Before – Now

Before the pandemic, she’d stop at Shoppers or Aldi’s on her way home from daily Mass at St. James. She’s eat out a few times a month with friends from church. The Friday Night Fish Fry was a favorite at the Knights of Columbus.

Now every Sunday, I call to get her grocery list. Usually it includes two bananas, peach yogurt, chicken thighs, frozen vegetables, a loaf of rye bread and an ice cream treat. She still reads the Food section of Wednesday’s paper and will add any good bargains. Carrying her credit card in my wallet, I stop at Safeway and then personally deliver the bag of groceries to her condo.

Before the pandemic, she attended daily Mass in person. Afterwards she’d stand outside the large church door entance and chat with her friends.

Now she sits alone in her living watching daily Mass from the Vatican broadcast on WETN cable TV.

Before the pandemic, she played cards with 3 girlfriends on Mondays. They played hand and foot for hours. Midway, they stopped for a lunch break. Each brought something to share potluck style.

Now each Thursday, I pick up carryout and bring it over for dinner. We rotate between our favorites – Chinese food from Peking Pavilliion or Crab soup from Dogfish or chicken and rice from Moby Dicks. After we eat, we play two-handed pinochle. We play multiple hands, until one of us scores 100 points. Last week, the cards fell her way and it took only three hands for her to beat me. I keep a tally. Overall, I’m winning, 21 games to 16.

Before the pandemic, I’d call at least once a week to say hi and catch up on the phone. I’d stop by for a visit when I had time. Maybe a silver lining to this past year is it nudged me into a regular routine to make time and my mom and I are both better for it.

My mom celebrating
her May, 2020 birthday.

Traveling Back in Time to 3/2014 – The Warmup


I follow Larry Ferrlazzo and last month, this page caught my attention:
JOHN LEWIS WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1940 – HERE ARE TEACHING & LEARNING RESOURCES ABOUT HIS LIFE. As I clikced on more of the links, I saw VIDEO: MUST-WATCH INTERVIEW WITH JOHN LEWIS ON DAILY SHOW and I knew what my next lesson would be in my Reading 6 class. I would spotlight this amazing American and author and ensure my students knew about his March Trilogy series.

I decided to use a warm-up strategy I learned from the authors Kristin Zeimke and Katie Muhtaris who wrote Read the World. To engage the class, they suggest showing a photo and simply asking: What do you see? LOOK – What makes you think that? Thanks to Larry’s page, I chose this as my warmup photo:

As the clock struck 7:50am, I clicked on the TEAM link for Period 1 on my laptop computer. I then did the same on my iPad to open the chat feature. I then pressed the Share Screen button on the laptop and started to verbally welcome students who had joined my reading class. And I started seeing text appear in the chat box.

2/25 7:56 AM The bald guy looks like he just not having it today ​
2/25 7:56 AM Lots of people ​
2/25 7:56 AM i know him but not his name ​
2/25 7:57 AM It’s during COVID
2/25 7:57 AM I think that this is modern because they are wearing face masks
​2/25 7:57 AM is grampa grumpy?
2/25 7:57 AM The cool COVID mask that the bald guy is wearing
​2/25 7:57 AM] everybody has a mask on ​
2/25 7:58 AM The guy that does not have a mask is holding his fist and it could be him saying Black Lives Matter.
2/25 7:59 AM I see two people maybe protesting
2/25 8:02 AM he’s making the fist? ​
2/25 8:04 AM the black lives matter sign is a fist
2/25 8:04 AM It’s in DC I see the yellow paint on the road

I then showed this slide and revealed that the mask man is the Hononable Representative from Georgia, John Lewis. That this photo was taken this summer in D.C. on Black Lives Matters Plaza. That at that time, John Lewis was sick with terminal pancreatic cancer and would pass away 10 days later. That he spent his entire life protesting when laws were not fair for Black people. That even sick, he still joined in this summer’s Black Lives Matter Protests in D.C. And how he wrote a 3-book series back in 2014 to tell his story. It’s called March.

Next, I explained that we’d be “traveling” today, traveling back in time to the year 2014. That is when his books were first published. The host of The Daily Show invited him on to tell about his books. Let’s Get Ready to Time Travel….

Come back tomorrow, to hear how our trip went.