Category Archives: Writings and Thoughts

Avocado Elementary – the Science Club in 1960

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This article was published in the Miami Herald in 1960 about our science club at Avocado Elementary when I was in 3rd grade. I remember the college entomology textbook that I used to classify bugs. And the cork board I used to pin little critters and other poor specimens to in my mad scientist experiments! I recall me and Jimmy Hale spinning frogs in a centrifuge in his garage made from a washing machine motor to see if they were strong enough to stand the G forces of being shot into space in one of our three stage rockets. If they survived the centrifuge, they were promoted to astronaut. Me and Jimmy were members of the NASA junior astronomers club and took our duties seriously!

Many people are mentioned here. I am going to link to my high school facebook page at South Dade High School for tagging rights…1960 Miami Herald Article "Young Scientists" at Avocado Elementary

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I’m a vintage geek…

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Carol and I were browsing an antique store today. Lot’s of fun! But then I saw a cool booth with a bunch of older technology…cameras, microscopes, the stuff that makes me stop and spend way too much time fascinated by the gadgets of a few years ago. Then I spotted a familiar item. A Texas Instruments TI-30 Calculator. Inspecting it I looked for the tag and was a bit taken back when it was labeled, “Vintage Calculator.” Vintage calculator???? I remember when I first went to Georgia Tech the smallest calculator was a computer that took up a whole(huge) building and you needed paper punch cards to program it!! When calculators were invented they were banned from Georgia Tech for years! Had to use the slide rule… Now I’m writing this on a machine that probably has more computing power than existed in the whole world in 1968…But I’m glad to have experienced all the “vintage” advancements!

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In the easily distracted category…

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In the easily distracted category…this morning I remembered I needed to set some mouse traps. Went to the garage to get them and saw the paper on the driveway. Read the paper. Went to the garage to throw the paper in the recycle bin and realized I have a messy garage. Cleaned garage. While cleaning garage spotted the mouse traps. Decided I needed to get a flashlight from the kitchen drawer. Realized it was in the basement. In the basement saw some trash cans that needed to be emptied. Took the trash cans to the garage. On the way Minnie looked at me with that “I gotta go” look. Took Minnie about 6 steps into the rain and she gave me that “Don’t have to go that bad look.” But on the way back to the house saw beautiful raindrops on some leaves. Ran in and got my camera and spent 20 minutes in the rain photographing raindrops on leaves, flowers, trees. Remembered the mouse traps but said to myself. “Maybe those little critters need some grace for the day. That can wait until tomorrow!”

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Remembering Elementary school

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Classes are starting back for three of our grandkids and one is starting school for the first time. I am SO proud of them! They are such great kids with such sweet hearts and with such loving parents! It got me to remembering what it was like for me. A few thoughts and memories:

  • I went to Avocado Elementary in Homestead, Florida and can name all my teachers. I was completely confused when my 2nd grade teacher changed her name right in the middle of the year and erased her old name and put up her new one. I didn’t think that was necessary just because she got married.
  • I remember the smell of new textbooks.
  • I recall the fear of meeting a new teacher – or worse – a new bully. I remember being OK when they smiled at me.
  • I remember hoping my new teacher wouldn’t use the ruler for something besides measuring a line out on the blackboard. I think now rulers stay in the drawers most of the time.
  • I remember my shyness, embarrassment and fear wondering with terror if anyone would say something about my very pronounced harelip scar. I had several surgeries before 1st grade, but the plastic surgeons weren’t finished with me yet. It took several more to get my upper lip to look like it does today. (I still get the occasional question but it is usually a fellow “harelipper” or doctor who admires the work of the surgeon). The doctors said I had a “miraculous healing” about six weeks before I was born when God did my first surgery and transformed what was a complete open cleft palate into a manageable  one. It didn’t help when my very sweet second grade teacher noticed my scar for the first time while I was at the blackboard and said in front of the class, “What happened to your lip?” I think she just thought I’d fallen or busted it on the playground. I remember her being as embarrassed as me when I told her.
  • I recall looking forward to seeing my TRUE friends that never cared about things like a harelip as long as I liked to play tackle football on the playground or marbles in the sandy soil around our house.
  • Thinking back, second grade was the first class I still remember pretty vividly. 1st grade and is a blur except for the time when I had to write “I love Susan” 100 times on the blackboard. It wouldn’t have been so bad if Susan and the rest of the kids hadn’t been made to watch. She and I were a “couple” at the Maypole party (do they still do those?) and I had major crush on her. My teacher saw me write Susan’s initials on my desk and decided to let the class know this was NOT the place for fun and daydreaming – especially when it came to romance.
  • I guess being at blackboards didn’t generate my fondest memories. Maybe that’s why I spent 25 years in Toastmasters trying to overcome my panic standing in front of a group!
  • I had two aunts who never married and lived together as sisters all their lives. I remember most Aunt Peg who visited me during those years and who taught school all her life. She LOVED me so much and I know she loved her “kids” more than anything. I remember wishing she was my teacher.
  • All in all, thank you to all my teachers for investing in me and who I am sure spent years preparing to teach and were completely in love with their kids too!

Lots more memories…maybe I’ll write some more of them down some day. Today I’ll be praying for a great first day for three special people I love – and their Mommy’s and Daddy’s and Papa’s and PooPah’s and Nana’s and Grammy’s and Mimi’s who will be praying too!

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Just combined five of my blogs into one!

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I had five different blogs that I was keeping for my personal journey – my journal, my photography, my art, my digital painting, etc. Kinda decided it was time to SIMPLIFY!!! So thanks to the great folks at WordPress.com, I imported the whole bunch into a big one called George’s Road. Hope you enjoy! Pleaes give me any feedback. And I am cleaning up a bunch of stuff, so let me know if you see typos, etc.

See ya back here soon! George

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The view from my house

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I looked out and saw this fire truck a few minutes ago in front of my house responding to a wreck on our street by someone trying to get out. They stopped to avoid going down the hill and when they tried to back out, got wedged sideways on the street.

I am in Aviary subdivision off Morton Road and State Bridge in Johns Creek. Thanks to all these fine folks keeping us safe!

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Unexpected Blessings!

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We had a really disappointing dinner at a Destin restaurant Saturday night that we’d been looking forward to all day. The meal took forever and the food was cold. From there, we left for a place on the shore to enjoy the beach. By the time we got there, a massive lightning storm came up and we only had 15 minutes to enjoy the sand and surf. So things didn’t turn out exactly as we had hoped. But then, after we left the beach and drove over the Destin toll bridge, we looked west out over the water and saw the most amazing sunset! The sun was a huge orange fireball cut in half by the horizon over the water. And on the east side of the bridge was a giant wall of water hiding the eastern horizon with the massive greenish storm filled with lightning that had chased us from the beach. Amazing clouds and sky all around. If we’d been there five minutes before or after we wouldn’t have seen it. Christy said, “Bad service and a lightning storm provided us with a beautiful sunset!” I’ve been thinking about what she said and how disappointments we experience that can seem frustrating or meaningless can also lead to unexpected blessings!

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A touching male bonding moment at the Hoffman house on Saturday…

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The guys were hanging out while Christy had her wonderful baby shower with so many friends. I caught this wonderful male bonding moment between Jon, Josiah and Sam David. So touching… : )

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Josiah – the first kid to be arrested for not eating his Chik-Fil-A nuggets…

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Christy and I were sitting with Josiah and Sam David at Chick-Fil-A in Montgomery on the way back to Crestview. Carol was walking Minnie. Sitting across from us were two of Montgomery’s finest. Josiah said he wasn’t going to eat any more nuggets. One of the police officers said, “We’ve arrested kids for not eating all their nuggets,” with a smile on his face. Josiah looked at him and ate some of his nuggets. I asked if Josiah could see their police car. There has to be a cute caption in here somewhere

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When Birds Go Bad…

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