Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Seventy Five plus 85

Time for a short blog tonight.

Went to see my doctor today. She had taken blood samples on Monday. My A1c was 6.0, chlorestrol 143, hdl 39 and blood pressure was 120/70. I was quite pleased. Dr. Audrey removed a wart from my forehead with liquid nitrogen so now there is even less in my head.

In an effort to find out if anything else was left, she recommended a ultrasound of my karotid (sp?) arteries and a cat scan of the pimple between my shoulders. The technician told me the artery ultrasound looked very good but the cat scan would have to be read by the radiologist. Stay tuned.

Missed a whole day on the job. Was with the "boss" tonight and he didn`t fire me or threaten to lower my pay. What a nice guy.

It is colder here now than it was in January. The temperature is in the thirties and there is a nasty cold wind out of the north. I`ll be glad when it is April.

I told you it would be short.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Seventy Five plus 85

So now you know how I brown nosed my way through the first six grades. Tonight we will talk a little about grades seven and eight.

Our home room teacher was Miss Lucille Stalker. A beautiful blonde lady, tall and statuesque. Her home was in the northern end of Sullivan County and she had room and board at Aunt Margies. You will get a dose of AM one of these days. She was a good disciplinarian and her favorite subjects were English and spelling. More sentence structuring. She also taught mathematics, reading and business. Another teacher who was also our home room teacher in the eighth grade taught history and shop. His skill for teaching history is like mine for flying airplanes. We had no shop in our school before the "new" school was built in 1941 so we took shop at the corner gas station in Eldred, Wait and Boyd`s. It was fun, I learned a lot. Our PE teacher taught health as well as PE and was also the coach for all school sports.

The gym we played in later became town hall. The gym ceiling was so low that you could not put much arch on a basketball shot or the ball would hit the ceiling, and that resulted in an automatic turnover to the opposing team. The only school in our league that had a worst basketball court was Youngsville and they never did get a new gym, but were combined with the bigger school in Jeffersonville.

During my Junior High days, a big thing in school was a test called Physical Fitness Index (PFI). Our coach thought this was a great thing, and I failed it miserably, mainly because of the small volumne of air I could exhale from my lungs. Another problem was that the school doctor found that I had a heart murmur and it got tosssed around whether or not I should be allowed to play basketball. I did play.

Most of the boys my age and older were involved in scouts. I was never a scout but did spend a lot of years in 4-H. Head, Heart, Hands and Health. This again was a good learning experience particularly for rope tying and I made a halter for one of our cows and her calf, and also learned how to splice a rope.

To be promoted from the eighth grade, it was required to take a State Exam provided to the school by the NYS board of regents. These were three hour long tests in Math, English, History and Science. The test could only be opened with the principal in the room and we were allowed exactly three hours. Not a minute more. This scared a lot of kids, ans some kids who were smarter than the rest of us, would loose out because they were slow thinkers. If you didn`t pass you didn`t get promoted. Unlike many schools today, we were required to attend school for forty weeks, school starting after Labor Day and getting out about the end of the fourth week in June.

Coming up soon I will tell you how deep the snow was, how cold the wind, how far the walk and about all the wild animals along the way.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Seventy Five Plus 84

20 Years in Schenectady from 1948 to 1952.

When I left home on July 22, 1948 Mom cried a river and said "home will never be the same again". I guess that is what most moms think and cry about when a child leaves. I was headed for beautiful Schenectay, New York where the magnificent name of General Electric was beaconed into the sky with the words and infamous GE symbol lighted on GE`s tallest building.

I had visited there before going to work on July 23. I had found a room in a really nice neighborhood for $8.00 a week. Nothing but a room, and bath privileges shared with the family`s two young boys. My initial salary was $.84/hr. and I worked a forty hour week. I knew I had high blood plressure even back then, because I had asked and our family doctor had given me 1 BP pill to take before I had my pre employment physical. I guess I passed the physical, cause I stayed on for 37 and a half years.

For transportation I had a 1942 Oldsmobile that I had bought a little before leaving home, and the payments were $75.84 per month. After getting my daily routine down to a science, I found I could have a glazed donut and a cup of coffee at the Silver Diner on Erie Boulevard for $.35. This was my mainstay breakfast for the first two and a half years. For supper I purchased a $5.00 meal ticket that would punch out at $6.00 worth of meals. What a deal. Lunch was bought at the GE cafateria and prices were really reasonable.

Some of this I had written in an earlier blog but maybe that blog could not be found.

For going to and from work, I could drive but traffic was horrific. There were 37,000 people working for GE in Schenectady when I started. Tody the number is about 1200. A lot of the work went south where the unions were weak or non existent but the biggest majority of the work went overseas. To me, this is a very sad situation, in that where would we be today if this country had to muster together a work force capable of defending ourselves and other free nations around the world, with the skills, raw materials and manufacturing equipment and know how gone. (Go get him, White Muse).

I`ll tell you about the next ten years next time I think about it, in the meantime, get Roger a dog. (If he asks for one.)

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Seventy Five plus 83

Tonight we are "Goin to the Dogs"
We had three dogs when I was a kid. The first one was Rex. Rex was a fox terrier and had a very snotty disposition. I don`t know whose "dog" Rex was, he just was part of the family. I do not know when we got him but I do know when he left. The thing I most remeber about Rex was one day we were all picking stone from the field across the road from the house. We had a stone boat, (no, not a boat made of stone) but a wooden platform built low to the ground and pulled by our tractor. Everybody including Dorothy was working in the field and one of us looked down the road toward Julius` house and there came Rex up the road being chased by a deer. We were sure it was a doe and Rex maybe had been investigating her fawn which did not please the Moma deer. But Rex didn`t live long after that. Rattlesnakes were common around home and Rex met one under the apple tree near the front of our home. The snake bit the dog and we tried to save him. But it didn`t work out. Rex was gone.

The next dog was Barkus. He was my dog, probably because nobody else liked him. He was a neighborhood mix but predominately bull dog. I had a lot of fun with him in the winter time when he would run along beside me as I was coasting down a hill on my sleigh. I wore a leather sheepskin coat and heavy gloves and his sport was to try and pull me off the sleigh. I thought it was fun. Mom, especially didn`t think so, and Barkus left home. We would never kill or harm a dog, so I suppose some one inherited him.

The third dog was Inky, a black female Cocker Spaniel that we all loved. But this dog belonged to Pop. She knew when he was coming home from work before she could see his truck. She would get so excited, and well dog lovers, you know how that feels, to watch your peppy pup. We fed her from the table more than we ever should have and she was overweight. But she would sit up on her rump and beg for food. Ice Cream was her speciality. We never took her with us in the car, after all, five kids and the moma and the papa in an old Chevy didn`t leave much room for Inky. For a while, she slept downstairs near or in Mom and Pops bedroom. Then she changed her sleeping habits and slept upstairs in the room with AR and AS. One morning the girls awoke and Inky had died. We all missed her so much for a long time, but we never had another dog after Inky. With Inky gone, the kids grew
up and left on their own to find their own dog.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Seventy Five plus 82

Wanna go to New York City? Clarky and I did. Who is Clarky? Clarky was in AS class of `44 but he and I were good buddies. After he graduated, he worked some for Pop. He and AS dated some but by her choice, nothing ever became of it. Then he joined the Navy, sailed the world around and when he came home, he married one of AS classmates, Rita.

During the war, the Erie Railroad would run excursion trains from Port Jervis to Jersey City, the Erie`s eastern terminal, the western terminal being Chicago. For a dollar round trip fare we could ride to Jersey City and generally we could get to ride the ferry boat across the river to Manhattan. From the ferry dock, we would have to walk a while to get a subway train. Depending on where we were headed, Broklyn, (Home of the Dodgers) the Bronx (Home of the Yankees) or Ebbetts Field (Home of the New York Giants) we would find the right ride. Clarky had bought an old car, I don`t remember the make, and it had cloth pockets on the doors. We found treasure in the cloth pockets. One of the pockets was full of slugs that we could use in place of nickels in the subway turnstyles. We got to ride the subways free for quite a few trips as the subway fare at that time was only five cents.

Since there were three major league teams in Metropolitan New York at that time, we could generally plan on seeing at least three ball games. Clarky was a Giant fan so if they were home that was the usual priority. I was a Yankee fan. We most ofter went down on Friday night and came back on Sunday afternoons after the Sunday PM ball game. Once in a great while if we were both feeling rich, we would share a hotel room in a sleezy hotel. When were were not so rich, we just spent the weekend nights on the streets. Crime wasn`t a fear factor and we drank orange juice at Nedick`s and had a sandwich at Horn and Hardart`s. Hot dogs at the ball park were the usual daytime lunch menu. We never had any problems, and when the game time was hours away, we went to see whatever was free. Think about it, but don`t tell Mom.
Our most famous weekend happening did not occur in NYC. We were always worn out from our weekend experiences and on the train ride home we both slept. The train made a lot of stops, but the last couple before arriving in Port Jervis were Middletown, then Otisville, and then Port Jervis. We both slept through the MIddletown stop. And I woke up as I thought we were leaving Port Jervis. I gave Clarky an elbow in the ribs, the train was moving, and we jumped off the moving train only to find we really were in Otisville. All I had heard the conductor say was Port Jervis and really what he said was next stop Port Jervis. It is about 23 miles from Otisville to Port Jervis. We found the highway and started walking. It is about 2:00 AM on Monday morning. After walking and hitchhiking for 2 or 3 miles, a car stops to pick us up. It was a young woman and as I remember it she was on her way home from work. Listening to our story, she believed it, and took us on to Port Jervis. I think we offerred to pay her, but she wouldn`t take our money and I doubt if our combined money was more than a dollar, maybe two.

I still like to go to New York City, wouldn`t you?

Friday, March 11, 2005

Seventy five plus 80

Back to school. How did we learn? It has been said that a teacher without a blackboard is like a skunk without a scent. Who said that? I just did! Our classes were very small, probably around eight to twelve, but when three grades were in one classroom, it was fun to do the higher classes work when they were at the board. There was a LOT of board work, I really enjoyed that. We did spelling, arithmetic and English grammar at the board. English grammar was taught in how to structure sentences and where each word in a sentence belonged on a sentence diagram. To start with it was easy. Jack ran. Suzi sat. And as the sentences got more complex, with adverbs, adjectives, articles, pronouns and prepositions, it was quite a challenge for all the kids, me too. With spelling and arithmetic we would go to the board, sometimes competing with another person, some times in groups and some time alone as the teacher gave just one word to you. AR and I were the champs at spelling and arithmetic. AR probably had the edge in spelling, but I think I remember doing a little better in arithmetic, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. In the fifth grade I learned how to check my work by casting out nines. The other kids were taught as well, but most thought it was too complicated and did not learn to effectively use it. I still use it today. If you want the answer to be correct, check it by casting out nines.

I always enjoyed reading and read a lot. Some of the other kids in elementary school had real problems with reading. One of the kids I helped the most was Buck`s nephew, Adrian. In grades one and three, Miss Leavenworth would ask me to help Adrian read. I tried my best, but if she didn`t think he was learning, she would come along and pull his hair. She had told me to do that to him, but I never felt right doing it and generally made it look like punishment without hurting. I`ll do a blog on Adrian sometime, as he turned out to be as good a man as Eldred has ever seen, it was just that school housin` was never where he excelled. I was also frequently asked to help a girl, Emaline, to read but she had a very bad skin disease and no one wanted to be close to her. I was always glad when AR was chosen to help her.

The stories I liked the best were the dog stories, and I think I have read most of the books that Jack London ever wrote. As for poestry, we got a little of it in elementary school, but I never was big on poetry. That is another blog for another day. Had enough yet?

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Seventy five plus 80

My spouse remarked she didn`t think Eldred had such interesting characters. Well, there is more to tell about the McBride family, but I will do that some other night.

SWB wanted me to write about how I got through school in such a hurry. I think it must have started back in the late 1900`s when my mother first started elementary school. Her teaacher at that time was Miss Leavenworth. In the middle of the 1930`s my elementary school teacher for the first two years in school was Miss Leavenworth. And when UW started school he also had the same teacher. But by the time I had finished first grade, Miss Leavenworth decided I could do third grade work so lo and behold I jumped from 1st grade to 3rd grade. And then when it came time to go on to fourth grade and a new teacher, sort of a family friend, Georgia Styles talked things over with Miss Leavenworth and they decided to put me in the fifth grade class.

Now Mrs. Styles had been home shooling my sister Dorothy, who was severely crippled, and at that time unable to attend a public school. So Mrs. Styles came to our home every week day night just before supper time and home schooled Dorothy. I would hope in today`s school systems there is room for people like Dorothy in the public schools, and everyone that knew her, would tell you she was severely physically handicapped, but mentally she was a giant. She went on to her just rewards in 1957 but I still miss her.

There is only two things I really missed about being on the fast track in my elementary school days. I was always smaller than the other kids, and last to be chosen for almost all sports. Maybe that is why today I think of sports as an introduction to professionally cheating, lying, gambling and gross selfishness. Forgive me for not knowing more good guys like Steve Warner and Roger Staubach. I know they are out there and hopefully not in the minority. The other thing that I missed and I wish I had pursued, was the fourth grade classes always studied ancient history. I thought that was cool and still am curious about the ancient empires of the world. Maybe if I wasn`t blogging, I could be learning who some of those real old guys were and would let buck mcbride rest in peace.

There are other things, not too important. I had turned sixteen in my senior year in December, and come time for the Senior Prom and the Senior Banquet, what self respecting senior girl of eighteen, would go with a twerp who would drive and old 1936 Chevrolet with over a hundred thousand miles on it and the car forever smelled liked tobacco juice as my Dad was a tobaccoholic, but he only chewed to excess, and smoked very little. But don`t tell Mom, I aced this one. I took the cutest girl in the class to the Senior Banquet. Why? Because her Dad was extremely protective of her and I was the only boy he trusted to take his daughter to the Banquet. After that date, I didn`t sleep good again until about 1948. Who knows what`s next?