Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Yesterday I was able to participate in two things that would have been impossible had I not retired.

Jim has shared his experiences as a "reader" at Tarkington School here for years with me over supper on Tuesday evenings.  It has been good for the little boys that he has read with--some for several years--and it has been good for him to see what teaching little ones is like.  Tarkington is a well-run school with very good teachers.  He asked me if I would be willing to read there as well. ( We are both very careful not to volunteer each other for anything.)  I agreed and he took care of all the arrangements.  Due to snow days, a garage door that wouldn't open, and my little jaunt out of town, yesterday was the first day I was able to join him and read.  

Zach was very happy to know that I finally showed up.   He was a good-sized third-grader who read quite well but in my  "diagnostic-teaching" mode, I noticed he read longer words easily and missed several of the little connecting words.  His teacher told me later he needs to work on comprehension.

Maddie was a lively first-grader who loved dinosaurs, she said.  It was a challenge for me to read the names of those dinosaurs in her book!  Her teacher told her to take tissues with her to the library because she had a terrible cold.  She certainly did, but that didn't stop her from giving me a high five directly after blowing her nose.  I was happy to use the hand sanitizer conveniently placed near the sign-out book in the school office!

I felt good that Jim was eager to have me join him in this experience.  He feels very much at home in that school and feels appreciated.  And he should be--he has made it a priority.

The other experience was joining Jim in another aspect of his life.  It was his turn to present his research at the Institute for Advanced Study at Notre Dame where he is a fellow for the spring term.   He was asked to invite four guests who were in his field and would be given the first opportunity to question him.  I was an extra guest who was not required to submit a photo and a resume or asked to present a question.   I hear about his work in the book of Jubilees chapter by chapter but was eager to see how he would present it as a whole to his colleagues.   Jim was clearly comfortable in his presentation and knowledgeable--no matter what anyone asked.  The other fellows seemed interested for the most part.

I really admired the way the whole session was run--from the delicious food catered in, to the hand-outs at each place, and to the gracious and intelligent way the director Brad Gregory ran the session.  All of the questions were good but Brad had a gift for asking the big questions about Jim's progress in his career and how he would present to non-academic audiences.

Both of these opportunities enriched my lfie yesterday.  I was always grateful for my job as well and its opportunities, but now I am happy for the changes in my life.  I am still on the email list for adult education so I cheerfully delete notices of the webinars and meetings regarding the new TASC--Test Assessing Secondary Completion.  I've moved on!


  1. Mostly just testing your comment options---this is Jeff, but I don't have most of the kinds of accounts you'd need to post a non-anonymous (would that be "nymous"?) comment. Sounds like Dad's talk was a much better format than the "read dully from your paper" style they used at his 60th a few years ago...

    1. Thanks, Jeff, for experimenting with this. Don't know why Dad and others cannot seem to post a comment.

      Yes, the format was far better--much more informal and lively. I like the mathematicians' ideas of "talks" better than those in the humanities who "read papers."