Two Words. Christmas Torture.

I am mostly done shopping, which is a miracle because I refuse to start shopping before my birthday which is precipitously close to Christmas.

My son is going mad not knowing what is in the wrapped boxes under the tree.

He shakes them and weighs them and stares at them and all but moons over them.

Wrapped presents torture my son. He can't eat, he can't sleep. He wakes up in the middle of the night asking if its Christmas eve YET and can he open just ONE box?

In my heart I add this to the TOP of the list of  reasons why I don't go gift shopping sooner -- Presents in this house in November might drive this poor child to insanity.

Last night, after a glass of wine, I broke a little bit under his interrogation. I told him this short story about shopping for the BIG gift he didn't ask for, which I've been very clear is NOT an Xbox or Playstation, in a short narrative like this.

I walked into the store (him - what store? what STORE? me - I won't tell you what store, just listen! him- I'm DYING HERE AUUGGGHH) and the guy said can I help you and I said something joking to him, and he gave me a weird look, and I shrugged and as I was leaving the store a few minutes later he came to me and showed me this box and I had to buy it. 

Zack doubles over in pain like his appendix is bursting. WHAT DID YOU ASK FOR? 

 He tries, from there, to get me to tell him more and more but I stonewalled him. Nope. No way, no how. I'm maximizing the investment on this gift and thankful my kids are post-Santa and I don't have to give away credit for the best gifts to a perhaps imaginary man who may/may not show up on Duck Dynasty in a supporting role one day in 2014.

My son  moans, he sings, he dances, he wails. He is suffering, truly.  What did you ASK for? What did you SAY?

Finally, probably more from wine than from his badgering, I give in a tiny bit and give him a clue by repeating the story with one little addition.

I walked into the store - a store you've never been in, not with me -- and the guy said can I help you and I said these two words and .... and.....  he gave me a weird look, and I shrugged and as I was leaving the store a few minutes he came to me and showed me this box and I had to buy it.

My son's eyes light up like he has something but as he processes it out loud he realizes he doesn't.

 It's two words? TWO WORDS? Disney World? New House? Pet hamster? THAT DIDN'T HELP!

I pull my son to me and hug him and tell him I know I didn't help him at all, and that I love him.

Two words.

Christmas torture.

You'll see.

The Lecture.

The day has caught up with me and I know by the time I get home the kids will be starving so I drive through Wendy's.

My son likes his hamburger with only ketchup. He's picky.

I order carefully, making sure to say "hamburger with ketchup only" and then check on the screen to see that I was understood. Yes, there. I see it. I continue with the order and when I ask for spicy nuggets she says it will be a 4 minute wait. This happens every time I order them, I'm used to the wait.

I pay at the first window and the woman there hardly makes eye contact with me because she's already taking another order. I don't know how they juggle this crazy multi-tasking, and I don't want to mess them up so I stay as quiet as I can.

She hands me my receipt and points for me to go to the next window while she covers her ear with one hand, trying hard to understand the order that is being shouted at her with a tremendous southern drawl.

At the next window a woman hands me a bag and two drinks and tells me to pull up and wait for the nuggets. Fine, fine, I'll wait for the nuggets.

As I'm waiting I pull out Zack's hamburger to make SURE it had only ketchup.

Nope. It's wrong. It has cheese.

Good thing I checked, he would have flipped. The cheese is melted to the bun and impossible to pull off and since I have these few minutes waiting for the nuggets, I get out of my car and walk into Wendy's holding the half-wrapped sandwich.

The cashier waves me to the front of the line. What's wrong?

I asked for a hamburger, ketchup only, and this has cheese.

She nods her head and I go back to the car and wait for someone to bring the bag out.

Just as I'm falling into an article on blackholes and wormholes a woman appears at my window holding a bag.

I open the window to get it but she holds it a little tight and doesn't hand it over.

Instead, she takes this moment to tell me how to improve my ordering.

Excuse me but you should know that all our hamburgers have cheese. If you want a hamburger without cheese, you have to ask for the hamburger without cheese.

I'm shocked. People don't lecture me, not usually, and it takes me a beat to respond.

So asking for a hamburger with ketchup only  isn't enough?

No she says.

In  that moment, I get the impression she thinks I'm a bit daffy, a little stupid.

I should have driven away but I have to ask her, since she's made herself the designated lecturer.

OK, so you are telling me there is no difference between a hamburger and a cheeseburger? Even though they are both separately on your menu? And no matter which I order, you'll give me a cheeseburger?

She looks at me. Maybe I talked to fast. Maybe I thought too fast.

 Still holding my bag, she repeats,  If you don't want cheese on your hamburger you have to say you don't want cheese on your hamburger."

I pull the bag from her hand and smile and thank her saying not too convincingly, "You've been very helpful."

Car Talk

Despite the fact that kids should not be on campus, a series of events leaves me with my son coming to class WITH me on a horrendously rainy day.  I only have one class to teach, and there is no way I can cancel it, especially after saying over and over that there WILL BE LECTURE on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.

I  buy my son locos tacos and tell him I plan to hide him in the technology closet in the  front corner. He has his ipad and his NY Yankees ballcap which he wears like a security blanket. I think he'll be fine.

We get to class and I turn the computer on while Zack hides in his closet corner.

 Students ask questions on papers and exams and this and that, and soon enough it's time for class to start.

I lecture for a few minutes then realize my students are staring out the window at the wall of water that's coming down.  It's a great day to be in bed, to not be driving or walking or facing the world. But anyway, here we are and its the end of the semester so we have to keep rolling.

I go through the 1920s reviewing a bit and adding more. We cover the rise of the KKK and Buck v Bell and the other ways the 1920s were conservative.

Then my turns to the rise of automobiles and credit. I know where I'm going on this straight line to the economy crashing, the New Deal then the road to WW2.

My son has less faith.

Out of the corner of my eye I see him flagging me down frantically.

What? I gesture.

Come HERE he gestures.

WHAT? I gesture again, the class now giggling at our exchange.

I tiptoe over to where Zack is and ask him again, WHAT?

You're talking about cars, he says.

Yes I'm talking about cars, I reply.

You're supposed to be talking about history, he says.

I'm supposed to be talking about history? I repeat.

Yes Mom. World War 1. World War 2. History, mom, that's what you're here for.

Cars are history, I tell my son.

Cars are HISTORY?

Yes. Everything is history.  Are you impressed?

He crosses his arms and frowns a little, then leans back in his spot so I can get back to lecture.

Before FDR gets elected the rain stops and the sky clears a little.

After the students clear out I walk with him to the car, impressing him with bits of this and that and making the most out of our day together.

What? No Boxes this Year?

On the Friday before Veterans Day, Dr V -- the professor whose office shares a small narrow hallway with mine -- stood in my office door and smiled.

I had a student in the office, but the look on Dr V's face was such that I had to interrupt our deep discussion and ask WHAT???

Melissa, he said in a deep voice accented with his breeze of African lilt, every year for Veterans Day, every YEAR, there are bags and boxes and lines of students filling the hallway with donations. What happened? 

I sit quietly and nod.

He's right. I haven't mentioned this. I figure people usually DON'T talk about what they aren't doing, so I'm completely in the scope of normal.

I didn't tell my classes this semester that all my other classes for uncountable semesters have pulled together for a variety of causes and events from sending boxes to soldiers at war to throwing dinner parties for local vets living in transitional housing. I didn't tell them about how much fun previous classes have had.

I didn't tell them anything because this semester they aren't doing it.

That's right. This semester I stopped having a service project and substituted it with a large research project, asking my students to prepare a slice of history "only they can tell."

Why? Good question. I have an answer.

Last Easter my students and I delivered over 50 baskets to the doorsteps of veterans living in transitional housing. We worked up a huge sweat going up and down the stairs bringing baskets of chocolate and toiletries and treats but no one complained, no one got tired.

On Easter Day I woke up extra early to bring baskets and bags and boxes to a group home of profoundly disabled adults where Alex, one of my students, lived.  We had a blast and I took a bunch of pictures.

That afternoon when I got home, my 9 year old son Zack walked up and looked me right in the eye.

"No Easter eggs, and no Easter basket this has been a strange Eater," he said, in a voice that sounded like he was trying to figure this out.

"Oh no," I said.

I wanted to say "Oh no I completely forgot to take care of you" but that sounded worse.

"So either the Easter Bunny is fake or he forgot me," Zack says and I realize the depth of my transgression.

I spent the day before Easter fixing up baskets for strangers. I didn't boil eggs, didn't hide eggs, didn't buy basket grass or Cadbury eggs.

Nothing. I lost myself in work and my students and forgot my son (and my daughter, who actually didn't mention a thing or complain, but ohhh she has her days, it just wasn't THIS day).

Zack won't always  be in elementary school, he won't always want to study vocabulary with me, talk about Minecraft with me and generally interrogate me about miniscule facts he doubts, but while it lasts I need to be open, I need to make space.

And that's why, this year on Veteran's Day, there were no boxes, no baskets, no dinners.

This year I'm working a little harder at being Zack's mom, every chance I can get.

AMH 2020 MWF Exam #3 Study Guide*

Here are the possible questions for Exam #3:
20 will be on the exam @ 10 points each.  
Prepare notecard-sized answer, not ½ page essays!
I will grade as following:  correct= 10 points, half correct= 5 points, incorrect = 0

1.     How did the Bikini get its name?
2.     Explain “nuclear family” and the context from which it received its name*
3.     Explain the Baby Boom
4.     Why and how did the USSR support Castro’s Revolution?
5.     Why was General MacArthur fired?
6.     Explain the Creation of Israel (1948)
7.     Connect: Chinese Civil War, Taiwan, UN Security Council and 1950 Korean War
8.     List 5 NATO Countries
9.     List 5 countries that received Marshall Plan money
10.  List 5 countries on the Soviet side of the Iron Curtain in Europe
11.  List the US Presidents from 1940-1968
12.  Question on Berlin Blockade and Airlift
13.  Question on Iron Curtain Telegram
14.  Question on 1953 Kinsey Report
15.  Question on Langston Hughes’ “From Beaumont to Detroit”
16.  Question on Japanese in the US during WW2
17.  Question on NSC-68
18.  Question on Atomic CafĂ© Videos
19.  Question on Building Berlin Wall Video
20.  Question on Castro’s rise to power in Cuba
21.  Question on Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan
22.  Question on Suez Crisis
23.  Question on Francis Gary Powers
24.   Question on The Rosenbergs
25.  Question on Cuban Missile Crisis
26.  Question on Operation Pedro Pan
27.  Question on “The Problem that has No Name”
28.   Question on “A Young Woman Who Swallowed a Lie”
29.  Question on Mrs. America
30.  Question on House of the Future Video
31.   Question on Bay of Pigs
32.  Question on Operation Mongoose
33.  Question on Operation Ajax
34.  Question on Levittowns
35.  Question on Women and Work 1940-1970
36.  Question on GI Bill of Rights (1944) 

C is for Cookie Butter

For just a few precious days I have nothing to write, nothing to grade and no Science Fair project to fund and document.  

I won't tell you where I went (hint: it rhymes with Trader Schmo's) but I can tell you it was quite an adventure. It was much more bare boned than I'd expected, with smaller aisles blocked by people apparently picking each other up while drooling over triple dipped chocolate cherries and the such.

I bought a few things to cook spaghetti for dinner, and found it didn't cost more than Publix or Target, and the packages were an exciting break from the national brands that usually  dominate my selections. Besides that, I bought this. 

I found it by a jar of swirls of chocolate and peanut butter, hanging out where nutella would have been at another store.

Cookie butter. My inner cookie monster roared with excitement.
I brought it home and tried it with a spoon. 

It tastes like ground up sugarcookies, mixed with...sugar? and a little graham crackery flavor. 

 The advice printed on the jar of cookie butter says to spread it on toast, pancakes or waffles, but I strongly suggest that unless you have great life insurance you should stick to eating it with a spoon while quietly hoarding it from your loved ones. 

AMH 2020 - For Exam #3 (11/15)

*In addition to the videos posted on Blackboard for Exam #3

Review: Berlin Blockade and Airlift

Review: Iron Curtain Speech

New/Required: NSC-68

Review: Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan

New/Required: Francis Gary Powers

New/Required: Rosenbergs

Review: Korean War

Review: Cuba

Review: Part 1 of Feminine Mystique: “ The Problem that has No Name”

Review Lecture: A Young Woman Who Swallowed a Lie

Required: Mrs. America
Required: House of the Future

AMH 1041 Research ideas and Feedback. Insert smiley face. Draft 1 Due 11/12.

The time my grandfather was stuck in a hole during WW2.*Yes! Where was he? what unit was he with? What was he doing? Place it in the context of the bigger war.

Where my great-great grandmother came from. *Perhaps. This could be a short essay and not very story-liscious. [ex: “I looked her up on Ancestry. I found out she’s from Alabama.”]

My grandfather’s role in the race wars of Boca. *Absolutely, definitely. I demand you forget your other topics and write on this.

I’m supposedly a part of the Black Foot Indiana Tribe. *You must must must go find this out. Who told you about this? How would they have known? Your story will be great, no matter what you find out, as long as you tie it to the bigger picture in American history.

History of how my family has been pressed down. *This sounds pretty general; hunt for a story that represents many of the challenges and tie it to US history.

  • How and why did my family come from the US to Cuba?
  • My great-grandparents journey from Germany to the US.
  • How my family arrived here from France.
  • Why my grandfather came from Armenia to America.

*If you can tell a detailed narrow story that covers their actual trip --  or maybe the three month period that included leaving and settling in -- this story would be a winner.  In the wrong hands, this could be a stale narrative of dates and places. Make sure to add history. Were they part of something bigger? What pushed them? What pulled them? What did they bring? Who did they know? Who helped them when they arrived? What cultural tools/baggage did they bring that helped or hurt them? Did they plan to come forever or were they just coming for awhile?

My grandmother was born in 1916; can I write about all the changes she’s seen in the decades of her life? *That would be very broad, to make this a “story” try limiting it to one specific sector she’s seen the most amount of change.

My great-uncle’s experiences fighting the Korean War. *Yes but make sure it isn’t a listing, it has to be a story.

Story about my great grandpa in WW2. *Pretty vague; go find the story!

My family on the Mormon pioneer trail. *Delicious. Green light.

My great grandfather operated mines in Arizona. *There have to be stories there!

History of my family moving from Italy to Vermont. *I’d definitely like to see what you can find as far as push/pull factors and whether they were part of a chain migration, perhaps as groups of skilled craftsmen to build cities?  

Story of my ancestor who worked for the King of England. *Interesting but if you’re using it for this class it has to be tied deeply to the narrative of US history. Was this at a crucial point in US-British relations?

My family’s educational history. *This could be interesting – but make sure it isn’t a report, it needs to be a story.

My family’s journey from plantations to office work.*Delightful.

A family legend. *Maybe. I need to know the legend and whether it can be linked to something substantial.

My grandma’s life on a plantation. *Perhaps. This could be too much of report. If you pursue this, I suggest you focus on a story about a single event that showed challenges/opportunities that characterized much of her life on the plantation.

Why my grandfather went to prison. *Maybe. You might get a simple answer, and not one you’d  want published in a book. His action has to tie to bigger themes in US history, so if you don’t know why he was arrested then you can’t know if it’s historically relevant.

Why I am the only light skinned person in my family.  *Well, asking that question can bring out a lot of historical themes. I won’t tell you to not do it, but I’m not sure it’s something that can be sorted out and written about in the limitation of the deadlines of this class.

Why is there a family war? *This is a question worth asking, however it probably won’t tie to US history. Or it might.  Either way, there could be an easier story to research.

History of my grandfather’s struggle. *That’s along the right lines, but I need to know what kind of struggle. Was it interior or exterior? Physical, mental, legal?  Just that I’m asking these questions means you could be on the right track.

History of my great-grandfather’s house in Chicago. *That could be interesting, it could be part of the 1920s housing boom, or earlier? Go find out!

Why my grandfather came to America and then went back. *Interesting. Go find out if it was a family obligation, or social pressure, or WW2?

What my grandma did while my grandpa was away at war. *This sounds interesting! Green light.

How my family created a candy company years ago. *This could be interesting; keep it a story and not a report, and make SURE to connect the story to US history.

Religious history of my family. *Green light. Make sure it is a STORY and it isn’t a “report” and that it ties to larger events in US history.

How my grandfather went from being the manager at a coal mine to starting his own coal mine company. *Yes. This will be interesting; place it in context of some history of the mines in the region he works.

History of my grandmother’s marriage. *It depends! Can you narrow it down to one good story and tie it to US history?

What secret my family hid in New Jersey. * Do you know it or are you going to find out? Do they want you to write about it and have it published in a book? Does it tie to US history? This could be great, or it could be an awful idea.

Why running from the Navy made sense. *Who? When? Were they dodging the Vietnam draft? Or WW2? This could be interesting.

The factories my grandmother worked at in Philly. *Maybe! Can you narrow it to a story on why she started or the day she got promoted or overcame a challenge? Need to tie it to US history.

How my family became wealthy. *Can it be told in a story and tied to US history? And before you submit it - Are you sure your family wants you to publish it?

My grandmother was the first to go “Greek” in our family. *Maybe. You have to get a story at the core of this – was she encouraged? Discouraged? How did her family react? How did this affect the rest of the generations of your family? Tie it bigger trends in US history.

Learn more about my grandfather I never met. *I’m not sure you’ll be able to learn a good story and connect it to US history, but then again there could be treasure waiting for you if you research this. It’s up to you.

Why my grandfather was an orphan. *Maybe. Do you know the story already, or is it hidden in sealed files? This could be too tough to research in our limited time.

History of my religion.  *This sounds way too big, and more like a report.

My great grandfather’s ship gets torpedoed and he survives for 5 days on a raft. *Go research it! This could be great. And if it turns out to be a family legend, that would be an interesting story too.

How my grandfather became the mayor of Naples, Florida.*This could be really interesting! Was he the first of anything – first in your family to run for office? First in your family to live in Florida (pioneer!)? You have to tie this to US history….What major issues in the US or locally caused him to run or affected his term?

History of my Mom’s first car. *This could be interesting. Make it a story, and it has to tie to US history and not be a listing of specifications etc.

History of the Chattahoochie Crazy House. *I’m not sure that’s what it was called. This story has to be something only YOU can tell; what do you bring to this? Ex: you from the community and always heard legends that now you want to research.

How my cousin went AWOL from the military. *Well, um, is he (she?) OK with you writing about this and having it published? If not, drop it like it’s hot.  If you do write about this, could be quite a story, especially if it ties well  to our current wars. If the story doesn’t tie to any bigger picture issue, you might want to look for something else to research.

The history of my church. *Could be good. Could be great. Depends. If you mean “the Catholic Church” then this is too huge. If you mean a particular congregation that has historical roots, this could be good, but it can’t be a report. It has to be a story, perhaps of the impact the church had on a particular movement or neighborhood or mission. Tie it to US history!

The history of racism and how it affected my grandparents. *OK – but narrow it to one well-told historically grounded story that captures the essence of their challenge.

The history of how my grandparents met at a bar. *They want you to tell this?? Well, is it historically relevant? Ex – was he shipping out to Vietnam? Or returning from the Korean War? Or had they just marched at a protest?

How one side of my family became sharecroppers on a plantation in Georgia. *This could be a great story if you know the moment they became sharecroppers, and place it in context of the bigger picture of sharecropping/what challenges they faced.


We are walking out of Target after each of the kids spent their $20 and I bought coffee.

Zack has a large nerf sniper gun.

Zoe has cute white shoes.

 I'm wishing I'd bought myself something but what I need to do is get us home so I can get writing and finish my report.

As we start to cross the parking lot Zack grabs my hand and asks, "Does this mean you're going to be invisible when we get home?"

What? What? I ask, snapped out of my daydream about the Almond Joy bar I didn't buy.

"Does this mean when we go home and try to talk to you, you're going to put your hands over your ears and shout I'M WORKING! I'M INVISIBLE! I'M NOT HERE, YOU CAN'T REALLY SEE ME SO DON'T TALK TO ME!"

I pat him on the head and agree, yes, Mom has HUGE deadline to meet, but I'll try not to act crazy. 

He nods his head then slings his huge weapon into the car, and pulls it across his lap ready for whatever comes next. 

AMH 2020 Exam #2 Images: 6 will be on Exam #2 @ 10 points each

The US is not socialist. The US is a country. We have people.

On a particularly gorgeous October Friday, I decided to reward the students who came to my afternoon  class by giving them a "can't get it wrong" assignment.  Everyone who is in class and submits an answer gets credit, and I use the responses to gauge where to target pieces of my upcoming lectures.

This particular day I asked a two part question: 
1) Is the US a Socialist country?  2)  How do you know?

15 students nailed it. 

Here’s a sampling of the rest.

  • I think the US is socialist because the government allows people to do things like start their own businesses.   
  •  I think America is pretty social with other countries and does a better job talking and dealing with them.
  • The United States is socialist. We tend to lend things. But we aren’t under a dictator.
  • I have no idea if the US is socialist. But I’m going to say yes.
  • No idea. I’d guess C. C is always the answer.
  • I’m going to go with “no” because I have a 50/50 chance of being right.
  • Yes, we are socialist because we get our arms from importing and exporting.
  • Yes we are socialist in the US because we talk about things and our opinion is supposed to matter.
  • Yes? I’m guessing…. Something about Obama?.... I don’t know.
  • US is not socialist. I know this because when someone says “socialist bastards” they’re talking about other countries.
  • No, the US is not socialist because we are better than any country since we are not like any other country.
  • Yes, the US is a socialist country. We have the public media and what spreads by word of mouth.
  • Yes. I have no idea what socialism is but we do it with other countries.
  • The US is not socialist. The US is a country. We have people.
  • Sure we are socialist. And I’m basing my answer on the firm principle of guessing. 

Like a Monet: The Same Love, a Different Life.

Looking at a map of Europe I see another Cuba, another island that is the crossroads of continents, placed near a precipitously dangling boot of a peninsula.

Sicilia. Sicily.  Sometimes independent,  sometimes split in two, sometimes conquered, never isolated.

This whole journey is making me see that no island is an island, and that I'm ending up all the way over there is not even a surprise at this point.

People on that island (and all islands, even the British Isles) are pushed an pulled by forces bigger than themselves - war, famine, plague, tidal waves, opportunity, hope, and a never ending parade of  boats bringing things, taking things.

 Sicily in the 1850s was pulsing with the conflict that would result in the unification of small states that would become Italy. Exports were dropping as California began to dominate the US market for citrus and olives and other delights that had once come from this region.

I'm not exactly sure if Jean Soldani family packed up and left because he was destitute, because he feared violence, or maybe because some family tragedy left him unable to live on this small island and keep their sanity.

Or maybe he left after years of planning and saving and writing letters to friends already in New Orleans, epicenter of the Creole Catholic Caribbean, preparing their way for a prosperous future.

In 1883, soon after his 23rd birthday, charming Sicilian Jean had an American son with Clementine Moti - her name tells me she might have had red hair or at least a loud laugh. I can't find their marriage record or anything else about them. They name him Achilles. Quite French, which was quite appropriate in New Orleans during the Civil War. I've been told that they have a daughter, too, I'm told, although I can't find a single record anywhere about her.

I hunt for women with her last name who lived in New Orleans at any time in their lives. She could be Maria, or Eugenie or Isoline or Guiseppina Soldani. Or maybe she was a half-sister or step-sister or a cousin raised as a sister?

What I know, or at least I've been told, is that Achille's parents died in a shipwreck off Cuba.

Why they were in Cuba or near Cuba during her 10 Years War is mystery to me.  Maybe they were travelling from Sicily or maybe to South America to look for land.  Maybe they weren't shipwrecked at all, maybe they died of Yellow Fever and the shipwreck story added a bit of cayenne to story.

The children, Achilles and his sister (Maria? Eugenie? Isolde? Guiseppina?) perhaps were entrusted to an orphanage in New Orleans. I know enough as a researcher and historian to shudder at the idea of an orphanage. Primitive sanitation (no running water, no disposable diapers, babies everywhere) meant no institution was immune from  periodic attacks of influenza, yellow fever and scarlet fever.

Achilles Soldani appears without his sister in the 1880 census; he is listed as living with a young couple -M. and E. Rabalais - in Placheville, Louisiana.

There are no additional lines; the household was only three people. For whatever reason -- perhaps it was better she stayed with the nuns? perhaps it was unfit for a young lady to be out on a farm? -- the family did not bring Achille's sister to live with them.

Family legend has it that he visited his sister in New Orleans, often. That was quite a distance before cars and highways.

All we know is that they loved each other, and life separated them.

Achilles became a farmer and had a large family. One of his sons would become my great grandfather.

My parents became engaged on their first date. It was if they re-found each other, remembered each other.

  When my father went home he announced he was engaged to Maria. "Maria who?" they asked and he famously replied, "Doesn't matter, it's going to be Soldani."

 They have been inseparable since.

Like Achilles, my father has become a modern day farmer, growing delightful crops of Fancy Hibiscus.

My mom has spent a great deal of her life working with nuns, with kids, with refugees and the poor.

When you step back and look at it from a certain angle, like you'd look at a Monet, all the blobs become a picture and the story becomes clear.

The same love, a different life.

Maybe. Maybe not.

But just writing this part of the story gives me the courage to keep going, to tell you the part that I'm 100% sure is not conjecture or coincidence. 

AMH 2020 11:15 class rankings as of 10/11/2013


I Don't Know what Socialism is But Here is a Drawing of a Cat

Before my 11:15am lecture on the New Deal today I asked students to write a few sentences explaining what they they think Socialism is. 

 I haven't covered this in class yet, so what the students write comes from previous teachers, the media and .....? 

In a class of 80, about 20 students nailed the answer.  Here are some of the rest. 

In communism there is one crazy guy with all the power. In socialism there a group of crazy people running things.

Socialism is where immagration is excepted.

I have no idea what socialism is but here is a cartoon of a cat. ;-)

Socialism is a country where people have some sort of opinions.

Socialism is when you agree with the government.

Socialism is where the government doesn’t control the people. The people are allowed to vote for president.

Socialism is the idea that conservation saves the earth, not war.

Socialism is where people provide input and laws are based on the majority.

Socialim is where the government assigns people food and jobs and monitors everything they do. Basically. 

Socialism is where the government makes people from different backgrounds come together and make one culture.

Socialism = Government controls your LIFE

Socialism is being able to talk to other countries without having to go to war.

Socialism is a country that socializes with its people very well. They’re always on the same page, no disagreements.

Socialism is no classes, ie: Fuck the social classes, everyone is on equal playing field. Socialist countries fail because there are all ways snobs who want to be snobs.

Socialism is the believe everyone should receive equal treatment from the government. Example – if everyone in class takes an exam, everyone gets awarded the class average, not what they earned on their exam.

Socialism is different from communism because of the people.

Socialism is when two countries have a good agreement and can stand each other. Communism is different its when they are all about taking over.

Socialism is the idea that the government should be based on social policies and not political ones.
I know what socialism is but I didn’t have my coffee today.

Socialism is a government and peace.

Socialism is where people are valued by the government.

Socialism is like Obamacare, right?

Socialism is when the government rules over every aspect.

Socialism is when countries like Cuba and China don’t have communication with other countries.

Socialism is where a bunch of Hindus go to a Japanese wedding and learn to make spicy curry.

Socialism is when the government is the most important aspect of the country.

Socialism is where the government runs based on what the people choose.

Socialism is a party of people who come together.

Socialism is where people can assume a separate style of life and can co-exist amicably.

Socialism is where you can expect equal pay for your job. Unlike capitalism.

Socialism tries to eradicate poverty.

Socialism. (entire answer)

Socialism is where the government allows the society to make all the rules. So instead of having a government to tell you what to do, you can vote on laws you want to follow.

WW2: Fill in the Blanks #Pretest

Pretest Question: 
WW2 started in _____ when ____ and _____ declared war on _____ for invading ________.

No joke, about half the students knew this answer quickly.

Others were a little less certain.

Some weren't even grounded in reality.

WW2 started in the late 1900s when Europe and Asia declare war on the 1900s for invading them.

WW2 starts in 1900 when France and Spain declare war on the world for invading Cuba.

WW2 started in 1940 when Japan and the US declare war on treaties for invading peace.

WW2 starts in 1962 when America and Russia and Korea declare on Japan for invading Japan.

WW2 starts in 1842 when Japan and the US declare war on 1843 for invading Japan.

WW2 started in Germany when Germany and the US declare war on Germany for invading Germany.

WW2 started in 1942 when the US and Germany declare war on Japan for invading Pearl Harbor.

WW2 started in the 1920s when Germany and Russia declared war on the US for invading Germany.

WW2 starts in 1942 when US and France declare war on Germany for invading Hawaii.

WW2 started in 1941 when England and the US declare war on Spain for invading Pearl Harbor.

WW2 started in 1936 when Germany and Austria-Hungary declare war on United States for invading Austria-Hungary.

WW2 started in 1940 when US and Britain declare war on Germany for invading Russia.

WW2 started in 1939 when England and France declared war on Germany for invading Berlin.

WW2 starts in 1942 when America and France declare war on Japan for invading the US.

WW2 starts in 1830 when Germany and Russia declare war on Japan for invading them.

WW2 starts in 1940s when England and Spain declare war on France for invading Germany.

WW2 starts in 1950 when Europe and Asia declare war on the US for invading Russia.

WW2 starts in 1812 when Spain and America declare war on China for invading China.

WW2 starts in 1992 when France and Russia declare war on the US for invading Spain.

WW2 starts in 1910 when France and Britain declare war on Japan for invading the US.

WW2 starts in 1850 when England and Russia declare war on China for invading France.

WW2 starts in 1948 when the US and Holland declare war on Germany for invading Israel.

WW2 started in 1940 when France and Russia declare war on Britain for invading Germany.

WW2 started in 1995 when Germany and Russia declar war on Great Britain for invading Czechoslovakia.