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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Tuesday, February 27 2001

School days; teachers and mentors

Despite the "extension" given for input on the next topic on our forum, there has still been no feedback, so I'm left to choose. One experience we all share is a history of school days, though our little valley has had five public high schools in three districts since the first appeared, around 1920. Some who pop in here occasionally have gone through the present consolidated system that incorporates all three of the previous ones, but probably more, including yours truly, attended one or several of the older nonunited schools.

Though the topic is "our teachers and mentors," I'll begin with a few general comments about my schools. I was fortunate (unlike any of my older brothers) to be able to go through all 12 grades in one district, so some of those who were in my first grade class graduated with me 12 years later (there was no kindergarten in Blacklick Township). My three schools for the 12 years were Belsano School, grades 1-4, the Blacklick Township High School, grades five and 9-12, and Big Bend School, Twin Rocks, 6-8.

By the time I was in high school, there was lots of talk about "merger." Nanty Glo and Vintondale merged in my freshman year, 1956-7. In retrospect, I think the township was the best district, though probably everyone thinks that about their district. It had its own theater-size auditorium with permanent chairs and a real stage, at the Big Bend School, and a gymnasium at the high school that was bigger than the UMWA Hall used by Nanty Glo and, later, Nanty Glo-Vintondale. We still had freshman initiation and a football field that was within cheering distance of the high school.

However, being a budding writer and journalist, I was upset about the fact that we didn't have a yearbook, and that, along with the fact that my girlfriend and best buds were increasingly Nanty Glo people, made me favor merger with the other two districts. It probably helped that Mrs. Rhea Taylor, the district music teacher, my favorite teacher, and one with whom I sustained a long-term mutual admiration society, lived in Nanty Glo and probably favored the merger talks, though I don't remember her ever pushing it. My mentor from the sophomore year on, Andy Rogalski, editor of the Journal, definitely favored the merger and was never one to hold back on sharing his opinions, especially on me, his malleable understudy.

And there...one teacher and a mentor have already come into play...a pretty good start. Please share your thoughts on this topic. What makes a good teacher? Why were your favorites so favored, and why didn't you like some of the others (let's not use names in sharing negative evaluations, however). Have some of your children's teachers impressed you highly? Has the profession been ruined in this generation? That's plenty of common ground to get us going.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

The origin of pets

A newly discovered chapter in the Book of Genesis has provided the answer to "Where do pets come from?" Adam and Eve said, "Lord, when we were in the garden, you walked with us every day. Now, we do not see you anymore. We are lonesome here and it is difficult for us to remember how much you love us."

And God said, "No problem! I will create a companion for you that will be with you forever and who will be a reflection of my love for you, so that you will love me even when you cannot see me. Regardless of how selfish or childish or unlovable you may be, this new companion will accept you as you are and will love you as I do, in spite of yourselves." And God created a new animal to be a companion for Adam and Eve. And it was a good animal. And God was pleased. And the new animal was pleased to be with Adam and Eve and he wagged his tail.

And Adam said, "Lord, I have already named all the animals in the Kingdom and I cannot think of a name for this new animal." And God said, "No problem. Because I have created this new animal to be a reflection of my love for you, his name will be a reflection of my own name, and you will call him DOG." And Dog lived with Adam and Eve and was a companion to them and loved them. And they were comforted. And God was pleased. And Dog was content and wagged his tail.

After a while, it came to pass that an angel came to the Lord and said, "Lord, Adam and Eve have become filled with pride. They strut and preen like peacocks and they believe they are worthy of adoration. Dog has indeed taught them that they are loved, but perhaps too well."

And God said, "No problem! I will create for them a companion who will be with them forever and who will see them as they are. The companion will remind them of their limitations, so they will know that they are not always worthy of adoration."

And God created CAT to be a companion to Adam and Eve. And Cat would not obey them. And when Adam and Eve gazed into Cat's eyes, they were reminded that they were not the supreme beings. And Adam and Eve learned humility. And they were greatly improved. And God was pleased. And Dog was happy.

And Cat didn't give a darn one way or the other.

Sent by Trudy Myers


Now what was the sort of "hole" man had got himself into? He had tried to set up on his own, to behave as if he belonged to himself. In other words, fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: He is a rebel who must lay down his arms. Laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you are sorry, realizing that you have been on the wrong track and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor— that is the only way out of a "hole." This process of surrender—this movement full-speed astern—is what Christians call repentance.

Now repentance is no fun at all. It is something much harder than merely eating humble pie. It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years. It means killing part of yourself, undergoing a kind of death. In fact, it needs a good man to repent. And here comes the catch. Only a bad person needs to repent: Only a good person can repent perfectly. The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it. The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person—and he would not need it.

C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity

Sent by John Stamps
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