Resume or Résumé

Some of you who have been kind enough to come back here from time to time and see what scribblings I’ve put down may have noticed a glacial like slowdown in my writing. Believe me, if you haven’t noticed it, I sure as heck have… and it’s driving me nuts.

It’s not that I haven’t been on the computer. Quite the contrary. I’ve been on it a lot. Too much, to be honest. You see, I’ve been at school.

T’was the day before Christmas, and all through the house,
You could see me grin foolishly, as if I were soused.
The children were nestled, all snug in their beds,
While the bank check I held, meant I was not in the red.

Sorry, I’ll stop there…

You see, I sold my business that I started ten years ago and decided to get back into education. This meant going back to school for a while and I wasn’t sure how I was going to pull that off. Then, a little ad caught my eye offering on-line fully accredited undergraduate classes. Living on an island as I do and being the primary care giver to our two little knee biters (Don’t scoff. I’ve been bitten by both of them now), this solution seemed to be the perfect fit for my needs.

And… it is.

Let me first say that if you ever encounter someone who tells you that online classes are a snap/joke/not real, you have my permission to laugh in their face and then possibly clear a nostril on their shoes, all in my name. These things have been kicking my butt, but in a good way. I’m doing well in them but… man!.. When was the last time you had to read a four-hundred page textbook in three weeks and write up a pile of papers on it as you go? I don’t know how you’d fair, but my brain is feeling mighty squishy these days. I also encountered something unexpected. The first twinges of carpal tunnel. As you might imagine, I’m being seriously careful about that. The reading, the writing and the further reading is numbing, but it is percolating through. Ten years since I left the teaching profession for a life in the business world, I’ve actually managed to resurrect the brain-meats that can not only understand edu-babble but actually converse in it. The rule of thumb is that if you can say something in a sentence of simple English, than you need to be able to say it in two paragraphs of edu-speak. Frighteningly enough, I seem to have retained the ability to do just that. It makes me feel like a need a shower after writing a paper in it though. Ick.

So, that’s where I’ve been. I’ve knocked down four of my required six classes that I need to change my education certificate from art to general education: kindergarten through eighth. I’m almost there now.

With some luck, I’ll find a job teaching this fall.

With a lot of luck, I’ll get my wish and will be teaching Kindergarten or first grade. Here’s hoping.

So now, I have to do something that I haven’t done in a long, LONG time. I have to write a résumé. It’s going to be both humbling and surreal. I’m used to interviewing, not being interviewed. Well, I did sign up for this, so I’d better suck it up and get typing.

In the mean time, I’ll try to keep up my writing here, but please forgive me if things get a little thin here over the summer. I have a lot more to tell and you can bet that if I do get to teach, I’ll be writing about that! The good news is, if I do get a job in the schools, I’ll get my commute back and that means I’ll regain my favorite writing time as I sit on the ferry to the mainland.

In the interim, here’s something to laugh at…

Sixty Five Years Later

Utah, Omaha, Juno, Gold, and Sword.

It’s been quite a long time since I stood on the bluffs and cliffs overlooking these beaches. It was an experience that I shared with a large contingent of my extended family, including my Grandfather. Though he was not there during his service in The War, he is a battle weary veteran who understands what went in to a landing. He in fact, understands it better than most men alive. It was what he did for years and under horrifying conditions at that. As a skipper of LST’s, LCI’s and LCM’s, he became a member of an elite group of landing craft captains specializing in unusual or particularly difficult combat landings. His war, however, was in the Pacific.

As we walked around and over the battlements of a lifetime ago, he pointed out small things here and there that we might not have noticed. Things like how the tide was running and what that would do to soldiers in the water, the position of gun emplacements and how the fire would have converged out to sea and where it would be most intense. I have always been fascinated with the Second World War and having been glued to my television set when ever “Victory at Sea” was on, I was well versed in the Pacific War. Whenever I had asked him about his own stories though, I was brushed off. He had a handful of funny tales he liked to tell and retell. I can recall him recounting memories of watching B-25’s and B-26’s making bombing runs on the Owen Stanley Mountains in New Guinea. That was always a favorite for him.

“They’d come over the range high and in formation, then, one by one, dive like sparrows down the side of the mountains. We’d count them as they peeled off and thundered at tree top level with their engines wide open. Then they’d disappear over the jungle. We’d count them again as they came back into our view over the water and figure out how many we’d lost. At that speed, nobody had a chance to bail out.”

That was about as detailed as he would get. I never really heard much about the landings he made at all.

Even though I knew the stories by heart, I would still sit and listen, eager to hear what ever he’d give me. France however, was different for him. He hadn’t been here during the fighting and so, he was in a reflective mood and willing to share his views on how he saw this field of battle. It was a fascinating trip.

As I stood on a German pillbox, its sides crushed under the weight of Allied shelling and bombing, I remember wondering if it was a tomb for the soldiers who would have been manning on that day long ago. There are missing men in every battle, but the thought that under my feet and few feet of concrete and steel, may hold the unremovable, mortal remains of the German war machine, was a sobering one. They would have been young boys. They never grew old, but died as teenagers for the dreams of a madman. The loss from every stone, dune and bunker was palpable.

As we visited the American Military Cemetery at Omaha Beach, we split up as we walked with a sort of hushed reverence. These were the heroes who had given their own “last full measure of their devotion” and the emotion for me was overwhelming. As I humbly walked among the graves, I couldn’t miss hearing the voice from a young British girl as she pointed me out to her parents.

“Look mum! That man is out walking on the grass! It says right here not to do that!”

She was right, naturally. I had walked deftly past the neat little sign admonishing this very thing. We were to “stay on the paths, please.” I smirked… and kept reading and saying the names to my self in a soft whisper. These were my countrymen. They were from my home and I did not think for a moment that I didn’t have the right to be there. In the cemeteries of the other nations involved, I would stick to the paths, but not here. This was U.S. soil and I was here to pay respects. I was twenty-one years old then, and older than most of the soldiers who surrounded me as they lay in peace.

Besides, Americans have never been great at following rules. It’s actually how we started out with our own country.

On this sixty-fifth anniversary of the invasion, I think back to my time walking the peaceful and quiet beaches of Normandy. I thank the French whom we met there and the kindnesses they gave us during our stay. I think of my Grandfather as he stood on the cliffs with the knowledgeable eye of a veteran landing craft captain as he wondered aloud how they got anyone past the sandbars and onto the beaches or over the cliffs.

We remember this day for the great sacrifice of youth that took place and because it marked the turning of the tide in, what had looked all too often, like an unwinnable war against a juggernaut that knew no defeat.

The beaches are beautiful now but still carry deep scars, much like the individuals who were there on the day of invasion. Their scars will be gone soon. They are leaving us by the hundreds every day. The scars on the land will outlive them all.

If you have not seen them, I suggest you should.

If you know someone who saw it for themselves sixty-five years ago, ask them about it now, for they will likely be gone tomorrow.

d-day letter

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