have them reciprocate this ethos to the students in their classrooms and to parents. Make every precious dollar in our budget work to maximum effect.

Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie 77% fresh

Yes it did, but…

I went to the movies to escape the headlines and instead I got a comic downer with a bad, if all together believable, end. NOBODY DIED HOWEVER.

I probably wouldn’t have gone if I’d read a review simply because the trailer had such comic promise. I don’t wish to add a review but I will mention this. Claudia and I were the only people in the theater.

The dilemma of a writer, The advantage of a blogger

The editors of the Duluth News Trib gave school board candidates a heads-up two weeks ago that we could send them a 500 word column for their paper for this year’s school board campaign. I sat on it for a while then woke up one night and cranked out a piece with lots of suggestions for the District. Last night I woke up with a rather different approach to a column and pounded a different one into my cell with my index finger. This morning I went over it a couple times not remembering that once formerly 700-word-columns had shrunk down by 200 words in these leaner and meaner days of journalism.

But I had written a 640 word essay. I had to cut 140 words from it. Such is the life of a writer. Well, before I trim my column down to size I’m going to share the original with my eight loyal readers. In a week or two you will be able to see whether I was able to preserve the sentiments in my column before I began whittling away at it.

This is a writer’s dilemma but its not one for a blogger. There is one risk. The Trib often warns people who submit something to them that they will not publish anything that was submitted to a rival publication. (That wasn’t expressed in my email invite however) I think they would be hard pressed to call my blog a rival publication. Its strictly not for profit and besides that, by the time I trim one fourth of this verbiage away the Trib will be hard pressed to claim that I made the original column public before they got hold of it. Stay tuned and see how well my message translates to newsprint after its blovia-ectomy.

Looking Back to Move Duluth’s Schools Forward Continue reading

“Go get ’em, tiger!”

I enjoy many hearty laughs every day. I hear its healthy. Well, I just pulled a good one out of my campaign PO box. A nice donation came in from one of the handful of folks I’ve seriously taken to task on this blog. It came with a cheerful note: “Go get ’em, tiger!” on it.

I have always told newbie candidates never to foreclose the possibility of getting along with their foes of today because they might become allies in the future. The bastards who attacked us on 9/11 reunited, if temporarily, Republicans and Democrats. If we were attacked from outer space today I’d rally around Donald Trump and set aside my growing conviction that his apparently treasonable actions ought to get him impeached. There are priorities and saving Earth would require keeping him in office no matter the irony. Of course, if he proved to be as incompetent fighting aliens as he has been running the US, I’d put my obsession with Democracy on hold and support a coup d’etat. I’d give him about two weeks to screw up,

This post is not the first one in this blog to explain that no one has ever made me angrier in my entire life than Art Johnston. Yes. That Art Johnston! The Art Johnston who alienated me from half of Eastern Duluth as I rose to his defense. Long before we became allies, Art had pissed me off to no end. I sent him an email a few weeks before his first election in 2013 telling Art. “I hope you win. It will be the worst four years of your life.”

As for my new surprise benefactor, I will make it a point to invite him to have coffee with me. Its likely that his sending me a check was 90% mischievousness and 10% good government. That’s OK by me. I’ve made some mischief myself over the years, especially when old fossils try taking us back to the age of dinosaurs.

My plate’s too full. I guess I like it that way


This is appropos of nothing. Its one of a hundred print ads my Mom drew for a boutique shop in Mankato Minnesota from the 1970’s through the 80’s. I check out a Facebook Page dedicated to the city and found that someone had asked a question about the history of Harpies Bazaar and since my Mother was one of the Harpies I offered some insights. There were dozens of its former patrons who raved about the shop on Facebook. I told them that this was one of a hundred or more print ads that Mom drew for Harpie’s advertising.

Attending to this took twenty minutes or so mostly to find some samples of her ads. It was a small diversion but I’ve got some bigger ones planned. Tomorrow I’ll head over and offer my voice for the next Duluth Symphony Chorus, practices every week until November 23. Then tomorrow I’ll start putting up thirteen more new storm windows for our church. I’m also getting the last bits of paperwork I need so that I can start substitute teaching in the Duluth Schools. I picked some elderberries for making jelly this afternoon. I keep posting in this blog and putting an hour in a day for French practice. Somewhere in this schedule I’m campaigning for the School Board and every now and then I peck away at the book I’ve promised my donors about my witness of America’s public education system.

The best part of all this is that I’m not getting any panic attacks when some of the more optional items get set back like the book-writing part. The challenge for me is trying not to wake up for long stretches at night pondering how to save America. Mostly I’ve been able to fall back asleep. I guess my plan, as such, is to stop blogging after the election no matter how it turns out. That will give me more time to write that book. Late perhaps but with almost two months to prepare for the School Board should I make it back on in January.

BTW – the Congressional run I’ve threatened again. That too is optional and, other than having a heart attack at every hammer blow our President pounds out to divide America, I’m feeling not a particle of pain.

And after reading the news and studying French the campaign continues

This time the Reader placed my latest ad on page 8 which seemed like a promotion from page 49. I sent this one in on the weekend long before the School Board fireworks blew up this week. It certainly seems topical.

I also authorized my campaign mailing to go out to another precinct. It might be in people’s homes by Saturday. I have another five precincts to go after the first two. I have enough in the bank to cover two of the remaining precincts.

I’ve also dug deep into my pockets to pay for some Facebook advertising. So far I’ve spent Continue reading