Cornfields, Windmills & Kids
Hello, Squid Fans!
I’m home! Back to Squid Row and the ocean, and the familiar places I know! Back to Salinas where I will never utter the words “there’s nothing goin’ on here” ever again. It’s been a wild week full of “middle of nowhere-ness” and mid-western kids in learning, and traveling by car & plane. It’s nice to be… not moving at present.
It’s a long way to Dayton, where I flew into by way of Atlanta. In Dayton, my mom picked me up and we drove the four and a half hours to Sheldon, Illinois, where George (Mr. Earl the Squirrel) Scheber lives. It’s just on the inside of Illinois from the Indiana side on Route 24. You must understand, Sheldon and the 3 or 4 communities around it are very small. We are talking no movie theaters or bowling alleys… nothing. Just cornfields, scattered windmills, and these little towns, some of which appear to have grown very little since the railroad was built. George’s Carnegie Library is in the little itty bitty town of Gilman.
On Monday morning, the bus pulled up with loads of third graders. Half came to me to learn how to draw cartoons and half went downstairs to talk about storybooks with George and the visiting Aurora University students. After about an hour, we switched groups and repeated the process.
Then all the kids sat down with the student teachers from Aurora University and they wrote stories, complete with cartoons. After that, the kids read them aloud in front of their classmates. Tuesday and Wednesday brought more buses and more 3rd graders and more fun with learning to write and draw. By the end, we probably saw over a hundred and sixty kids.
I have to say that the AU student teachers and their instructors were a hoot. Brian & Joan and all the AU’ers were a joy to work with. There’s always an energy surrounding college folk. They’re thinking, learning, moving in a direction… I love it. They worked so well with the kids, prodding them along, and inspiring them. And throughout the whole 3 day event, my mom was “Library Mom” putting lunches out and sharpening pencils and generally doing the behind the scenes stuff. I was ever grateful that she was able to come and be part of this whole thing. I got some “Mom time” which was the total best.
Ps. I went back and read all your “Squidly” comments… and added my own. I didn’t plan this storyline specifically for when I was gone, but I am glad that you all carried on such fascinating conversations and observances without my “dropping in.” I was intrigued with your thoughts on Randie’s behavior t’wards Emily and the jealous feelings she was having.