Hello you! I hope this break has treated you all very well! I sure needed it. IDK - with all the death and destruction in the news (MJ, Farrah, Billy Mays, and so on), plus the state of the world in general . . coupled with the fact that I have about 7 important birthdays coming up and my best friend & 2 other favorites all have gotten engaged within the past week. Its a wonder I'm still with you. Add all that to my 30 hour work week and it makes my head spin.
But, enough about me, let's talk about something far more relevant to each of us - school projects and historical figures. Two of my favorites. Now, if you know anything about me you are aware that I am first and foremost adorable and coming in a close second? Academically gifted, per se, high-IQ, former Mensa member (the camps were way too weird) . . . I could go on forever! I was the top AR-point earner in my school (and almost county, but lost to a small Indian boy . . figures). One of the many areas in which I excelled was school projects. Perhaps this was because my roommate/mother (then and now) pretty much did all of them. Yes, I'd read the articles and non-fiction books (they were my favorite) and make sure Joan knew the gist of what I wanted to get across in my tri-fold poster board but then I'd watch Inspector Gadget and she would work. I've always been a good delegator.
Speaking of which, I know we've all had the pleasure of dressing up as a famous American historical figure and pretending to be them for an entire day at school. Some year round schools are getting ready to start back up and I just had this discussion with one of the children I used to nanny yesterday - so I figured I'd share some of my best ideas, and in doing so, inspire each of us to be better Americans, tutors, mentors . . . and people in general. Plus, it was just America's birthday so, this all ties in.
So yesterday, one of the little ones texts me (I know, kids today) asking about the best costume and person from American history I've ever dressed up as. While I was their nanny, I had the kids dress up as all kinds of eccentric Americans. One year we did Cesar Chavez and I sent him to school with some Tostitos, grapes and a sombrero. Cakewalk! Going through my own memory I have 2 choices that I'll share with you - each equally amazing, although for different reasons. They are as follows:
1. George Washington Carver. I used this in 5th grade, at which point, surprisingly, I was just as much of a jackass as I am now. Firstly, choosing a black man, although unorthodox, helped me aggravate the shit out of my parents - which was always a plus. Putting that aside - I wore an old paint smock, some stirrup leggings (hey, I was a round kid - finding coveralls would have been way too difficult) and wore my hair short (okay, fuck you - my hair was already fashioned in a 'boy cut' if you will - and Joan did). I sat at my desk and ate fucking peanut butter all day. Genius. I brought in Ritz, and even though some fuckhead said that Ritz probably weren't invented yet, I made sure to (1) tell my teacher I was being harassed because I was talking funny [ebonics] and (2) "bump" into him accidentally with a whole mess of Jif on my hands that somehow ended up in his face. Whatevs - I was a kid! I don't know if this is what started my affinity for African Americans, but, seriously, I paid homage to GWC that day and with every subsequent peanut butter sandwich I've had since.
2. Helen Keller. Before each of you start spouting some 3oh!3 lyrics that I've been saying for years, please allow me to explain. This was probably my best school project, ever, out of all my skipped and repeated grades. Costume was easy - whatever the fuck I wanted. Most likely some stirrup leggings and a turtleneck with a bonnet. There weren't cameras back then and its hard to stereotype blind/deaf people like I could with George Washington Carver. I got my costume ready (i.e. got dressed) and went to school and on to Mrs. Newsome's classroom. And I sat. And I sat. And I sat. The bitch couldn't talk or read but was a total bad ass. Of course, I was pre-Anne Sullivan Helen. Obvi. My idiot classmates would ask me stupid questions and I just held my American Girl doll and said nothing. I returned their pointless questions with death stares. After all, how rude is it to ask a deaf/blind person a question? They can't hear you or respond!
The point of all this is that I got an A+ on both assignments. Impossible, you say? False. I was lauded for getting "so into character" . . . for bringing props, really playing the part - and because my roommate/mother had written my essays exactly how I told her to. Ahh, you're welcome.