Archive for January, 2013


HostessTwinkiesWebPROMO 280
I went to a Seven-11 this morning and since it is Saturday, I really should not have been awake this early, but because of my current and temporary living situation, I HAD to get up and TCB. So on my way to collect my mail, I craved a couple Hostess Twinkies. Me and Twinkies go back to grade school. Even though I am technically allergic to chocolate, even “Devil Dogs” I could swallow without hospitalization or a visit to the doctor as long as I chomped them in moderation. Moderation is a cornerstone of my existence.

That day, I walked the aisles of the 7-Eleven several times, thinking that because it is an early Saturday morning, I must be just “not seeing” or overlooking my favorite treat of yester-year that I allow myself to indulge in periodically for the “sugar rush”, I guess, lol.

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Finally, I gave up and went to the cashier to pay for my Ocean Spray “Sparkling” cranberry drink (a new 2013 beverage fetish of mine which has replace BEER for all intents and purposes, lol). I asked him where are the Twinkies? I was then informed by this east Indian clerk (who probably never grew-up with Twinkies like I did) in broken English that “There are Twinkies no-more. Bankrupt. “Bought by a Mexican company and maybe they be back soon…” he replied. Wait a minute, life without Hostess Twinkies, Donna Summer and my Nina over in Ukraine is a life not worth living! I now always endure to change negative circumstances. Twinkies are a part of my comeuppance! They helped us wait for the school bus in the 1960s!
Something has got to change here, Ladies and Gentlemen! Bring back my Twinkies!

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For over forty years, she saw difficult students come through her elementary Special Education classroom doors in Mt Vernon, a northern suburb of New York City.  Mrs. Jones became known as an outspoken educator who trains emotionally needy, behaviorally challenged kids.  Many of them went on to become surprisingly well-adjusted citizens as adults, but when Mrs. Jones took them on they were a “handful”, as she was accustomed to describing them.  Once she had a child who would assigned for him to disrupting by breaking his assigned seating desks. As Jones described, “He would lock his big feet on both sides and rear-back until the furniture came apart. He could have injured other children in the class, so I had to put a stop to it.  I was a control freak.”

 

Her experience began as a teacher of handicapped and blind children and those years in the school wing of a mental hospital in Queens, New York honed her for the day that the principal at Garden school was trying to place for Eli, a particularly energetic and mischievously troublesome boy who had “sparkling eyes”, as Mrs. Jones would later describe them.  The secretary in the main office suggested,” I bet Mrs. Jones could handle him!”  So when the principal presented this new assignment of adding Eli to her class by saying, “I know Eli will be a challenge for you, but I think you are up to it…” Mrs. Jones replied, “A challenge to me? NO, I will be a challenge to him! Bring him on!”

 

Graham School, MT. Vernon, N.Y.

Graham School, MT. Vernon, N.Y.

Eli was a foster child in a group home who, when confined to his room as punishment in because of his many mischievous acts, would escape by climbing out of the window using the cord of one of the electric lamps! He was also a petty thief, as were several of the Special Education children, preying upon the teachers, of all people, whenever they got a chance they would rifle the desk and try to steal their purse!  One particular time, Mr. Jones caught Eli just about to reach his hand into the drawer as she returned from the hallway.  “Alright now”, she admonished, “You’re going to have to come over and meet the ‘Board of Education paddle’…” Back in those days, a teacher could, with intelligent restraint, use a bit of corporal punishment, usually with the yard stick ruler. Eli submitted to three whacks on his thieving hand from Jones and that was that – he never tried it again.  She recalls the time that she brought her daughter to school with her and let her read to the class.  This apparently fascinated Eli, as he watched and listened intently, looking up at her daughter and then back down to his book back and forth.  “I gonna learn to read like that”, Eli said in his gruffy little voice.

George was also part of Eli’s class and that year, Mrs. Jones gave a February lesson about the first U.S. President, George Washington, which included the famous “I cannot tell a lie” cherry tree incident. This must have made such an impression on George that he decided to act it out in reality.  So he went home, found a hatchet and proceeded to hack down a neighbor’s scrawny tree.  I’m not sure if it was a fruit tree, but the neighbor was not too happy about it and called the police who took the hatchet away after George enthusiastically admitted that he did it!  What else could they do (again, this was back in the 1970s when knee-jerk overkill punishment was not the rule as it is often these days).

Years later, Mrs. Jones and her husband were shopping in downtown Manhattan, New York City when a well-dressed young man in a black sharkskin suit and fedora hat walking on the sidewalk ahead of them suddenly turned around and said, “You’re Mrs. Jones! I didn’t know that I could see you here! Do you know who I am?”  

“Yes of course, you’re Eli!”, Mrs. Jones replied, extremely proud of how well her former charge spoke and looked.  She introduced Eli to her husband, and he was nothing short of polite as he shook Mr. Jones’s hand before they went their ways after brief pleasant conversation and a couple of hugs.

 

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I am particularly proud of Mrs. Jones and happily authored this piece about her because Mrs. Jones is now a retired eighty-eight year old lady – and my Mum.

 

Wow…does the theme of THIS post hit me where I have lived “with” my Nina for the past two-and-a-half years; It kind of saddens me as most “reality checks” often do. Hope you don’t mind my “reblogging” you. ~ Naphtali

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