Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Finding Flatware

I was a young wife and stay-at-home-mom in the early 1970s. Like many women I collected Betty Crocker box tops from products I prepared and saved them to buy flatware.  I still have come of those pieces, but 45 years of wear, garbage disposals, and moves means that there are a few key pieces left and our family went on to have a couple of other sets of flatware.

Twice I've purchased flatware with purple handles only to have them begin to break.  They had been hand washed and well cared for and were disappointing.  I have determined not to get any sort of plastic handled flatware again.  A white handled set we had held up well, but the white discolored in the hard water of Gig Harbor and the handles were so heavy that they fell off plates being carried to the table or the family room.  Yes, we ought not to eat before the television, but it happens.

Betty's offerings were made by Onieda, who also made silver-plated flatware.  It really was stainless, unlike the set I bought a couple of years ago at Costco.  The forks weren't huge which I suppose is a commentary on Americans' eating habits. I only use the salad/dessert forks.

Now that we are preparing to move to a "new" home after 25 years in one space I feel a bit like a bride, collecting things I'd like to have to start the new chapter of our lives.  I got on eBay to see if there was any Betty Crocker flatware available.  There is and depending on the pattern it's rather spendy!  The Brahms is ridiculous, with a single knife going for as much as $15 so that patter, of which I may have a few pieces from Goodwill, is out.

I'd like to find a complete set of something that serves 8 and be done with it without having to get pieces thither and yon which I did for my hard-to-find Corelle wisteria.  What I won't do is go to Costco or Ross or any other store and buy flatware that is either too flimsy or two massive. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

What's Wrong with Public Schools?

I'm on a broom.  As the member of a large family of teachers, I am tired of the mindless criticism leveled at public schools, the source of which, I am pretty sure, is the mouth piece of the Right, FauxNews. 

There is at least one post floating around FaceBook purporting that the Pledge of Allegiance is no longer being said in schools.  It doesn't provide the information as to what schools aren't teaching it to children, but this fact alone is probably responsible for 9-11, ISIS, Ebola.

I worked in four public schools from 1987 to 2014 and it was always said. 

But let us step back and look at the tradition of the Pledge of Allegiance.  It's always been there, right?  It is so ubiquitous that it must have been written by one of the Founding Father's and used to swear allegiance before the troops went off to fight the British, right?  Wrong.  It was written by a socialist minister, Francis Bellamy, in 1888, paid for and marketed by James B. Upham to sell more flags.  Daniel Sharp Ford used the pledge to market not only the flags, but his magazine The Youth's Companion. Eventually Congress adopted it to the Flag Code and during the Red Scare of the 1950s added the words "under God" as a hedge against communism.

It could have been "two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame bun." I am not saying that repeating the Pledge isn't a lovely tradition meant to instill patriotism into children and adults alike--although I wish the pledge were to the country, not the flag--but is the fact that it MAY NOT be said in every American public school be what's wrong with schools?  I don't think so.

As the member of a large extended family of a dozen teachers I think that the number one problem with the learning environment of public schools are the parents of their students.  American children are by-and-large not being taught at home to respect the institution of the school, the education they are being given for free (and which plenty of children around the world are willing to risk their lives to get), and the teachers who work their butts off dealing with governmental regulations and behaviors.  The parents and coaches teach children that everyone is a winner and a perfect snowflake and when their child doesn't get the grade they think they deserve they make the teachers lives miserable.

Instead of mindlessly passing on something criticizing teachers and schools, ask questions.  Where is this happening?  Is it REALLY HAPPENING? What can I do to help schools and teachers?

The children are our future.  If we want them to continue a tradition of greatness in America let's focus on making them rational beings who can solve problems and learn all of their lives.  And yes, let us spend those approximately 17 seconds teaching them a pledge and making them take off their damn baseball caps while they do it.  Those damn caps are another blog.