Wisdom Wednesday – Cover Your Knees!

I’ve been posting some of Grandma Eveline’s newspaper clippings from the 1960s-1970s and I thought this one was the perfect follow-up to my recent post about my mom’s knees and my pigeon toes.






















Mini-skirts were the bane of parents, grandparents and school administrators in the mid-to-late 1960s. First popularized in Europe – many credit British designer Mary Quant – the mini-skirt made it’s way across the ocean to middle America where girls like me subscribed to Seventeen Magazine and wanted to dress like Twiggy.

I never really had the knees for mini-skirts though.

And even in the 3rd grade, sitting by a friend on the playground, I was asked about those little blue and purple lines showing through the skin of my thighs.

So I suppose I should have avoided short skirts.

In my high school in Joplin, MO around 1968, girls were required to drop to their knees if a teacher or administrator thought their skirt was too short. A ruler was used to measure the distance from the floor to the hem of your skirt. If it exceeded 4 inches, your parent’s were called and you had to go home and change.

I think I had to do this once. But maybe I was just so humiliated for a friend that I think it happened to me. I do know I was never sent home – so if it was me, I tugged that skirt down just far enough to pass.

And this is reminding me of the girl I carpooled with in Joplin. Ninth grade was in middle school then and I carpooled with another girl who also had to get to school early for band practice. When my mom drove, Gayle would sit in the back seat and, during the drive to school, she would take off her shoes and white socks and procede to put on a pair of panty hose and sometimes a different pair of shoes that she had stashed in her very large purse. (No backpacks in those days.) On the days her mom drove, Gayle would run into the school bathroom as fast as she could to change there. If my mom knew what was going on in the back seat, she never said anything.

These days it is undoubtedly best to cover my knees.


Wisdom Wednesday – Is that Grandma’s newspaper clipping on Facebook?

You know how there is a feed on the right-hand side of your Facebook page that shows all of the things your friends commented on or liked?

I confess. I hover there from time to time….. just checking to see if my friends are up to something I ought to know about.

I was hovering the other day when I read something that sounded awfully familiar. I read it again and then went to the notebook where I have some of my grandmother’s papers – including some newspaper clippings that she kept. Sure enough…. an almost identical match.

Here is what my friend had liked on Facebook:

And here is what my Grandma Hoskins (Eveline Coates) had clipped and saved from the newspaper:

My best guess was that Grandma’s newspaper clipping was published sometime in the 1960s. Some 40 years later here it is, making the rounds on Facebook. What’s up with that?

A little googling led me to some explanations.

“The Northland Age has inadvertently created an internet sensation, with a page 3 brief published two years ago being picked by social media and shared tens of thousands of times worldwide,” reports The Northland Age (Kaitaia, Northland, New Zealand) in an article titled “Exporting to the Americans” and published August 23, 2012.

It goes on to say that Principal John Tapene quoted the words of an American judge (written in 1959) in an April 2010 newsletter. The Northland Age reproduced it in May. Then it was picked up by a Canadian radio station, and later an Alaska-based parenting blog posted it on its Facebook page. That’s when it went viral.  There was even an article about it in the Huffington Post.

I was relieved to know that John Tapene is a real person, alive and well, living and working in New Zealand.

A January 2010 article in the Pierce County Tribune in Rugby, ND states: “We recently came across this message that appeared on page two of Pierce County Tribune’s Dec. 17, 1959 issue. It was quietly nestled between the area news and local happenings. No reason was given. I suspect the editor just thought it was a good message.” The original message/advice is attributed to Judge Philip B. Gilliam of Denver, Co., a judge in the Denver Juvenile Court and Juvenile Hall from 1940 until his death in 1975.

The article includes the original version as it was published in 1959.

So how did Principal John Tapene come across this bit of wisdom from 1959? No idea. Maybe it has something to do with its republication in January of 2010 by the Pierce County Tribune just a few months before Mr. Tapene quoted it. Maybe he googled “advice to teenagers” while preparing his newsletter.

Or maybe his grandmother had clipped it from the newspaper and Mr. Tapene came across it while working on his genealogy.

It could happen.

Both the version my Grandmother clipped from the newspaper and the one currently circulating on Facebook and Pinterest and blogs around the world have been edited from the original.

Grandma’s clipping is pretty close to the original, although it leaves out the line “Repair the sink, build a boat, get a job.” Also missing are the references to being a crybaby and lacking a backbone – providing a tone that is a little less harsh.

The version currently making the rounds has a few more omissions and substitutions:
* No storm windows to hang, but windows still need to be washed.
* No raking leaves, painting woodwork, shoveling the walk, washing the car, or scrubbing some floors.
* “Learn to cook” was added and “build a boat” was changed to “build a raft.”  Lowering expectations?
* No “helping the minister, priest, or rabbi, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army” or “assist the poor.”
* No appeal based on the sacrifices made by one’s parents, nor on being “their dearest treasure.”
* No references to poverty or the poor. I guess teenagers no longer owe the world their time and energy and talents so that no one will ever be in poverty again.

So, to answer my original question, “Yes, that is (almost) Grandma’s newspaper clipping on Facebook.”






Wisdom Wednesday – You Can Grow Ideas in the Garden of Your Mind

I haven’t posted anything in a few days. I’m trying to organize my messes and rescan old photos as .tif files and try a different system for organizing my genealogy files on my computer – now that I’ve switched to a Mac. These things take time. And confuse me.

I just saw this and wanted to share. Words of wisdom from Mr. Rogers….remixed. Enjoy!

Did you ever grow anything in the garden of your mind?