Thursday, May 04, 2006
I can remember a time when I was a young boy when hand kitted dresses were popular. It was the late ‘30s and early ‘40s, I think. My mother was quite a knitter and she had knitted several dresses for herself. They were very attractive and she was admired for her skill...and for her figure which the knit did not detract from. Our seventh grade home room teacher also wore a knitted dress, but she wore the same one every day and her figure was a bit too ample to be flattered by anything tight. But Mrs. Murphy was a dear. She tried to be strict, but a twinkle in her eye took the edge off her discipline. Everyone in her classes loved her.
I thought of Mrs. Murphy this week when there were reports of a survey on school age children that showed them to be weak, weak failures in Geography. They haven’t been taught where anything is. They don’t know the capitols of the states. Only a wee percentage could point out Louisiana on a map despite its recent prominence on TV and in newspapers.. Foreign countries were beyond the ken of most. Mrs. Murphy was our Geography teacher. This was well before something called Social Studies replaced Geography in the schools. A little of what is now “social studies” may have slipped into her teaching, but her aim was to have her kids know where things were At lunch hour she would let us play games on the maps rolled up like curtain shades in the front of her room. We made great fun out of finding obscure towns and then challenging classmates to locate them.
Imagine...today you can easily get your Ph.D. in most anything without knowing what rivers flow through Pittsburgh. We couldn’t make it to eighth grade without knowing that and a lot more about the towns, cities, rivers, mountains, and people of the world.