‘Boston’ Category

 

Readin’ and Writin’ and ‘Rithmatic

Linda Lou Burton posting from Little Rock, Arkansas – Do you know how many students attended public schools in the United States in the 2019-2020 school year? According to the National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/, about  50.8 million – 35.5 million in prekindergarten to grade 8, and 15.3 million in grades 9-12.

About 3.7 million students graduated from high school this spring, in the strangest ending to a school year anyone can recall. I’ve heard stories from my parents of “depression years” and school schedules revolving around “cotton-picking time.” My Dad was double-promoted in high school during hard times and wound up graduating at age 16. “Daddy had been a school teacher, and he made sure I got my studies done first. So I’d go to classes in the morning and then put in a crop in the afternoon,” he told. My Mom was dealt a reverse blow – her father held her back for two of her school years; once due to a lengthy illness and once when she simply needed to help support the family. My grandfather was a carpenter, and she dug clay from the riverbank to make bricks. But both parents persevered. They made it, despite the odds.

This year’s high schoolers were hit with an unexpected, unpredictable crisis along about March. In a flurry of fears and fumbles, as the COVID-19 virus began to creep across the country, schools shifted to stay-at-home, online classes. The methods varied from state to state, even within school districts. “Let’s stay home till this passes,” was Plan 1.

It didn’t pass. Virus cases continued to go up and state governors were tasked with issuing mandates to protect their citizens. What a thoroughly depressing “rock and a hard place” to be between. We can’t let 3.5 million kids miss a senior year! But also, we can’t let 50.8 million kids sit side by side in a classroom when the danger of illness, or death, is entirely possible.

So what to do?

You know what happened, it’s past now. My two high-school-senior-grandchildren toughed it out, sitting at home with their laptops; certain hours for online classtime and individual study. Yes, you can STUDY at home (that’s normally called “homework”) but how the heck do you complete a welding class online? They missed the senior prom, the cross-country meets, the camaraderie with school chums. It all went flat.

I applaud the effort their school officials made to create “virtual graduation ceremonies” so they did get to WEAR those caps and gowns; they did get photographed with smiling faces and feted with “immediate-family-at-home parties.” And cake, of course, cake. I’ve heard stories from friends in different parts of the country that told of similar, and some very unusual, solutions for “how to make it SPECIAL for the Class of 2020.”

Life goes on, and the virus isn’t letting up as the fall “school year” fast approaches. The daily news is mostly daily arguments and accusations; we MUST do this; we CANNOT do that. The impact of school closures extends far beyond “educational concerns” or “health concerns.” Financial, emotional, practical, common-sense issues are topsy-turvy; our structured way of life is no longer certain of its footings.

I analyze COVID-19 cases every day on the CDC site; today’s totals are 2,982,900 with 145,663 deaths so far in our 50 states, the District of Columbia, and our US territories.

Top Ten List

Sometimes, I noted, it isn’t good to make the TOP TEN LIST. Today, the ten US states dealing with the highest sheer numbers of COVID-19 cases are:

  1. 399,925: New York. Capital City Albany, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Democrat
  2. 277,724: California. Capital City Sacramento, Governor Gavin Newsom, Democrat
  3. 210,594: Florida. Capital City Tallahassee, Governor Ron DeSantis, Republican
  4. 210,585: Texas. Capital City Austin, Governor Greg Abbott, Republican
  5. 173,878: New Jersey. Capital City Trenton, Governor Phil Murphy, Democrat
  6. 149,574: Illinois. Capital City Springfield, Governor J B Pritzker, Democrat
  7. 110,338: Massachusetts. Capital City Boston, Governor Charlie Baker, Republican
  8. 105,094: Arizona. Capital City Phoenix, Governor Doug Ducey, Republican
  9. 100,470: Georgia. Capital City Atlanta, Governor Brian Kemp, Republican
  10. 92,148: Pennsylvania. Capital City Harrisburg, Governor Tom Wolf, Democrat

Andrew Cuomo, Gavin Newsom, Ron DeSantis, Greg Abbott, Phil Murphy, J B Pritzker, Charlie Baker, Doug Ducey, Brian Kemp, and Tom Wolf, governors of these hardest-hit states, have some tough decisions ahead. So do the governors, and health departments, and school boards, of ALL our states and territories.

There are more than 50 million children out there whose future rocks, and rolls, on the decisions you make.

Tomorrow: Colleges

 

 
 
 

Gravel Sucking Trucks

I met with Sandi in Providence. She visited all 50 state capitols before she was 25.
Now she’s going for 50 countries before she’s 50!
We celebrated as she returned from the 40th one.

Linda Burton posting from Providence, Rhode Island – Life is full of the unexpected. For instance, I didn’t plan to be working from the edge of the bathtub this Saturday morning. Yet here I sit, laptop on my lap, door closed to the outside world. Now, why is that? Because, just outside my window, just a few feet from my workdesk, is a gravel-sucking truck. And that truck is doing what it was designed to do. It is sucking gravel off the roof of my hotel. The manager explained. “I know it’s noisy, but we have to get the re-roofing done before winter sets in. We have to remove the gravel in order to put down a new layer of tar.” Well, I 26 CAVunderstand that. So I’ll spend the day exploring Providence, no prob. “You’ll be done soon?” was my plaintive question. Ah no, the work continues through next Wednesday. The gravel-sucking truck will be replaced by a tar-spreading truck. Swapping noise for the nose-burning smell of hot tar? I’d rather adjust life plans. Instead of spending another day with my friend Sandi; instead of leisurely wandering Water Place Park in downtown Providence; instead of having Sunday brunch at CAV as planned; I’ll shorten my Providence stay and move 26 water place 4ahead to Hartford. I’ll use today to pack, and I’ll use today to summarize. I have company in this tiny bathroom. Alex and Jack crouched in the tub, watching me. If the sound of gravel rattling through a giant metal tube before crashing into the metal truck bed is deafening to me, I can only imagine how excruiating it must be to the cat’s sensitive ears. Suddenly I realized – 90% of the Journey Across America is done! “So Alex,” I said, slipping into interview mode, “what’s your favorite part of the Journey so far?” » read more

 
 
 

Boston Proper, Boston Strong

11 kennedy flagLinda Burton posting from Boston, Massachusetts – If you want to be considered a proper Bostonian, you have to understand Boston English. “Don’t worry about the poor lost New England “r’s” I learned; “we stick them onto the end of certain other words.” Some “r’s” take on an “ah” sound; you can make any Bostonian groan and roll their eyes when you cite the example 11 tour bus“Hah-vahd Yahd.” But to a non-Boston ear like mine, that’s what I hear. It’s hard (hahd) for most visitors for the first few days, but Boston tour guides plunge forward (fah-wahd) with their dialogue and the tour buses roll on. I dug a little deeper into how it works and found this rhyme: Ah final ahs just disappeah, but wheah they go we’ve no idear. Yes, those floating “r’s” grab onto words such as “idea” and stick there; I can almost hear John Kennedy’s voice ringing in from the past. I even found instructions on “How to Talk Like Kennedy” – so that vigor becomes vigah, and Cuba becomes Cuber. » read more

 
 
 

Greener Is The Grass

09 boston skyline 4Linda Burton posting from Boston, Massachusetts The other side of the fence. During my days in New Hampshire almost everyone asked “Where are you headed next?” And when I answered “Boston” I noticed eyes light up; suggestions poured forth as to what I should see, how I would love it, how they love it. Ending with “I wish I lived in Boston now.” “It still takes my breath away,” said someone I met in the New Hampshire State House, “when I round that curve and see the Boston skyline ahead of me.” Many claimed Boston as their birthplace; regaling me with tales of Fenway Park and 09 fenway signmemories of baseball games; Ted Williams, Roger Clemens, Carl Yastrzemski. The Sox Nation extends far north into New Hampshire; that’s for sure. With the Red Sox in the playoffs, the New Hampshire passion pulsated loud and clear. The Tampa Bay Rays came to Boston to play; as I rounded a curve on the New Hampshire freeway last Friday a flashing highway sign caught my attention. “Go” was the first line of warning; I expected to see notice of a detour, or road work. But the second line was “Red Sox,” followed by another “Go.” It made me smile. Today 09 trees hillswas my day to “Go” as I moved south from Concord, New Hampshire to Boston, capital city #44 on the Journey. It was less than 70 miles of smooth sailing on a freeway bordered by that famous New England foliage; traffic was moderate. Until I hit the Massachusetts line. And what did I see? Droves of cars headed north, straight into New Hampshire! Here in Boston tonight, the weather report focused on where to go in New Hampshire this weekend, to revel in fabulous autumn scenery. Sounds like a “grass is greener” kind of thing. » read more