Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gifts from My Students

These are the best gifts I received this year from my students:

(of which I need more!)

Their patience with me--as I rearranged my room again and again to fit everything onto the camera lens, as I drilled them on rhythms and Karate Recorder songs, and as I perfected my methods in order to videotape lessons for NBPTS. I couldn't have become a National Board Certified Teacher without their cooperation!

(for what I strive to do--inspire love of music, provide an emotional outlet and.... foster success!)

Students at my door during my break or their recess wanting extra practice time for state chorus or their musical.

Hearing "Joy to the World" played on keyboard by several students who normally misbehave or pay no attention in class. These 5th graders had never played a keyboard before, yet they learned this level 2 song "by ear" in two lessons. That's how hard they worked... and how talented, I discovered, they are!

Seeing a girl who rarely participates in class light up at the sight of our keyboards and quickly learn a song... THEN seeing her take the initiative to teach others!

Parents telling me their child asked for a keyboard for Christmas.

(much more important than a compliment)

Having a student recognize, WOW! You know a lot of songs by heart!

Having a student tell me, "You should be on American Idol!" and another, "You're really good at playing piano!"


Students saying they miss me before/after a break.

A little white girl putting her arm around a little black girl who was crying.

A 4th grader asking a special needs boy (who felt unwanted) to sit with him.

A 3rd grade boy volunteering to carry a box of cookie dough for a little girl.

But the best gift this year came from a 3rd grade girl who came to my desk and asked, "Can I have a hug?"  I'm not sure if she knew it or not, but I was the one who really needed a hug. So, in reality, I didn't give HER a hug, she gave ME one.


So while we teachers complain about how wild students are at this time of year, with the rush to get in the last bit of year-end testing, put on plays, tie shoes, zip coats, replace hair bows, sweep floors, along with the stress of buying presents, cooking, baking, decorating and then putting things away, let us take time to reflect upon those little gifts--those little sticks of kindling that keep our passion for teaching burning in our hearts.  

For heartwarming poems about love, loss and passion, please read my book, From the Depths of Red Bluff!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

What is the earliest Christmas present you remember/treasure?

We always had Christmas on Christmas Eve... I never was taught that Santa was real. Maybe because I was the youngest of 3 girls, or maybe my parents didn't believe in it. Nevertheless, I don't feel scarred in any way because of that. I remember us being behind a closed door waiting on mom and dad to get everything ready. This was the year my sister and I both got Ideal Baby Kissy Dolls. They were jointed at the hip and shoulders, their eyes opened and shut, and their heads could turn side to side. Baby Kissy was bow legged so she could sit up. My sister's doll was brunette while mine was blonde. Since my sister, being a tomboy, didn't care for dolls, I played with both of them. In the pic you can just see the head of hers by my foot. I also see my Mary Poppins bag in the pic by dad's boots. (It was my job to pull his boots off after he came home tired from work). My baby pic is in the background under the white ceramic poodle. We also had a black poodle. Signs of the times....

I wish I still had my Kissy, but she, my older baby doll, and my talking Bugs Bunny died in my house fire. The older baby doll's toes were missing on one foot (my dog bit them off) and her hair was gone, but I still loved her. The good news is my one-eyed Teddy Bear survived the fire! There is a poem about this, Scattered Among the Ashes, in my book, From the Depths of Red Bluff. He has been washed a few times over the years and is matty but is well-loved. He is yellow with aqua "clothes." I obtained another Bugs Bunny who is actually in better condition than mine was.

Me with my Kissy Doll about 1963-64

Pic of one that looked like mine

My new antique talking Bugs Bunny

My old Teddy

Teddy Bear reclining

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Happy 200th Birthday to The Star Spangled Banner Poem

On Sept. 13, 1814, during the War of 1812, Dr. Beanes had been arrested by the British Navy. Francis Scott Key (Frank), a young lawyer, set out to argue for his release. The British agreed, in light of how the doctor had administered the injured on both sides of the war. But on their return, the British ship began bombing Fort McHenry. How fortunate are we that a poet, Francis Scott Key, witnessed the attack of Fort McHenry, and after 25 hours of battle on that early dawn 200 years ago, like a true poet, took out whatever was availble to write upon--an old letter. and eloquently penned the glorious relief and patriotism that he felt when he saw the battered banner still waving over the land of the free and the home of the brave. God was surely with us that night as the rain drenched the reign of bombs from that mighty British ship. The flag, (see below) which was visible while the bombs were bursting in air, was replaced the next morning with the better flag, which was Later the poem was fit to a song, Defense of Fort McHenry, and more verses were added, The song ends by saying "may this be our motto, in God is our trust," later changed to "In God we trust," and titled "The Star Spangled Banner."

Now in the Smithosonian, the flag is missing a star; pieces were taken as souvenirs over the years.

"Mary Pickersgill, a hardworking widow known as one of the best flag makers in Baltimore, received a rush order from Maj. George Armistead. Newly installed as commander of Fort McHenry, the 33-year-old officer wanted an enormous banner, 30 by 42 feet, to be flown over the federal garrison guarding the entrance to Baltimore's waterfront." The huge flag, made with 300 yards of wool, had 2 foot-wide stripes. It also had 15 stripes and 15 stars. It cost the government $405.90 and the storm version that flew during the battle, cost $168.54. The morning after the battle the storm flag was replaced with the better flag.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Writer's Living Room (don't put me in a corner)

Why do I always see the expression "Writer's Corner"? I know it may be cozy to put yourself in the corner of a room to read, but my reading and writing takes up a lot more space than one corner.

In this larger space, I'd like to post prompts and discussion questions, and invite my readers to respond.  Please post an answer below. I approve all comments because of spammers, so be patient for your answer to appear, please.

Today I address this discussion question to writers:

Do you write with the audience in mind, or do you write for yourself to calm the Muse? 

There's writing because you must... and then there's writing "smart." By smart, I mean writing for a consumer audience in mind. It is "smart" to see what the current trends are--for example, vammpires (as long as there aren't TOO many vampire stories out there). It is "smart" to know what the school system is currently adding to their curriculum, and which books will garner awards-- for example, children's non-fiction stories.

From the Depths of Red Bluff

Friday, May 30, 2014

Gem Magnolia Tree: Life and Death and Dreams

Life and death and dreams live here... on this tiny, glossy-leafed 
Gem Magnolia tree.

                                Touched Magnolia

                              by Wynne Huddleston

I am a magnolia, reflecting the proud, the strong,
          the lovely South, all the way down to my Southern Belle
          roots, planted firmly in Baptist grit and Mississippi 
          mud. In the spring I cover myself
          in buds that bloom into creamy white 
          flowers between leaves, glossy green 
          on top; velvety underneath. Wanted for my beauty, 
          many attempt to touch me, and when they do,
          they bruise my delicate petals
          for I have no defense
          but to curl up, turn brown and ugly, 
          then wither away.

Sometimes you have to make your own miracle. 

Today is my birthday, but I woke up crying because I lost 2 sweet friends yesterday. Timmy died in a wreck a mile from my house. He was in my class, from 2nd to 11th grade. I even called him my boyfriend in 4th grade. I'd lost contact with him since school days (decades ago) until I saw him at visitation for Bruce, my former brother-in-law, who had suddenly died. Bruce was also in our class (our school was small, one homeroom per grade). Timmy and his wife had recently moved back here. He and Bruce were only 55 when they passed away. Neil is my sister's brother in law who was a grade ahead of me. He was special. He lived with his brother, who watched out for him. He had an innocent, giving nature. Neil died in his sleep, not a bad way to go, but he was too young, only 56. So here I was crying. Then I thought, isn't it selfish to cry? Am I crying for me? They are free spirits now. Wanting to keep them on earth is selfish. So, I got up and made coffee, and thought, the best thing to do in their memory is to LIVE.

I opened the curtains on my French doors, to let in the sun, and saw my baby bluebirds flying from the junior sized oak tree I'd planted after Katrina (along with 2 different lightning strikes over the years) took my only big old oak. But I digress… 
These little bluebirds had left the nest their mom had built in my yellow bird house. 

My birthday magnolia!
I walked into the front yard and saw that finally, after all these years of wanting, here was the most lovely magnolia, my favorite flower, for my birthday. The bloom was fully open. (Sometimes you have to make your own miracle; last year I bought myself a Gem magnolia and planted it.)

Here is an old, brown bloom that will soon fall off the stem; and here are many more buds ready to open. Unseen, are many more flowers that only exist in dreams and imaginings for now, 

The bloom I cut is on the right.
and here is the young bloom I cut to put in a vase yesterday. The one on the tree is much more beautiful.

Life and death and dreams live on this one tiny, glossy-leafed Gem Magnolia tree. Enjoy today, the present, the now—it's all we truly have. Don't live in past regret, don't put off to the future, hoping to do that thing you want to do "one day." 

Buddhists wisely advise, Be mindful. Live in the present. 

The Bible says, Be still, and know I am God. 

About Me

My Photo
Wynne Huddleston is a poet, musician and teacher. Her first book of poetry, From the Depths of Red Bluff, ISBN: 978-0-9840483-2-8, published by the Mississippi Poetry Society, Inc., is now available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Ms. Huddleston is the Mississippi Poetry Society 2014 Poet of the Year. Her poetry has been published in numerous publications including the Birmingham Arts Journal, Camroc Press Review, Stymie Magazine, Danse Macabre, Orange Room Review, New Fairy Tales Anthology, Ink, Sweat & Tears, and Four and Twenty. Her poem, Same Stars, Different Houses received a Pushcart Nomination from Deep South Magazine. Awards include the 2013 MPS Award, and Winner of the Grandmother Earth National Contest 2010 for Environmental Poetry. Ms. Huddleston was born in Lone Star, Texas, but has lived in Mississippi most of her life. She has been an elementary music teacher for 25 years, and has 2 grown sons, and 2 grandchildren. http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984048324/

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