Wednesday, May 30, 2007

History Exam (English Colonies in America)

All of these answers are from the same student.

Short answer

(Write your answers in complete sentences.)

5. When did the Pilgrims arrive in Massachusetts?

The Pilgrims arrived in Mass. after they crossed the Atlantic Ocean, and got off their ship Mayflower. Once all were ashore, they all arrived.

8. What was the Mayflower Compact?

The Mayflower Compact was a deal the Pilgrims made with each other to work together and not run off and they wuld [sic] be English and not just people living in the woods with no goverment [sic].

11. How did the local people react to the arrival of the English colonists?

Mostly the local people died. Some didn’t, though, and they shot at the English because the other English captured or killed their people before. And some didn’t shoot at them but wanted to know who they were.

I counted all questions as correct. I need to learn how to write better questions.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Dear Maggie

It’s raining. Rain, rain, rain. I’m home with Littlest Boy, who is now watching Curious George and graciously allowing me to not play Princess Leia to his Luke Skywalker. I get tired of being rescued all the time. So the rain pours down, forming into rivulets and then into streams and the cattle out in the south pasture are complaining about it. I’m thinking about you.
Has it been two years since you’ve been gone? Two years, about a thousand diapers, a few hundred meals.
Your boys, as frustrating as they are, are still the joy of my life.
Bigglest Boy is struggling with dealing with people, those closest to him. He’s still more comfortable with books than with people. I don’t expect that to change but one thing that is changing is that he’s learning to talk instead of yell.
He’s also learning that people love him. Last weekend Littlest Boy was playing with his Jack-in-the-box. He would crank it one way, and the music would play and the puppet would pop out. Then he would turn it around, crank it the wrong way and nothing would happen.
This offended Bigglest Boy’s sense of order, and as I came into the room I heard Bigglest Boy say, “That’s WRONG!” and then thumped Littlest Boy on the head. Littlest Boy burst into tears. I immediately separated Bigglest Boy, put him upstairs in his room, then I went downstairs and checked on Littlest Boy, kissed his head, dried his tears, and told him he could turn the crank any way he wanted.
I then went upstairs to talk to Bigglest Boy.
“Do you know why your little brother is crying?” I asked him.
“Because I thumped him on the head,” he answered.
“Right. Do you know where that hurts?” I asked.
“Um,” he paused, knowing my method by now, “well, on his head...”
“Not enough to make him cry. He’s hurting inside, because his big brother, who he loves very much and who he thinks is the greatest boy in the world, just yelled at him and hit him on the head. So yes, his head hurt for a second, but his heart hurts even worse. He thinks you are disappointed in him, and that he did something wrong.”
Long silence; I stood there with my hands folded.
“Do you know what you should do now?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” he said.
“Then I’ll tell you. Go straight downstairs, apologize to him, and ask him if he’s okay.”
I expected an argument. His eyes narrowed, and Maggie, when they do that he looks EXACTLY like you. I expected an I won’t or you can’t make me or something.
“Now [Littlest Boy] doesn’t know if he can play with you anymore,” I continued. “He’s afraid you’ll hit him again.”
Bigglest Boy stared at the floor.
“And he’ll probably stay afraid until you tell him you’re sorry and you act like you’re his big brother again. He loves you.”
Bigglest Boy rolled his eyes, but he got up and went downstairs, went straight to Littlest Boy and said, “I’m sorry.” He meant it, too, I think, which is a first.
I don’t know if I handled it like you would have, Maggie, but I handled it.
Middlest Boy is driving me nuts with the food thing. He won’t eat anything I cook except for plain pasta, or plain potatoes. If he doesn’t like anything that’s for dinner, he happily eats bread and water. He eats everything his daddy makes, though. I’m trying not to let it hurt my feelings, reminding myself that I am the grown-up and he is the child.
I had a birthday on Monday. I’m 26 and I feel like I’ve grown up more in the last two years than I did in the previous ten.
I’m getting by, and we’re doing okay. Still, I’d give anything for you to be here right now.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


It was just daylight, and I was standing at the window in my scruffy old nightgown, looking out to see if it was rainy or not. I stretched, and Monsieur said softly, behind me, “My word.”
I turned around and he was just looking at me. “What?” I asked.
He smiled. “You look like … a vision,” he said. “You’re so beautiful.”
I needed that. I’m still tingling.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


I’m back.
I’m totally drained.
“How was your trip?” my mom asked.
“It was a car and an airport and a wait and a plane and an airport and a wait and a plane, and an airport and a wait and a train and a train and a car, “I said. “And a funeral. Then, the same thing in reverse.”
The boys were pretty good on the flights over. Bigglest Boy nearly had a fit just from being stuck on planes for 12 hours, but one of the attendants on the long international flight recognized it and let him sneak up to 1st class and then let him sit in the attendants’ station and played Yahtzee with him for a little while.
In France, we were staying at his brother’s house, which is this converted old stone monstrosity of a house. When we got there, the boys said, “This is a house? It looks like a castle.”
Then they played pirates and castles with their uncle and aunt.
Monsieur’s grandfather’s funeral was quiet and very well attended. I actually borrowed a dress from a cousin, who was tall and elegant and had really gorgeous clothes. I got to wear a lovely black thing with a lovely black hat. I felt like Lauren Bacall.
There must have been five hundred people in that little church. There was a wake later, that was a bit more private as it only had eighty people or so. I gathered they were only family and close friends rather than business people.
Monsieur’s family is very wonderful. They’re all good-looking. There seems to be two types in the family – tall, dark, and gorgeous; and medium, blond, and gorgeous. And lots of both. The language barrier didn’t affect me one bit since everyone said, “Oh, you’re the American!” as soon as I opened my mouth, and everything was in English from then on.
There was much food and all of it was good; some of it was even identifiable.
There was something brown on a plate which Monsieur didn’t touch but I ate with bread things.
“What’s this?” I asked him, shoveling it into my mouth.
“Pork liver,” he said, and turned away to help Littlest Boy to a plate of fruit.
I looked at my plate, then shrugged, and ate another bite.
“You’re with our American boy, aren’t you?” said someone behind me.
I turned and recognized one of Monsieur’s grand-uncles. I introduced myself in French but he answered in English.
“You know,” said the old man, confiding in me, “[Monsieur’s grandfather] didn’t like to admit to having favorite grandchildren. But, I think his favorite was [Monsieur].”
“Do you really?” I said, smiling.
“I do. But he would never say so, so don’t you tell him. But, it is true. And if you have to pick one man in this family to be the favorite, it would be that one. So, don’t let him go.”
“I’ll remember that,” I said with a wink.
“Good. He is my favorite nephew, too.”