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Milli Gilbaugh

A special teacher

Foot For Thought

I think second grade was the best year of my elementary school career. To my mind, Miss McDowel was the best teacher in the school. Every year, my uncles asked me the same two questions about school: Did I have a boyfriend? And, was my teacher pretty?

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The girl with the leg brace

Food For Thought

Eleanor didn’t come to my attention until first grade. There were two half-day kindergarten classes each day, and attending kindergarten was not required at the time. As she would have been recovering from a bout with polio, she could have been in the morning class while I was in the afternoon one, or not enrolled in kindergarten at all.

The new best friend

Food For Thought

It seems with my own children, as well as for those of my generation, the first five or six years of school involve the discovery and cultivation of a new best friend nearly every school year. By junior high and high school, friendships tend to be deeper and longer lasting, but it is a rare thing when those first early relationships survive for another year. The reasons for this may be as simple as the seating arrangement in the new classroom when school starts each fall, or as subtle as a crooked smile, a purple backpack, or a bandaged knee.

The back-to-school-sale

Food For Thought

As I look at all the things advertised as necessary for the coming school year, I remember the simple list of supplies needed for school during the 1940s when I was in elementary school. Up until third grade, about all that was required could be bought for under a dollar. A box of at least 16 crayons, two No. 2 pencils with erasers, and a tablet of lined paper.

Pommes de terre

Food For Thought

“One potato, two potato, three potato, four, five potato, six potato, seven potato more. One, two, three means out goes HE.” I haven’t heard kids chanting that counting-out verse for years, but it popped into my mind after my friend Madeline suggested that I write about potato salad. And that started me thinking about some of the things we know about and do with potatoes– as well as all the different ways we enjoy eating them.

The mother of invention

Food For Thought

It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention. I rather suspect that the invention quite often comes first and then, through fate, fad, or fashion, it becomes elevated to the status of a necessity.

Don’t d-d-d-do dat

Food For Thought

I noticed right away when the newscaster listed some driving no-nos, they all began with D. For a long time, we were warned to not drink and drive. Well, we all know better, but some of us get foolish and reckless after a couple drinks and think we have super powers and the warning doesn’t really apply to us.

What I did on my summer vacation

Food For Thought

From the time I was about 8 or 9 years old, I spent a week or two each summer at my grandparents’ farm. I don’t know what my sisters did during that time, or if our parents farmed us all out so they could have a week or so to themselves, but I doubt it. With the ambitious gardens Dad planted, and all the canning and freezing Mother would have done, that wouldn’t have been the best time for them to claim vacation time alone.

When I grow up, I want to be a...

Food For Thought

One of the television stations I watch is having another one of their summer essay contests for kids. This one is about their dreams and ambitions for the future. They are to write about what they want to be when they grow up. I’m sure there will be the predictable themes of fireman, nurse, policeman and doctor– people they have learned, early in life, to admire, as well as some of the glamorous occupations– movie actor, astronaut, cowboy, athlete, rock star.

Stop bugging me

Food For Thought

I seem to forget that I have central air-conditioning and don’t have to suffer and suffocate during those first hot and humid days that pop up unexpectedly after a string of pleasant, breezy spring days. It’s usually some time after lunch when I start to wonder if I’m coming down with something. I seem to have a fever. I feel damp and clammy. I get short of breath after the slightest effort. Then, it dawns on me. Oh, it’s hot in here. I open a couple windows and let a breeze drift through the house. Nice, but no cooler. I’m still sweating.

Walking in the rain

Food For Thought

I guess it’s a little late for April showers, but warm springtime rains remind me of many soggy days of my youth when I strolled home from school, more or less oblivious to my wet clothes and dripping hair. There was no lunch program at our schools, and just about everybody went home for lunch, and most of us walked, and we walked back again after eating what was, for most families, the main meal of the day.

It’s for the birds

Food For Thought

About six weeks ago, I watched a robin building a nest on the top of an outdoor light fixture on my deck. Since we first extended the deck to connect an added back porch to the existing deck, there has been a robin’s nest there every summer. Before, we usually put our Christmas tree out on the deck after New Year’s Day as shelter for the birds that came to the bird feeders. Many springs found us forced to delay disposing of the dried-out tree because a robin nest was neatly built in its branches.