#metoo AND #justyournumber and #wherewhatwhowhen

REPOSTING, from about one year ago, adding the new hashtag: #metoo

It is with great sadness and anger that I have heard about (and read a few of) the disgusting responses on social media to the bringing forward of reports of the sexual predation prevalent in Hollywood, politics, academia: EVERYWHERE. These remarks have been cruelly and ignorantly denigrating and re-traumatizing sexual assault survivors.

BELIEVE US.

maxresdefault
from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDLVDzaw2vc

I noticed that whatever details a survivor provided, some creeps decide to question, argue, judge or condemn, doubting and despising her for reporting her experiences.

I call BULLSHIT.

bullshit-pile
from http://Canstockphoto.com

Is anyone unclear on this concept? Really?

sa-definition
from Human Response Network

Give them nothing to respond to except a number, I say. Then, where is the argument?

#justyournumber (mine is a countable 46, but decidedly higher) allows survivors to report our sexual assaults, molestations, public exposures, sexual coercions, rapes, and any other kinds of private or public sexual threats, to be counted. No arguing.

Then, I thought, what about locations or one or two salient facts? Let’s provide those lucky enough to have no or low numbers or anyone else who is interested with some context. We need more people to begin to grasp the breadth of the problem.

By the way, when you read my or anyone’s list, imagine trying to “report” these incidents: to whom? with what results?

#justyournumbers is now joined by #wherewhatwhowhen

46
—30+ assaults by “family friends,” teachers and family members, starting at age 5, including a step-uncle who was a teacher. This man assaulted me (at age 10) in his classroom after school while my grandmother and his father (her second husband) were talking in the hallway outside the classroom. Our 6th-grade teacher, Ken Weber (long dead), at Central School in Olivette, Missouri, molested almost every girl in my class whose breasts had begun to develop by “dropping” paper clips, chalk or pencils down the fronts of our blouses and retrieving them with his own hand. As a freshman at the University of Wisconsin/Madison, all the female students were required to strip down to our underwear and pose for “posture pictures” during our Physical Education “exam.” I later found out that these questionably obtained “soft porn” shots were circulated, sold and posted in multiple locations for many decades;

—3 assaults on a bus (2 public exposures and 1 molestation), all while in my pre-teen/teen years. One very large young adult who was one of my “campers” had Down’s Syndrome. When he molested me by trapping me in the aisle of the bus (he was 6′ tall and about 225 pounds to my 5’1″ and 120 pounds) and mashing his hands all over my breasts, the older counselor told me “he couldn’t help it” and not to yell at him, but just to “push him away and go sit down.” This was in 1972 in St. Louis, Missouri;

—2 assaults/maulings while walking in daylight in public spaces on a college campus. One was a teen on a bicycle who grabbed my breast, squeezed hard, laughed and rode away; I was in my 30s. I DID go to the “campus police” who practically laughed and didn’t even write down my report. This was at Yale University in the 1980s (I was there attending a professional conference).

—3 molestations/assaults by employers/supervisors, starting in college and continuing through my young adult years. While working in Food Service in the dorms’ cafeteria as part of my Work-Study financial aid program at the University of Wisconsin/Madison in 1972, a supervisor trapped me in the storage area, assaulted and tried to rape me. I managed to kick him in the groin and get away. I never went back to that job and had to find another one;

—3 sexual coercions involving drugs in private homes at parties, by high school peers;

—5 sexual assaults by “dates” (whom I did not date again) who grabbed/fingered me without asking before I even knew they were going to do that, starting in my early twenties and spanning into my late 50s, in cars, private homes, an outdoor party, a beach.

There were also uncountable male psychopaths, strangers who felt entitled to engage in assaults on my body via random ass-grabbing, “accidental brush-bys” and other groping and sexual attacks, including making kissing or sucking sounds, while I rode on public transportation vehicles or stood in waiting areas and hallways in various USA cities, throughout my teen and young adult years.

Some jerks repeatedly yell out horrible, horrendous street harassment comments, known unaffectionately as “cat-calls,” most accompanied by graphic gestures, pseudo-sexual sound-effects along with vulgar and completely offensive language whenever any female happens to be in sight of them by being on a sidewalk or an urban construction site’s walkway. These are also too numerous to track, occurring throughout my life until quite recently (I am now 63).

wednesday-asking-about-cat-calls
from https://dev.theodysseyonline.com/when-the-cat-calls-dont-answer

Send respect, healing, caring and compassion to all survivors and shut the disrespectful morons up completely.

Add your stories or number or both on your social media of choice: #metoo AND #justyournumber and #wherewhatwhowhen

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93+ #Jobs I Have Had (all in this lifetime)

93+ #Jobs I Have Had (all in this lifetime)


image from Artesia Daily Press

Some other blogger suggested that we bloggers could post our own rèsumès (or C.V.s [Curriculum Vitae], in my case, since I have a doctorate), on our own sites to ‘drive traffic”/get attention.

I thought: “Oh, but my C.V. doesn’t even begin to tell my employment story or full history.”

So, I decided to list, in chronological order and with some commentary, ALL the 93+ jobs (paid positions as well sa volunteer gigs) I have had since I first started earning money at age 12. (All positions were paid unless otherwise noted.)

I’ve been a poet, a writer (including ghostwriter), a singer, a accompanist (piano), a theatre director/playwright/assistant director/performer, piano teacher, packer/shipper, proofreader, teacher, supervisor, teacher trainer, writing teacher, facilitator, group leader, trainer, office worker, retail clerk, nonprofit manager, grant writer, author, blogger, talk show host (video), personal assistant, declutter-er, homeschooling parent, childcare worker, and SO MUCH MORE!

You will be delighted, surprised, entertained and impressed. Maybe I will even get a new job or contract work out of this! (much-needed, BTW)

I’m accepting:
— proofreading jobs (see “Last Pass” Proofreading Services on my website, http://www.sallyember.com;
—nonprofit upper-level management, consultant, Board development, budget and strategic planning, trainer/facilitator, evaluator positions [PT or FT] in St. Louis, MO;
—instructor/curriculum development positions in adult/older youth education [if they pay properly, which most around here do NOT])

Contact me: sallyember AT yahoo DOT com for genuine offers
(NO SALES! NOTHING ON COMMISSION!).

Ages, Jobs, Comments, by geographic region or state

Missouri

12-14
Babysitting Unpaid, when for my little sisters; paid when for neighbors ($0.50/hour)
13-15
Office Worker (typing letters, filing, addressing & stuffing envelopes), for my dad (sometimes paid)
14-15
Junior Counselor (JC), Camp Nat Koplar, St. Louis Jewish Community Center Association, for pre-school-agers
15
JC, Nat Koplar, for three weeks (and my younger little sister, Lauri, was a camper there)
15-16
Babysitting for Assistant Director’s infant at Camp Sabra, JCCA overnight summer camp, Lake of the Ozarks
16
Tutor, 2nd grade, Reading and Math, Wright Elementary School, Ladue, MO (unpaid)
16-17
JC, Camp Ben Akiva, summer traveling overnight & day camp, JCCA St. Louis, for 11 – 14-yr-olds
16-17
Accompanist (piano), for choirs and annual musicals (rehearsals and performances) and on album, Horton Watkins (Ladue) High School, Ladue, MO (unpaid)
17
Tutor/Classroom Aide, 3rd grade, ? Elementary School (no longer there), City of St. Louis, MO (unpaid)
17-18
Senior Counselor (SC), Camp Ben Akiva (see previous summer)

Wisconsin & New York

18
Food Service worker, Univ. of Wisconsin/Madison (Work-study) (one month; work-study “ran out”)
18-19
After-School Day Care Staff, two different elementary school locations, Madison, WI (school year)

18-19
SC, Camp Leah, summer overnight camp, Lake Tiorati/Bear Mt., NY
19
SC, Camp Leah, summer overnight camp, Lake Tiorati/Bear Mt., NY (only 6 weeks due to acceptance into Teacher Corps)

Connecticut

19-21
Intern/Student (paid stipend and all school expenses paid), Teacher Corps, Univ of Bridgeport, CT (started mid-August, so had to leave Camp Leah 3 weeks early)
20
Student Teacher, 7th & 8th grades, Reading/Language Arts, Turn-of-River Middle School, Stamford, CT
20-22
“Big Sister” to Cathy ____________, Stamford, CT (2 hours/week, 2 years)
20-21
Bilingual Aide, Los Ojos, Spanish-speaking elders’ nursing home, summer only, Stamford, CT
21
Student Teacher, 5th and 2nd grades, all subjects, Toquam Elementary School, Stamford, CT
21
Interim Substitute, 5th grade, all subjects, Toquam Elementary School, Stamford, CT (the classroom teacher went out on maternity leave in late April; I graduated in mid-May but finished the year as classroom teacher, through mid-June)
21-22
Music, Drama & Arts Director, New Canaan Summer Recreation Summer Programs, New Canaan, CT

Vermont

22
Classroom Teacher, 8th-grade Language Arts (5 class/day), St. Albans City Elementary School, VT
22
Cheerleading, Field Hockey and Softball Faculty Sponsor, St. Albans City Elementary School, VT
22
Singer, St. Albans Community Choir (unpaid)

22-23 First summer I did not work since I was 12; job-hunting

Rhode Island & Massachusetts

23
Classroom teacher, Kdg – 1st grades combined, Learning Tree School (private, family cooperative), Tiverton, RI
23
Music & Drama teacher, Kdg – 8th grades, Learning Tree School (private, family cooperative), Tiverton, RI

23-24
Arts & Crafts Director/Counselor, Westport Summer Recreation Program, Westport, MA

New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine & Massachusetts

23-27
Lay Health Educator, Women’s/Girls’ Reproductive Health, around Peterborough/Keene, NH
24
Herbs packer and essential oils filler and shipper, Attar Herbs & Spices wholesaler, New Ipswich, NH
24
Co-Coordinator, “Getting to the Same Place” weekend event, Another Place Conference Center, Greenville, NH
24-25
Singer, Wings of Song (Robert Gass) choir (on Many Blessings album and many performances), Spring Hill/Boston, MA (unpaid)
25
Office worker & proofreader, Solar Age Magazine, Harrisville, NH
25-26
Instructor, Piano, private lessons, NH
26
Office worker/Music Assistant, Apple Hill Chamber Players, summer program, Nelson, NH
26-28
National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) state board member and community educator, in and around Keene/Concord, NH (unpaid)
26-now
Proofreading, editing, writing coach, ghostwriting, news releases, press releases, interviews
28-31
Tutor, E.S.L. & Literacy, Monadnock Literacy Coalition, NH (unpaid)
28
Catering assistant/prep cook, Linda Stavely Catering, Keene, NH
28
Learning Disabilities Tutor, three elementary schools, northern sector of Monadnock Regional District, NH
28-29
Co-Founder/Board Member, Community Kitchen, Keene, NH (unpaid)
28-30
Board Member, Monadnock Task Force on Child Abuse, Keene, NH (unpaid)
28-35
Actor/Performer/Instructor, Music & Dramatic Arts, Children’s Performing Arts Center (CPAC), southern NH & VT
28-44
Playwright/Co-Creator/Facilitator/Group Leader/Assistant Director/Director, many plays and performances and expressive arts groups, CPAC, S.A.V.E. & ACTINGOUT, southern NH & VT & northern MA (Rainbow Over the Junkyard, Crystal Dreams, Atlantis is Rising, Scenes from Narnia, What the Dragon Stole, Grading System and others) (some unpaid)
29
Founding Board Member, National Dance Institute (NDI), Monadnock Region, NH (unpaid)
29
Retail Sales Clerk, Simon Pearce Glass/Goblets & Garments, Colony Mill Marketplace, Keene, NH
30
Internal Supervisor/Trainer, Head Start preschool program, Keene, NH
30
Waitron, Henry David’s restaurant, Keene, NH
30-33
Regional Leader/Group Facilitator/Teacher/Trainer/Workshop & Event Coordinator, Co-Counseling International (CCI), NH, MA & VT
31-35
Energy worker/faith healer/personal evaluations counselor, mostly in MA but also worked as a psychic with police in NH & VT
31-40
Staff Development in Creative Arts, many school districts, CPAC, S.A.V.E. (Share Acting & Vital Energy) & ACTINGOUT, southern NH & VT & northern MA
32-33
Accompanist, Eurythmy program, Monadnock Waldorf School, Keene, NH
32-39
Accompanist/Musical Director, cabaret & musicals, WoodBound Inn, Keene State College and Keene, NH
33-35
Director of Religious Education, Unitarian Universalist Church, Keene, NH
34-35
Director, Unitarian Universalist Religious Education Family Camp, Ferry Beach, ME
34-35
Board Member, Religious Education, Unitarian Universalist Association, USA, Northeast Region
35-36
Co-Leader, Problem-Solving/Decision-Making Groups for Court-Adjudicated Youth, Youth Services, Keene, NH
36-38
Supervising Instructor for Student Teachers, Elementary Teacher Education Program, Univ of MA/Amherst
36-41
Instructor and Academic Coordinator/Theme Coordinator/Staff Development Trainer, Upward Bound, Keene State College, Keene, NH (summers only)
38-39
Co-Author/Editor, ACTING OUT: The Workbook, published in 1993 (still selling on Amazon & elsewhere)
39-41
Instructor, First-Year Writing Program (Peter Elbow), Univ of MA/Amherst
39-41
Instructor, Health/Sex Education/Theatre Consultant, Monadnock Waldorf School, Keene, NH (unpaid)
39-44
Instructor/Curriculum Developer, Literacy, Numeracy, Adult Corrections Education, Brattleboro Corrections Program, VT
39-44
Singer, Brattleboro Women’s Chorus, VT (unpaid)
40-41
Leadership Development Trainer and Diversity Coordinator (for students/faculty), several high schools, Brattleboro & Putney, VT
40-44
Co-Creator/Group Leader/Grant Writer, “Building Strength,” “wrap-around” after-school program for 11-14-year-olds & parents, Monadnock Family Services (MFS) Consortium for Youth Programs, Winchester & Keene, NH
40-44
Group Leader/Consultant, Drama Workshops, Orchard School, NH (summers)
40-44
Assistant Director/Group Leader/Grant Writer/Evaluation Designer, ACTINGOUT, Keene, NH
41-43
Group Leader/Instructor, “Nobody’s Fools” Conflict Resolution/Mediation/Drama Teen Program, summers, MFS Consortium for Youth Programs, Keene, NH
42-44
Singer, Animaterra Women’s Chorus, Keene, NH (unpaid)
42-44
Instructor/Curriculum Developer, classes for Foster Parents/Youth Workers, College of LifeLong Learning, Concord, NH
43-44
Instructor, Evaluation Methodologies, Graduate School of Education, Keene State College, NH
43-47
Co-Founder, Secretary/Treasure of Board/Coordinator/Cook, Chagdud P’hande Ling, Keene, NH, Saco, ME and Silver City, NM
44
Instructor/Director/Accompanist, The Moving Company summer youth drama production, scenes from Really Rosie, Keene, NH

Maine & Vermont

45
Instructor, Writing Program/Tutor, Writing Lab, York Technical College, Wells, ME
45
Instructor, E.S.L., Literacy, Numeracy, Adult Education, Old Orchard Beach Adult Education, ME
45-46
Instructor/Academic Advisor, Vermont College of Norwich University adult “university without walls” low-residency program, Montpelier, VT

New Mexico & Arizona

46
Instructor, G.E.D./Pre-G.E.D. classes, Western New Mexico University, Silver City, NM
46
Proofreader, several magazines, local publisher, Silver City, NM
46-47
Events Coordinator/Bookkeeper/Cook, Lhundrup Ling/Iron Knot Ranch, Silver City, NM and Duncan, AZ
46-47
Instructor/Curriculum Developer, Computer & Job Skills, Interviewing, COMP USA, Bayard, NM
46-47
Facilitator/Trainer/Grant writer, Creative Response to Conflict/New Mexico, NM and AZ
47-48
Evaluator/Needs Assessment Consultant, Grant County Community Health Council, Silver City, NM

California (San Francisco Bay Area)

48-50
Program Coordinator/Director, California Human Development Corporation, Santa Rosa, CA
50-51
Editor/Proofreader/Co-Author (not credited), Safe School Ambassadors, Community Matters, Sebastopol, CA
51-53
Bilingual Receptionist, Jewish Community Free Clinic, Cotati, CA (unpaid)
51-55
Outreach Director, Community Matters, Sebastopol, CA
53-54
Webinar creator/presenter, Community Matters, Sebastopol, CA
53-55
“Friendly Visitor” to youth in detention, Sonoma County, CA (unpaid)
56
Freelance Writer, Interact Media, online
56-now
Freelance editor/proofreader/ghostwriter: http://www.sallyember.com
56-now
Nonprofit consultant: Board trainer, strategic planner, evaluation, needs assessment, mission/vision creation, budget planning, grant research and writing, staff supervision/training sallyember @ yahoo DOT com
56
Outreach Designer, Schools for Hope, Sonoma County Volunteer Center, CA (unpaid)
56
Admin Assistant, Sonoma County Task Force for the Homeless, CA
56
Program Director/Instructor, Foster & Kinship Care Education programs, Santa Rosa Junior College, Sonoma County, CA
56-59
Trainer/Facilitator/Curriculum Developer/Board Member/Grant Writer/Mentor, Women’s Global Leadership Institute, (WGLI) Sonoma County, CA (unpaid)
56-60
Educational Researcher/Proofreader/Evaluator, Emergency University, Redwood City, CA
57-now
Author, The Spanners Series and owner/operator, Timult Books/blogger (mostly unpaid); http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners
58
Program Director/Grant Writer/Mentors Coordinator/Trainer, Be A Mentor, Hayward, CA
59
Outreach Designer/Grant Writer, WGLI (had to quit due to Traumatic Brain Injury, April, 2014)

Missouri (St. Louis County)

58-59
On-Air Host, CHANGES** conversations between authors, video talk show, YouTube (unpaid) (started when couldn’t write due to TBI)
60-61
Nanny/Tutor/Driver/Piano Tutor, family in Creve Coeur, MO
62
Instructor/Curriculum Creator, “Doors to Success” G.E.D. program, Hazelwood/Spanish Lake, MO (Parkway-Rockwood Schools Adult Education)
62-now
“Last Pass” proofreading services: http://www.sallyember.com


image from http://lennardvoogdt.nl

Through Sept 30, 2017 is the time for #10Q ! “Reflect. React. Renew. Life’s Biggest Questions. Answered By You.”

It’s not to late, and you don’t have to be Jewish or celebrate #Jewish High Holy Days (Rosh Hashona, Jewish New Year’s, and Yom Kippur, the “Day of Atonement”) to want to spend some time considering your life and your goals/accomplishments each year. I was raised Jewish, but I am a practicing #Buddhist.

It’s free! http://doyou10Q.com and #DoYou10Q are the connection points. This year is 10Q‘s 10-year anniversary, so many new events and giveaways are occurring. Check them out!

Check out any local Partners with 10Q: http://doyou10q.com/partners: Reach out to Josh Kanter, Reboot’s outreach and partnership manager, at josh @ rebooters DOT net or (go to the site for his phone number (in the USA)].<

You can still respond to all 10 Questions through September 30, online, and have them put into the "vault" for yourself for next year's reflections.

10Q: “Reflect. React. Renew. Life’s Biggest Questions. Answered By You.”

The title and all the info, below, come from the 10Q site. Visit! Sign up! Do it!
http://doyou10q.com/

10 Days. 10 Questions.

“Answer one question per day [or more than one per day, if you have some to catch up on] in your own secret online 10Q space. Make your answers serious. Silly. Salacious. However you like. It’s your 10Q. When you’re finished, hit the magic button and your answers get sent to the secure online 10Q vault for safekeeping.

“One year later, the ‘vault’ will open and your answers will land back in your email inbox for private reflection.

“Want to keep them secret? Perfect. Want to share them, either anonymously or with attribution, with the wider 10Q community? You can do that, too.

“Next year, the whole process begins again. And the year after that, and the year after that.

“Do you 10Q? You should. If you have, already, enter the “giveaway” by sharing one or more experiences and using the hashtag, as directed:


Click hereto get your 10Q on.

10Q begins September 20, 2017, and goes for 10 days
http://doyou10q.com/


Here are some of my responses to the Questions, from 2016, 2015 and 2014:

2016

–Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?

My Answer:

I had an up-close-and-personal experience with the American judicial and jury system and I was very disappointed and discouraged from it all. From the attorneys to the judges, the jurors to the laws: all crap, and not in favor of actual justice for the plaintiff, ever, as far as I could tell.
I was severely injured (and still recovering) in a trip-and-fall in a restaurant that was clearly liable and negligent, causing there to be obstacles in the path of a patron which a patron could not easily see. The jury actually agreed on that. However, due to archaic laws, lobbying by the insurance greedies and other mistakes in jurisprudence (which disallowed anyone from actually informing the jury how the “awards” they intended to go to me would be apportioned or the fact the restaurant owner would not pay a dime due to his having insurance), I got nothing, my lawyer was out $30K, and I owe many thousands of dollars to family and friends. I am grateful to all who have helped and continue to help me, but resentful and angry at the unfair outcome of my two+ years of misery.
I am an educated, white, older woman with intelligent and supportive friends and family. I can only shudder to imagine how this “justice” system grinds up those without support or resources and other people who are already on the short end of every stick.
USA justice isn’t.

–Describe an event in the world that has impacted you this year. How? Why?

My Answer:

The Marriage Equality Act’s being confirmed as the law of the USA by the Supreme Court was a giant step in the right direction for equal rights for all individuals regardless of sexual orientation. As a bisexual woman who eschewed marriage for many reasons, inequality being among them, I am glad to see people who want to get married being able to do.

2015

Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?

My Answer:

I was able to reconnect with my meditation practice in March & May and again in early Sept. through instruction and connection with my spiritual teacher, Lama Drimed, after many false starts, attempts, painful absences and confusions as well as hurt feelings on my part.

So happy about all that!

Describe an event in the world that has impacted you this year. How? Why?

My Answer:

The upholding of Marriage Equality laws and the enforcing of them across the USA and in other countries feels like a giant victory.

Looser laws, releasing noncriminals from prison when their only “crime” is possession of marijuana, and eventual legalization of marijuana/cannabis use across the USA and other countries also seem imminent, due to the vast success (economic and social) of those places in which it is already legal and those changes have already occurred; another set of great victories.

I appreciate the egalitarians’ winning. I appreciate common sense’s prevailing. I appreciate nondiscrimination’s being enforced. Feels right and good.

Have you had any particularly spiritual experiences this past year? How has this experience affected you? “Spiritual” can be broadly defined to include secular spiritual experiences: artistic, cultural, and so forth.

My Answer:

Due to a TBI [Traumatic Brain Injury] in April, 2014, I went from not being able to meditate for almost one year (after meditating consistently for over 42 years) to restoring my practice, slowly, bit by bit. Very grateful to my spiritual teacher, sangha and good fortune that this has been possible.

Returning to my practice is like coming home.

How would you like to improve yourself and your life next year? Is there a piece of advice or counsel you received in the past year that could guide you?

My Answer:

My meditation teacher reminded me that meditation practice in our tradition comes from our heart center, not our brain area. The Tibetans use a term that means “heart-mind” when talking about the mind.

My wish to improve myself and my practice is to keep it centered in my heart. “Meditation: it’s not what you think.”

2014

Describe an event in the world that has impacted you this year. How? Why?

My Answer:

Many science discoveries: proof of the multiverse, ability to teleport particles, invention of pre-tractor beam technology, getting paralyzed rats and others to walk, moving limbs and other things with just the mind: so much!

Very exciting, and all goes into research I use for The Spanners Series books!

What is a fear that you have and how has it limited you? How do you plan on letting it go or overcoming it in the coming year?

My Answer:

Fear getting more unhealthy instead of more healthy over the next several years. Fear not getting my full meditation practice/brain function restored. Fear being unconnected to community/friends, no lover, no one close to me where I live.
Plan to keep exercising, eating better, reaching out to Buddhist and other groups (writers, Jews, work) to make friends.
Plan to stay in touch with my teacher.

What are your predictions for 2015?

My Answer:

Movement toward reducing and ending full-impact football, hockey, etc. (headers in soccer, e.g.), in youth and college sports.

More states’ legalizing marijuana.

More states’ ratifying gay marriage.

Proof of alien life on other planets.

How do you want to 10Q? It’s up to you!

1 out of every 8 USA adults has 4 or more #ACEs (Adverse #Childhood Experiences)

It is estimated that 1 out of every 8 USA adults has 4 or more #ACEs (Adverse #Childhood Experiences); MOST people have at least one out of 10 ACEs. “An ACE score is a tally of different types of #abuse, #neglect, and other hallmarks of a rough childhood. According to the Adverse Childhood Experiences study, the rougher your childhood, the higher your score is likely to be and the higher your risk for later #health problems,” including #cancer, #hepatitis, #heart disease, #diabetes, #hypertension, mental illness, frequent sicknesses of other kinds (e.g., “auto”-immune diseases), COPD (obstructive breathing problems), #addictions and #allergies, and many other problems.

These effects are due to the bodies’ stress response system’s being on overload, chronically and continuously (adrenalin, cortisol), which can screw up one’s immune system. The symptoms can show up immediately (childhood #asthma, skin #rashes, #ADHD and other “behavior” issues, including #eating disorders) and throughout one’s life, especially after age 40.

Children who live with/are exposed to conditions that put them under extreme #stress, repeatedly, have our brain structures altered forever, developing abnormal #hormonal and #immune systems, and affecting the ways one’s DNA is read and transferred (so, ACEs influence current AND future generations).

More facts and anecdotes are in this podcast, Hardwired, including info about the genetic connection to personality traits and other significant science about our biology’s and environment’s interdependent influences. Listen to that and more here–the same page as other archived shows is linked to: http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/archive

Want to see or take the ACEs quiz? http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/02/387007941/take-the-ace-quiz-and-learn-what-it-does-and-doesnt-mean


I responded “yes” for 9 out of 10 ACEs.

Unsurprisingly, my health has been “compromised” or difficult all my life. Oddly, though, I consider myself “a healthy person with particular problems that are /have been mostly under control,” mostly because they haven’t completely prevented me from many types of success.. Some problems have gotten worse after I suffered a TBI/concussion 3.5 years ago (which we know now also adversely affects one’s immune system, among other consequences. I have many blog posts about this in 2014 – 2015, at http://www.sallyember.com/blog). Some ongoing health issues have been worsening with age (I am well over 40). I have, however, never been addicted to anything even though that “runs in my family.”

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The majority of the people who have scored over 7 out of 10 ACEs have been/are still incarcerated, living with severe mental or physical illnesses, or are already dead by my age. I am one of the few luckier ones who isn’t in the worst situations.

This “luck” is probably due to my having had many positive conditions, some self-selected:

  • 1) since age 17, been meditating daily;
  • 2) always making sure I have regular exercise;
  • 3) many positive older teens and then adults were in my life during the most stressful years;
  • 4) lots of individual and group counseling/ therapy during and since undergraduate years in college;
  • 5) access to thousands of books (Yay to public libraries!) and excellent, advanced education and training (including in self-care and mental/social health);
  • 6) some good family support;
  • 7) education/experiences with music, the arts, summer camp;
    and,

  • 8) great friends.

For more information about resources and prevention as well as the original research on ACEs, visit the USA’s CDC (Center for Disease Control)’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/index.html

Which Celebrities Would Have Gone/Did Go to Virtual/Actual High School with You?

Which Celebrities Would Have Gone/Did Go to Virtual/Actual High School with You?

My cohort includes those born between about 1951 – 1957 (our “high school” had only grades 10, 11, 12 in the building), those who would have been/were in high school in the USA between 1968 – 1972.

Imagine us all in one building during one of my four years: sitting together at the same lunch table, being on the same teams, dancing at proms, singing in choirs, acting in plays, studying together and attending the same classes, sharing bus rides, going to pep rallies and games, getting high together, dating, arguing, ignoring each other and perhaps, remaining friends.

It is entertaining to imagine, isn’t it?

By “celebrities,” I mean that these are people who have:

  • been on the covers of national magazines and/or featured speakers/presenters at national/international events/conferences;
  • won national or international awards or positions of great importance;
  • invented/started something significant;
  • wrote/starred in/produced something significant in the way of art/music/books/movies/plays;
  • achieved a high level of renown in their chosen field;
  • are known by many others as “great” in their field;
  • been stars of series TV shows and/or featured on popular talk shows;
  • are known by and hang out with other celebrities.

These individuals encourage(d) me by their example, inspire and motivate me to be better, dare to dream bigger, do and try things I might not have, and enjoy life more. I am proud to “be” with them on my virtual or actual campus.

First, the famous people whom I know/knew personally:

D. Scott Bassinson, J.D., one of my first serious boyfriends and long-time friend, is an Attorney who has argued at the USA Supreme Court, now a Judge and always, a Musician/Composer. It is due to Scott and his brother, Kevin Bassinson (also a celebrity)’s resignations that I became Ladue High School’s rehearsal and performance accompanist and a professional accompanist for musicals, choruses and performances. http://www.albanyjazz.com/musicians/scottbassinson.html

scottbassinson

Karen S. Raskin Kleiman, MSW, LCSW author of several books, founder of The Postpartum Stress Center, and leading researcher in Postpartum Depression and its treatments (featured on many TV talk shows, including OPRAH, in magazines and websites), was my award-winning partner in Duet Acting, for which we won 4th place for the state of Missouri and first or second in many local and regional competitions in 1971-1972. http://postpartumstress.com/karen-kleiman-msw-lcsw/

Karen Kleiman

Rich Rubin, journalist, playwright, Founder/Producing/Artistic Director, Quince Productions and GayFest! (Philadelphia), was my first piano-playing duet partner under Deborah Rosenblum in the early 1960s, and we graduated from Ladue together in 1972. “Rich Rubin has written about travel for over twenty years now. He’s thrilled to be back in touch with the team behind ManAboutWorld, having been an early contributor to OUT&ABOUT. He has served as travel editor for Genre and is currently Food and Wine editor for Passport Magazine. His stories have appeared in Saveur, Caribbean Travel & Life, Bride’s, Modern Bride, Travel & Leisure, and many other publications. In his copious free time, he is Producing Artistic Director of Quince Productions, which produces Philadelphia’s only LGBT Theater Festival, GayFest!. He serves on the board of the Philadelphia Gay Tourism Caucus.” http://www.quinceproductions.com/about.html

R Rubin

Craig Pomranz, singer, recording artist, live cabaret performer, children’s book author of Made by Raffi, was another one of my high school “more than friends” that I’m still in touch with and regard highly. http://craigpomranz.com/

Raffi cover

Dr. Alice Conway, J.D., Ph.D., AB ’76, MA ’79, JD ’83, PhD ’83, is a trained vocalist, fluent in multiple languages (including Braille), and a trusted commercial and employment attorney for Monsanto. She holds four degrees from Washington University and is a committed volunteer and donor. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeXcPa4bAV4attorney and philanthropist, blind since aged three, first blind Board Chair of the The St. Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Alice and I had many classes together in junior and senior high school.

Alice Conway

Dr. Michael Green, M.D., Ph.D., Professor at UMASS Medical Center in Gene Function and Expression, Director of the Cancer Center since 2015, the recipient of the Searle Scholar Award, the Presidential Young Investigators Award, and the McKnight Neuroscience Award and Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. “Michael R. Green received his MD and PhD degrees from Washington University School of Medicine in 1981. He was awarded a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellowship to perform postdoctoral work at Harvard University in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He became a faculty member in that department at Harvard in 1984, where he remained until he joined the Program in Molecular Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1990. He has been the recipient of the Searle Scholar Award, the Presidential Young Investigators Award, the McKnight Neuroscience Award, and in 1993 was invited to deliver a Harvey Lecture. In 1994, Dr. Green was made an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.” Michael was my second serious high school boyfriend and I went to the first college I attended partly because he was there (sorry, feminists). I knew his little brother, Eric, as well (see below). http://www.umassmed.edu/news/news-archives/2015/04/michael-green-appointed-director-of-umass-cancer-center/

Green

Dr. Eric Green, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, recipient of numerous awards and author of many scholarly articles. https://www.genome.gov/27535200/director-eric-d-green-md-phd/

Eric Green

Joel Meyers, longtime sports broadcaster (currently play-by-play announcer of the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association). Joel and I went to school together from Kindergarten through high school, but we weren’t exactly friends. Host of Above The Rim, weekdays from 10-1pm ET, Joel is a multi-time Emmy award-winning broadcaster with over 25 years of experience that includes calling games for both the Lakers and the Spurs on TVas well as the St. Louis baseball Cardinals (our home team). Joel is a graduate of the University of Missouri.

Joel Meyers

Fran(ces) Ginsberg, Opera Singer (deceased) with the New York City and Spanish operas before her death several years ago sang in our high school’s Chorale (select show choir) and annual musicals. I accompanied her solos. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Ginsberg

Fran ginsberg

And, of course, my brother, Dr. Jonathan D. Fleischmann, M.D., MMS, FACS,

jonathan
a urological oncologist who has created/patented medications, usages and surgical techniques in his field for decades. “Dr. Fleischmann received undergraduate, graduate and medical degrees from Brown University. During residency training at Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri, he was a National Kidney Foundation Fellow specializing in kidney cancer research. Between 1985 and 1992, he was on faculty at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, during which time he was admitted as a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. In 1992, he joined the Albert Einstein College of Medicine faculty as the chief of service at the Weiler Hospital division and director of urologic oncology. In 1997, he entered private practice in the Bronx and has maintained a continuing interest in specialized cancer care, particularly of the prostate, kidney and bladder. He has privileges at Montefiore Medical Center Hospitals, Westchester Square Medical Center, Calvary and Morningside House.” https://www.google.com/patents/US5145859

Want to see more about some of these Ladue alums and more? In 2012 (the year of my 40th high school reunion), Ladue held its 60th “Distinguished Alumni” Awards Ceremony and it is on YouTube: http://bit.ly/10vTEaP

From Camp Hawthorn (the St. Louis Jewish Community Center Association’s Missouri Ozarks overnight camp, until 1969):

Sheldon Mirowitz (also from Ladue Schools), soloist musician, producer/arranger and sideman, professor at Berklee College of Music in Boston and conductor/arranger of the Berklee Silent Film Orchestra (which tours!), film and TV composer, winner of awards at the Sundance Film Festival and other accolades for his music, including three Emmy nominations and one Peabody Award. I met Sheldon in 8th grade at camp and then we we re-met in high school and have been friends ever since. https://www.berklee.edu/news/berklee-silent-film-orchestra-has-secret-weapon

Sheldon

Chuck Blitz, became independently wealthy in the first dot.com boom and turned that to opportunities to be a philanthropist, environmentalist, social/environmental activist, particularly in the Santa Barbara, CA, area; with Ram Dass and the White Lotus Foundation, he has been doing ecological, social community and world service—SEVA—programs and yoga teacher training), and recently, he is an author http://biography-ebooks.com///693266/five-years-in-five-months. I went to camp with Chuck; his sister, Judy (“Jay”) was my first counselor, but he and Glenn Savan were/are my brother, Jon’s, age, so we weren’t really friends.

Glenn Savan, (deceased in 2002), author of White Palace, a semi-autobiographical novel turned into the film in 1987, starring James Spader in Glenn’s role and Susan Sarandon as the love interest, using the local “White Castle” hamburger joints as the setting. I knew Glenn from camp, but we weren’t exactly friends. http://www.nytimes.com/2003/04/17/arts/glenn-savan-49-the-author-of-white-palace.html

White Palace

Colleges and New England living (University of Wisconsin/Madison and University of Bridgeport/Connecticut (undergrad) and University of Massachusetts/Amherst (graduate)

Dr. Rahima Wade, Ph.D. (deceased, 2012), almost single-handedly brought “service learning” into public schools in the 1990’s. She also introduced me to the idea of returning to school as a parent of young children and we both attended UMASS/Amherst at the same time. I first met her in Keene, NH, since we belonged to several of the same community groups. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/recorder/obituary.aspx?pid=156772652

Rahima

Dr. Mary Kalantzis, Ph.D. http://education.illinois.edu/faculty-finder (b 1949, so an “age outlier,” really, but I include her because of her husband, Dr. Bill Cope, Ph.D. (b. 1957) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Cope_(academic) . Both are Professors, authors/researchers in Multicultural Education and Workplace Diversity globally. I met them when Mary came to Keene State College in New Hampshire as a Fulbright Scholar from Australia in 1990-91 with her husband and colleague/co-writer, Bill, and son, Philip. I traveled with my then-partner to visit them in Australia in 1996. Mary and Bill are now at the University of Illinois/Champagne, where she has been the Dean of the College of Education, until recently.

Mary and Bill

Dr. Caroline Myss, Ph.D., best-selling author, speaker, medical clairvoyant, teacher. I met Caroline in 1983 in New Hampshire and we became close friends, seeing each other almost weekly until she moved to back to Chicago in 1992. Since then, we stayed in touch, sporadically, but she travels internationally and is unusually busy even when she “lands” somewhere. She mentions me and our friendship in several of her books’ dedications/acknowledgements. https://www.myss.com/

caroline_sitting

Other notables from the Antioch/New England Graduate School in Keene, NH: Faculty members/authors/ researchers, David Sobel, Rick (Youst) van der Poll,

From Camp Med-O-Lark (in Washington, ME)

Bari K. Willerford, actor in the National Deaf Theatre and star of MathNet children’s TV show on PBS as well as continuing to appear in many other TV series, movies (American Gangster) and TV episodes. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0929780/bio

Bari

Allegra Broughton and Sam Page, singers/songwriters, musicians, founders of Solid Air, members of The Wild Catahoulas, also play/have played in many other duos and bands. Solid Air has many great CDs available. http://www.solidairmusic.com/bio.html

Solid Air

Dennis Hadley, musician, singer, member of The Hot Frittatas, The Wild Catahoulas, also plays/has played in many other duos and bands, including Gator Nation. Legally blind since birth, Dennis is one of the best accordion players and enthusiastic vocalists in northern California. http://www.gatornationband.com/about/about.html

Dennis

From Chagdud Gonpa, my Buddhist Community (Sangha):

My teachers, Lama Padma Drimed Norbu (born Alwyn Fischel, known as Lama Drimed) and Lama Padma Shenphen Drolma (born Lisa Leghorn, known as Lama Shenphen), who are also authors and Buddhist scholars. They and I were students of Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche before his passing in 2002.
Iron Knot Ranch, on the border of Arizona and New Mexico near Duncan, AZ, is led by Lama Shenphen: http://ironknot.org/about-iron-knot-ranch/
Lama Drimed teaches in California and Oregon and works from his home in the Bay Area, guiding students.

CTR

Among our sangha members whom I know personally are several authors, but only one is in my cohort, that I know of: photographer/teacher, Cary Groner. http://www.carygroner.com/

Exiles-210

Now, all of these (still living) celebs can brag that they know ME!

Next, the celebs I only know from afar:
Athletes I paid attention to and admired…
Chris Evert (whose brand of tennis shoes I wore proudly during the years they were available, which coincided with the years I played tennis, myself, albeit mediocrely.

Cathy Rigby and Olga Korbut, who inspired me to become a gymnast, but injuries sidelined me in 10th grade. Oh, well.

Mark Spitz, a great swimmer( before Michael Phelps was even born!).

Dorothy Hamill (figure skater, actor), , who inspired millions to skate.

Theatre/Music Folks I noticed all along, whom I wish(ed) I could have (had) lunch with at least once… (culled from this list, first, from “my” class, 1953 & 1954 birth years starting on these pages: http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_year=1954 and http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_year=1953 ), then from 1952 http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_year=1952, and 1955 http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_year=1955, http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_year=1956, http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_year=1951, and http://www.imdb.com/search/name?birth_year=1957

These are listed alphabetically by first name, but I considered grouping them by “lunch table,” according to what combos would make for great conversations with/around me….Cool idea, huh? YOU do it!

Adam Arkin
Al Franken
Al Roker
Alfre Woodard
Alfred Molina
Amy Heckerling
Amy Irving
Andy Garcia
Angela Cartwright
Anjelica Huston
Annette O’Toole
Annie Lennox
Annie Potts
Barry Williams
Bill Maher
Bill Nye
Bill Paxton
Bill Pullman
Billy Idol
Bo Derek
Bob Saget
Bonnie Tyler
Bruce Hornsby
Bruce Willis
Callie Khouri
Carol Kane
Caroline Kennedy
Carrie Fisher
Catherine O’Hara
Chaka Khan
Charlaine Harris
Cheryl Ladd
Chris Carter
Chris Cooper
Chris Noth
Chrissie Hynde
Christine Baranski
Christopher McDonald
Christopher Reeve
Corbin Bernsen
Crystal Gayle
Cyndi Lauper
Dan Aykroyd
Dana Delaney
Daniel Day-Lewis
David E. Kelley
David Morse
David Sedaris
Debby Boone\
Debra Winger
Delta Burke
Dennis Quaid
Denzel Washington
Desi Arnaz, Jr.
Drake Hogestyn
Ellen Barkin
Ellen Greene
Elvis Costello
Eric Roberts
Eve Ensler
Frances Fisher
Frances McDormand
Freddie Prinze
Gary Cole
Gary Sinise
Geena Davis
Geoffrey Rush
Glenne Headley
Gloria Estefan
Griffin Dunne
Harry Hamlin
Harvey Fierstein
Howard Stern
Imelda Staunton
Isabella Rossellini
J.K. Simmons
Jackie Chan
Jane Kaczmarek
Jane Seymour
Jay North
Jean Passanante
Jean Smart
Jeff Daniels
Jeff Goldblum
Jerry Seinfield
Jim Belushi
Jimmy Smits
Joan Allen
John Goodman
John Mellancamp
John Travolta
John Turturro
Jon Lovitz
Jonathan Frakes
Judith Ivey
Judy Davis
Julie Taymor
Karen Allen
Kate Burton
Kate Capshaw
Kate Mulgrew
Kathleen Turner
Kathy Najimy
Katie Couric
Kelly McGillis
Kelsey Grammer
Ken Burns
Ken Olin
Kenny G
Kevin Costner
Kevin Pollack
Kim Bassinger
Kim Catrall
Kirstie Alley
Kurt Russell
Laura Branigan
Laura Innes
Lauren Koslow
Lena Olin
LeVar Burton
Liam Neeson
Lisa Niemi
Lori Singer
Lucie Arnaz
Luther Vandross
Lyle Lovett
Lynda Carter
Lynn Whitfield
Mandy Patinkin
Margo Martindale
Marilu Henner
Marina Sirtis
Mark Hamill
Mark Harmon
Marta Kauffman
Mary McDonnell
Mary Steenburgen
Matt Lauer
Maureen McCormick
Mel Harris
Melanie Griffith
Melanie Mayron
Melissa Manchester
Michael Bolton
Michael Clarke Duncan
Michael Keaton
Michael Moore
Miguel Sandoval
Mimi Rogers
Nancy Cartwright
Nathan Lane
Nicholas Guest
Olivia Hussey
Oprah Winfrey
Orson Scott Card
Pam Dawber
Pamela Sue Martin
Parker Stevenson
Pat Benatar
Patricia Hearst
Patricia Kalember
Patricia Richardson
Patricia Wettig
Patrick Swayze
Patty Smyth
Paul Reiser
Peter Gallagher
Phil Collins
Pierce Brosnan
Reba McEntire
Rene Russo
Richard Kind
Richard Schiff
Richard Thomas
Rick Moranis
Rita Rudner
Rita Wilson
Robby Benson
Robert Gossett
Robin Williams
Ron Howard
Roseanne Barr
S. Epatha Merkerson
Sandra Bernhard
Scott Bakula
Sela Ward
Shari Belafonte
Spike Lee
Stellan Skarsgard
Stephen Fry
Sting
Susan Dey
Thomas Newman
Tim Allen
Tim Daly
Tim Gunn
Timothy Bottoms
Timothy Busfield
Tom Hanks
Tony Shalhoub
Tovah Feldshuh
Treat Williams
Vanna White
Wendy Crewson
Whoopi Goldberg
William Petersen
Yanni
Yvonne Elliman

And, some age “outliers” I would invite to my high school cafeteria table (or beg to go to theirs…):
Holly Hunter (b 1958)
Jamie Lee Curtis (b 1958)
Cybill Shepherd (b 1950)
Billy Joel (b 1949)
Jessica Lange (b 1949)
Meryl Streep (b 1949)
Sigourney Weaver (b 1949)
Sissy Spacek (b 1949)
(WOW! Look at the class of 1949!)

I love the idea of running into these folks from my cohort in some virtual hallways, study halls, parking lots, playing fields, locker rooms and classrooms of “our” high school, getting together for a class reunion (45th is coming up for me this year), and being able to chat with them (even if they’ve already passed).

Who are in YOUR cohort?

A Jewish Buddhist at Christmas/ Chanukah/ Solstice Time

A re-posting, with some minor changes:

Christmas and I are not friends. We are not even good neighbors. I was raised Jewish in predominantly Jewish neighborhoods, school systems, summer camps and other social encounters. This made me an outsider in an insider world every December.

win_20160822_092924

Despite about 75% Jewish population in our local public schools, the relentless Christian-ness of the USA permeated. Most of our teachers and all of the school administrators were not Jewish. Therefore, we Jewish students were forced to learn and sing Christmas carols alongside our Christian classmates every year in music classes and choirs in our classes and assemblies. I mouthed but would not sing songs with lyrics like “Jesus, our God,” or “Christ, our King.” I refused to “celebrate,” but I would go along as required.

I hated it.

All of my childhood and most of my young adult life, I also hated Christmas. I hated the trees, the lights, the candy canes, and, especially, the incessant carols on muzak almost everywhere we went. I hated the silly fashion and accessory affectations (reindeer hats, Santa sweaters, elves in snow globes on chains, fake snow on windowsills) and the massively wasteful appropriation of space and time every December. This extravaganza has gotten worse over the decades, now beginning prior to Hallowe’en and including some year-round “Santa Villages,” “Christmas” stores and such.

Appalling.

I-Hate-Christmas-272x480

Christian adults still post and say ridiculous, ignorant things to me and other non-Christians, like: “Christmas isn’t religious; it’s American.” And, “It’s not a Christmas tree. It’s a holiday tree.” Or, my personal favorite, “You can celebrate Christmas and still be Jewish. I know lots of people who do!”

I belong to several authors/writers groups online and in person, and without exception, they are filled with eager, interesting people. Except, at Christmas. Then, they devolve into ignorant, unaware bigots who claim things like: “If we call it a ‘Holiday’ sale instead of a ‘Christmas’ sale, we’ll get fewer hits on Google”; and, the most appalling, “We did it your way last year. This year, it’s a ‘Christmas’ sale/program/event.”

The most insulting? “You are included if you feel included. Your choice.”

For every kid who feels oppressed by the pervasive and invasive Christmassification of everything for almost two months every year, it’s difficult to separate hating the holiday-ness from despising the people who rightfully celebrate it. I often did/do not succeed in making that distinction. I breathe a sigh of relief every December 26.

keep-calm-christmas-is-almost-over-2

Yippee!

I celebrated the Solstice for a few years. We were tentatively friends, paganism and I. I even created a Solstice “advent” calendar with thirteen paper strips as “rays” of the sun to be unfolded, one on each of the thirteen days prior to December 21. I liked this because each “ray” jad written on it a quality or positivity we wanted to affirm or invite into our lives. That was fun and interesting, and I liked the symbols and intention, but Solstice and I did not remain friends, either.

Winter Solstice

For about twenty years, after our son was born, we—my son’s Christian (Episcopalian-raised)/Sufi and somewhat Muslim father and sometimes members of his family—celebrated a kind of Christmas, usually when at one of their homes.

For two years in the late 1980s, when I worked as the Director of Religious Education for the local Unitarian Universalist “Church,” I/we “celebrated” several December holidays, including Kwanzaa. i even went to church and sang Christmas carols and enjoyed it a little, holding a lit candle and the whole shebang.

Mostly, I hostessed Chanukah parties for my mostly Christian friends and half-Jewish son (not Jewish at all, except by birth). and and then my Jewish/fake Mormon/Buddhist female partner. I did this primarily because I liked to make and eat Chanukah food and give presents. Also, my mom (bless her) mailed (from Missouri) a huge box every year after our son was born that had eight gifts for him and many for us (some were small, like a pair of socks, but still: very welcomed!). So, we needed a way to spread out the opening of these and other gifts so he wouldn’t be overwhelmed and not appreciate any of them properly. I created and shared an English lyric about visualizing miracles to be sung when lighting the Chanukah candles (since the religious parts of the Jewish holidays and I parted ways when I was about ten years old) for each of the eight nights.

latkes

I tried to make Chanukah mine. It only kind of worked, and only for a while (mostly for the years that our son lived in my house or was visiting for the holiday). But, since it wasn’t an authentic, deep relationship, Chanukah and I gradually drifted apart.

Partly, this drift occurred because I became a Buddhist. That made “the holiday season” even more irrelevant. I not only stopped celebrating Christmas, but don’t do much with Chanukah or Solstice any longer, either.

Each fall, when I can afford it, I buy some gifts for friends and family members (honoring whatever they celebrate), and wish people well for whatever they celebrate. But, I also try to keep to myself on the actual days of these holidays, since they’re not “mine.” I really do not celebrate or believe in them.

I do not miss these holidays. I do not feel left out. I do not feel angry. I do not feel deprived, alone, or otherwise sad or depressed. These just aren’t my holidays. I view them with slight amusement and a keen detachment over the last fifteen years, as if I were visiting from another culture (which I kind of am).

This year it is a little more difficult to escape both major holidays because Chanukah and Christmas are coinciding on the calendar: Christmas Eve is the first night of Chanukah and it ends on New Year’s Eve for the first time, ever, in my life. I don’t have much money, but I do want to buy some gifts for loved ones and this is as good of an excuse as any to do so.

I’ve gone through despising, hating, avoiding, celebrating, enjoying, participating, encouraging, hostessing, attending, bowing out to relinquishing December holidays over my six+ decades. I’m quite happy, now, taking the parts I like (mostly some good food and a few songs, gift-giving and receiving, days off) and ignoring the rest.

Buddhist December

Please don’t take it personally that I don’t participate in or celebrate any holidays in the fall “holiday season” the ways you do.

Enjoy your holiday(s). Really.

Just don’t impose them on me. And, by the way, I hate Capitalism, for real.

frabz-christmas-christianity-capitalism-118408

Commemorating an Extraordinary Teacher and Person: Bill Heyde, who passed on 10/26/16

Celebrating an Extraordinary Teacher and Person:
Bill Heyde, R.I.P., 10/26/16, reported by the Ladue Education Foundation in St. Louis, MO, USA

bill-heyde
Mr. Heyde, circa 1973, courtesy of the Ladue Horton Watkins High School yearbooks, as published for his obituary in the St. Louis Post Dispatch

Dear Friends of Mr. Heyde,

I am saddened to share with you the news that our wonderful Mr. Heyde passed away on Wednesday. His health had recently been improving, and he was scheduled to return to his assisted living facility, but his life came to a close on October 26, 2016. As you all know, he had a life-changing impact on many of his students’, colleagues’, and friends’ lives.

Visitation will be on Sunday, October 30, from 2:00-6:00 p.m. at Bopp Chapel, 10610 Manchester Road in Kirkwood, MO.

The funeral service will be Monday, October 31 at 10:00 a.m. at Bopp Chapel.

Burial will be immediately following the service in Cape Girardeau.

Condolences may be sent to Bill’s sister: Adelaide Parsons and her husband Robert, 3120 Independence, Cape Girardeau, MO 63703.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to two of Bill’s favorite organizations:
Missouri Scholars Academy Development Fund
c/o Honors College
210 Lowry Hall
University of Missouri-Columbia
Columbia, MO 65211

and

The Ladue Education Foundation
9703 Conway Road
St. Louis, MO 63124

Here is the link to the obituary in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/stltoday/obituary.aspx?n=william-albert-heyde-bill&pid=182178423&fhid=6378

For those of you who missed it the first time around, here is the link to the clever rap written and performed by 1972 alumnus Steve Levin to honor Mr. Heyde in 2015: https://youtu.be/tA5F3XdNcwI

As a grateful former student of Mr. Heyde’s, I’m so glad I was in St. Louis for the wonderful event honoring him as an amazing teacher and person in April, 2015!

Mr Heyde and students circa 1970
Mr. Bill Heyde and students, Ladue High School, circa 1970?

We had a BLAST!
Bill H and Bill W - Copy
Bill Heyde and Bill Weiss

Doug Cassel and Tom Newmark - Copy
Doug Cassel and Tom Newmark (sorry it’s blurry)

Jim McKelvy - Copy
Jim McKelvy and ??

Mark Zooie and Mr H mock debate - Copy
Mark Zooie (sp?) in mock debate

Randy Rubin mock debate - Copy
Randy Rubin in mock debate

Scott Anderson and Glenn Caplin - Copy
Scott Anderson and Glenn Caplin (former Debate captain)

Tripp Frolichstein mock debate - Copy
Tripp Frolichstein in mock debate

At the actual event, many people contributed to a large scrapbook and to the event’s festivities, including an amazing speech by former Missouri state debate champ, Neal Osherow, and an incredible original poem/rap, written and performed by former debater, Steve Levin https://youtu.be/tA5F3XdNcwI, and a mock debate (pictures, above) with many former debaters. So much fun! So much respect, admiration, love, re-connecting.

Mr. Heyde gave a prepared speech (but mostly from his memory!!) of the history of the debate team at Ladue Horton Watkins High School in St. Louis and that was fascinating. There were many former debaters and Speech competitors there (as I was, having won 4th place at the Missouri state level with my acting partner, Karen Raskin, in Duet Acting!), and students of Mr. Heyde’s. Excellent turnout: many had to be turned away due to fire code restrictions!

Thanks, Ladue Education Foundation organizers, for imagining, creating and hosting this excellent festival!

Here is my letter, sent to Mr. Heyde in 2012 and again in 2015 for this event:


Hi, Mr. Heyde,

I just found out how to contact you and wanted to thank you. You may not remember me, since you have had thousands of students, so let me jog your memory: I was then Sally Fleischmann (Jonathan’s next-younger sister) at Ladue High School (we have 2 younger sibs you may also have taught, Wendy [now, Ellen] and Lauri). I took your Advanced Composition class in 1970-71. I was one of the only students to get a “B+” on a first draft, while most received “D”s and “F”s. So, I suppose I can’t give you credit for ALL of my writing skills and abilities, but please, read on.

Another memory jog: One of the essays written for your class (about game-playing imagery in a short story by William James) was published in that year’s LHS creative writing journal. I then went on to torment Ms. Cannon in the Advanced Placement English class my senior year by never getting less than a “B” on any written paper, while acting up in her class a lot (I did win the vote [along with our class President, Andy Eder] for “Class Clown” in our yearbook’s “Senior Superlatives,” after all…).

Although I had been published, starting as a 4th-grader, in school and camp newsletters, for short stories, articles, poetry and songs, and again as a freshman, in Missouri Youth Writes, for a poem, prior to having your class, I felt that this essay’s being published was my first “adult” placement. As an actual adult, I have had short stories, poetry, articles, nonfiction books, songs and plays published and produced by others, and served as an editor/rewriter/proofreader for many publications.

In 2013, I became a blogger (Sally Ember, Ed.D., http://www.sallyember.com), and a self-published science-fiction author with Volume I, This Changes Everything, of The Spanners Series</strong>; in 2014, I added Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, and I hope to add Volume III, This Is/is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, in 2015 and seven more after that! In 2014, I began hosting my own talk show, conversations between authors, CHANGES, and I often think of you while talking to others about their writing. I also write reviews for Goodreads and Amazon, and while critiquing others’ books, your phrases about what constitutes “good” or “bad” writing often come to mind.

I credit you and want to thank you for modeling for me (and many others, I’m sure) how to teach and inspiring me to teach composition and writing to adolescents and young adults. I went on, after teaching elementary school and middle school language arts, to teach writing: for five summers at Upward Bound; for several years at three community colleges; for five years at two different universities; and, for six years in community education locales, including Corrections Education, in several states. While acquiring my Master’s and doctorate at UMASS/Amherst, I taught writing in Peter Elbow’s peer review process’ domain. I also have had occasional contract work as a researcher/ writer/ editor/ proofreader. I know that your recognition of my writing as “good” (a characterization you did not give out to many pieces) set me on this path.

I think of you often, as a great teacher and someone who inspired me to write more and to teach writing. Even 43 years later, I can picture you perfectly, gesticulating strongly, your necktie blowing about as you passionately enjoined us to become literary critics, not just essay-writers. “Literary criticism” was a foreign concept to me as a junior in high school, until your class. I had learned about symbolism, metaphor and allusion, even how to cite quotations. But, putting it all together analytically, originally, and interestingly? Never even crossed my mind, until you gave us your assignments.

You opened me to a whole new intellectual world. I remember with intense clarity the exact moment when I first “got” what you were trying to convey, and understood (in a very basic way, but still, understood) how to construct a critique. I was astonished. It was as if you had been decrypting a code, helping us to begin using a secret language within English. I really was thrilled to be part of this new “club.”

Yes, I am a geek. I usually read over 250 books a year. Yes; I do. I have, since elementary school, been an avid reader. I was also an athlete: a runner, a cheerleader in 9th grade, a gymnast and field hockey player; also, I am a musician and singer/actor; and, in high school, I was “popular,” including having been elected/selected to that pinnacle for girls in that era, a cheerleader. This is to say to your students that these “identities” are not mutually exclusive: being inducted into the National Honor Society and having lots of friends happily co-exist in many, and I heartily encourage your students to cultivate both their brains and their hearts.You will help them, I’m sure.

I mainly wanted you to know what a great influence and help you were in my professional life, and what warm memories I have of your class. Never think your import was forgotten or unsung, even if we don’t find you to tell you: THANK YOU!

Best to you and your students, past, current and future. Write on!

Take care,

Sally (Fleischmann) Ember, Ed.D.


Do you have a teacher, coach or other mentor you’d like to thank? Start by commenting here and keep on sharing! #thankateacher

Mr Heyde and one student
Mr. Bill Heyde and student, Ladue High School, circa 1970?