October’s Coffee Talk

Hello and welcome to the October edition of The Ultimate Coffee Date with Coco from Running With Perseverance and Deborah from Confessions of a Mother Runner, where we dish over coffee (or tea, if that is your preference) about all things running (and some non-running topics too).

This month, I have three things to talk about.

If we were having coffee today, I would tell you that my three grandsons are all back at school and they are all following different plans, even though two of them go to school in the same building.

The oldest is in fourth grade. He goes to in-person learning at school, with his teacher two days a week, Monday and Tuesday. The other fourth-grade cohort attends in-person classes Thursday and Friday. Wednesday, the building gets a thorough cleaning. The other three days, he has virtual learning.

The middle grandson, who attends first grade, goes to in-person brick-and-mortar school five days a week, just like normal, except with social distancing and masks.

The youngest grandson, in kindergarten, has only virtual classes. He is pictured here making a “25 Board” (with his dad’s help) for school. Don’t ask me what a 25 Board is. I was never very good at math.

They are all adapting just fine to their situation, finding the good aspects of the particular style of learning they are using this fall. By winter, who knows? Their situation may change.

If we were having coffee, I would describe how the first-grade grandson talked about 9/11 in school this year on the event’s anniversary date. When my husband and I picked him that day, he wanted to discuss it.

Were you alive on September 11, 2001?” he wanted to know (bless his little heart!).

Yes, I was teaching that morning. After the plane hit the first building, students did not change classes. We stayed in our second-period classes because no one knew exactly what was going on.

My second-period students asked if we could turn the TV on, so we did.

We watched in horror as the second plane hit the World Trade Towers. Big, invincible teenage boys told me, “Mrs. Hess, I’m scared!” I was scared too.

I saw this graphic about 9/12 online and knew it was too good not to share. I agree with this sentiment wholeheartedly.

I remember how kind everyone was immediately after 9/11, how we smiled at each other in the grocery store, and said “No, you go first,” when we got in line.

I miss that.

My right hand is very sore, thanks to Carolyn at The Handwritten Thank You Note

Carolyn is an amazing writer and blogger. If you don’t read her blog, you should.

Earlier this year, Carolyn posted about a project she was doing to help get out the vote. You make hand-written postcards to send to potential voters. 

I loved the idea of doing something useful, so I signed up to help.

I went to the post office to buy postcards. No luck, they were out. Yes, the post office was out of postcards. Go figure, it’s 2020! 

I checked at the local drugstore, some shops in town, and finally went to the nearest Hallmark store. None of them sold postcards.

Undaunted, I read online that you could use 4 x 6 notecards as postcards, so I bought postcard stamps (the post office did have them) and made my own postcards.

I am sending them out 10 at a time, giving my hand time to heal in between batches.

If you would like to participate, contact me, I will send you the information. 

I hope your post office has postcards!

 

You can find the places I link up here.

98 comments

  1. I buy postcards when we go on vacation, we hardly ever send them but they make good memories when you forget to take pictures. I was a District Executive, in a former life, for the Boy Scouts. I was taught to send one or two thank you notes a week to key volunteers. I decided to send thank you notes to some people and hello notes to some friends. It is weird how some don’t even acknowledge the note and others are over the moon. I just know how it feels to get something other then bills, if you know what I mean…

    Liked by 2 people

    • I could have bought individual postcards but that would have been really expensive to mail out dozens of them. I love it when I get a handwritten note. I used to get them from my students at Christmastime and the end of the year.

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  2. So much has changed since 9/11. Or maybe much more has come to the surface since then. Whatever the case, your comments about that experience in your class brought back memories for me, as well (I was working in a community college back then). Also, the postcard idea is great! You are making an important difference, Laurie (then and now)! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the idea of sending out handwritten postcards. Everything we can do to get out the vote will help.

    Odd how your grandsons are all attending school a little differently. Somehow I have trouble picturing a classroom of first graders all social distancing and wearing masks. Fingers crossed that everyone stays healthy!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I, too, felt the horror of 9/11 in the classroom, Laurie. My planning period was right after homeroom; I had only the radio – no TV because my class met in a trailer. But when my first class entered, there was no doubt that these middle school children were shell-shocked. They had already seen too much. That was one of the most difficult days I’ve ever endured as a teacher. May that never, ever happen again, and may we pray that this upcoming election will mandate the safety and economic security of this most blessed country.
    Blessings to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I miss the kindness of 9-12 too. Hopefully things will improve in our country after this pandemic passes and some normalcy returns. It cost nothing to show kindness.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “I remember how kind everyone was immediately after 9/11, how we smiled at each other in the grocery store, and said “No, you go first,” when we got in line.” I miss this too. Small acts of kindness really to make a big difference. I’m visiting from #Dare2Share and it’s great to connect. I love this idea of having a monthly coffee talk via blog. What a great idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. My husband has often said, “Do you wonder what our world would look like if we all lived like it was September 12, 2001?” I’ve never heard someone else make that observation–so it really struck me to read this post. (And it’s fascinating to me to hear, now, how my kids reference 9/11…as part of history. But of course.) And–the postcards–first, I’m so glad you got on board! I am moved at the lengths you went through to make that happen. Postcards…the new toilet paper?! I’ll take it. .And second–wow, the kindest words. Humble thanks! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is so true. When I was little, I used to wish it was Christmas Eve every day. Now I wish it was just like 9/12 every day. What an amazing world that would be.

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  8. Hello,

    Life and our country was different on 9/12/2001, we were united. I am not sure if we will ever be united again. It is scary. Take care, have a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love your making your own postcards. I always forget postcards are cheaper.
    Were you alive on 9/11… how cute. .. that 9/12 is so true.
    School… what a weird year (again)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. About two months into the pandemic I began wondering why this country seemed to come together and stay together months after 9/11, yet couldn’t last more than a month with Covid-19. Jason suggested people bond better when they have an enemy to blame and go after.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yes 2020 is one for the books Laurie. I had not heard of that project with postcards re: “get out the vote” and I cannot vote myself as I am not a citizen as you know – yes, here 54 years and still on a green card. I love the idea of being asked if you were around on 9/11. 🙂 I do like the graphic you posted … that is true, we made no judgments, just walked around speaking in hushed tones and being good to one another. Civility ruled and it sure does not rule now. I cringe more and more every day at what is happening – someone needs to put on the brakes and slow us down as emotions are escalating over everything, in contrast to our slow pace just a few months ago. May calmness prevail soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I didn’t realize you could stay here on a green card that long, Linda. Civility ruled immediately after 9/11 for sure. I miss that! I wonder how many of the current divides are due to foreign influences. We certainly could use a little (or a lot) more calmness in this country.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have “permanent resident status” on my green card – I guess I can stay forever, but I never asked, but I am really put thru the wringer whenever I renew my green card. It is now required to renew the green card every ten years. That happened before 9/11. I have problems as I no longer have a passport and I have faint fingerprints – they are almost non-existent. This is because I have been using a keyboard, first a typewriter, and not a computer (since late 1990s) and have worn them off. Every time I renew my green card, I have issues with my prints – they have to take ink prints as the electronic capture are not clear. Last time I had to return for a second time as the Department of Homeland Security were not happy with the prints. So I did and they still were not happy with them so I had to go to the police station and get a certification I had lived in the same house for ten years. I have lived in that house since 1966, so shame on DHS not knowing that – I had to pay to have that done and send it certified mail and only then, 8 or 9 months after I applied to renew the card, did I receive it. I’ve never been in trouble with the law either, so I don’t understand the problem, really I don’t.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That is incredible! I never heard of wearing your fingerprints off by typing! I can believe it, though. Makes sense. I had to get fingerprints taken when, 3 months before I retired, PA passed a new law that every teacher had to be fingerprinted and have an FBI check. I taught for over 30 years with no problem, but for the last 3 months, they couldn’t trust me, I guess. Ugh!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well you probably felt just like me being given the third degree. It was suggested I get a passport – will work on doing that next year or the following year. My card expires in 2025. I knew that fingerprints expired because my mom and I had to go to the police station and get fingerprinted when we got our green cards renewed in 1995. Then we went to the Canada/U.S. border where we entered when we moved here in 1966. The Border Agent said my fingerprints were lousy and that was 25 years ago. He reprinted me in front of everyone (I felt like a criminal). Then ten years later I had the same problem as the “electronic capture” was no good, so they ink-printed me. A co-worker had been a legal secretary for about 30 years. She divorced and remarried and she had grown kids, but her new husband wanted a child between them. So when this child was in first grade, they had the police come to the school to take fingerprints of the kids in case one went missing, kidnapped, etc. The teachers asked a parent to come to the school in case their child was scared of the process … the idea was that the parent got fingerprinted and said “see how easy this is” – except for Sue … she had no fingerprints. The fingerprints were like mine as she’d been typing so many years. The person administering the fingerprint capture told her that people who have played the piano for years have the same problem. They wear their fingerprints off.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Glad to share that story with you Laurie – now that I am blogging as well as working and on a keyboard about 10-12 hours a day, I will likely have totally smooth finger surfaces by 2025. I only had two followers back in 2015.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I hear this school saga from my patients all the time! It’s amazing how convoluted these return to school plans are, even within districts. I feel really badly for the parents, trying to juggle all this and their jobs too.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Bless your heart for sending out the postcards. My sister is making calls.

    And you’re right — the world was actually a kinder place after 9/11. My husband doesn’t like NYC, but when we went in 2002, he remarked how much nicer everyone was.

    I guess it falls into there is a cycle to our lives, and unfortunately we have to cycle through the bad times to get to the good times.

    May all your grandsons remain healthy & safe!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This is such a confusing/difficult time–I’m glad that your grandsons are all transitioning well though!

    I really miss common decency and kindness too (especially since it’s definitely not so common anymore :/ ). My right hand has been hating on me lately due to all the virtual work, but I’d love to work on postcards to encourage others to vote!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. How adorable that your grandson asked if you were alive on 9/11. I forget sometimes how different time seems to a kid than to an adult. Interesting idea to send out postcards to encourage people to vote. Are you allowed to tell them who to vote for? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, to my grandson, it seems like ancient history. I remember 9/11 vividly. I’m sure may parents felt the same way about WWII. I AM allowed to tell the recipients of my postcards who to vote for! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. That’s so interesting that all your grandkids have different school situations. I’m glad its working out so far! I’ve been impressed with how well most kids seem to be handling the school procedures (from what I’ve heard).

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I had seen the 9/12 meme as well, and it and it made me tear up (with a nasty lump in my throat). It’s disheartening how much hate is openly spewed these days, instead of open-minded consideration of others’ thoughts/feelings. We don’t all have to agree, but I think we still should extend kindness. Anyways, I was also watching the tv when the second plane hit, and I could not move for a long time. I was talking with a friend, and we were in shock and disbelief.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Interesting that the kids are all doing something different. I know the private school in my neighborhood started the school year with pre-K and K full time in person, and has gradually brought back older grades part time. They may be up to the A/B schedule like the first one.

    Good for you for sending out those postcards! Voter turnout (whatever that means with voting my mail) is goign to be a big factor this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I will never forget that day, that’s for sure. I don’t know that I could really explain what was happening to students (no one knew what was happening at the time). I just tried to comfort them the best I could.

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  19. Here in Australia we watched 9/11 absolutely horrified. I can still remember exactly where I was & what we were doing.
    It was early morning here, my late husband & I had just risen for breakfast to get ready for a busy day on the farm. As part of our breakfast routine he would turn the radio on to hear the morning News.
    As soon as we heard about the first tower we turned the tv on to get more information & watched horrified as the second tower was hit.
    We thought the whole of the US was under enemy attack as the day went on with the Pentagon targeted & hit. And thought it may have been the beginning of WW3! As our countries are allies we knew we would join forces to defend you as we have done in other battles.
    I wept for your country, especially the brave men who stormed the cabin of the last hijacked aircraft rather then seeing another homeland target hit…that still brings tears…such selfless acts of courage!
    Bless you,
    Jennifer

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Laurie, I too, miss kindness but am finding people so receptive as I try to spread a little around me whenever I am out (which isn’t too often 🙂 ) May we all do our part and hope it is contagious!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. That’s a really beautiful 9/12 sentiment. I dislike that it took a tragedy like 9/11 to draw us all together, but I sure wish we could all unite in kindness once again. My 15 year old is still learning fully remote and after almost 2 months of being isolated socially, it really sucks and takes such a huge emotional toll on her.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Who knew that three grandkids would have a different model for how they are learning. I hope each plan is working well. I love the postcard idea to get people to vote. And finally I remember teaching on the day of 9/11 and happened to pop into the office and found out what was happening. A minute before that it was just a regular. school day.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I love postcards and actually love snail mail. Always have and I miss that people actually write and send cards now. I joined postcard crossing a few years back, but sadly no postcards to find anywhere in and around my area. Use to see them everywhere. I learned you can make them pretty much out of anything. Even crafted ones sewn, etc. and can send them that way. Great idea on a runner’s coffee/tea blog get together, and also doing the post cards. Grandbabies are the cutest. I miss having a little one. Most of mine are grown, and the youngest lives out of state. 9/11 we were unawares and packing boat, etc. for a week at the lake when daughter came home from HS that morning, and couldn’t believe we didn’t have TV on so we saw the news clips afterward. Yes, 9/12 was nice era. Never heard of a 25 board.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love to get real mail too. That’s why I am hoping the handwritten postcards make a difference. Our youngest grandson lives out of state too but we are hoping to visit him soon.

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  24. Laurie,
    It’s really telling of the times we live in when we are yearning for the days following 9/11. I think of the firefighters chanting USA together with the President as they stood atop the burning rubble of the disaster. Unity and togetherness…I wonder if our country will ever see that again?
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Where you alive during 9/11? How sweet. I have often wondered why it takes a catastrophe to bring people together and to bring out the kindness in people. Why can´t we just always be nice to each other? #SeniSal

    Liked by 1 person

  26. We have heard that a few local schools are opening up to 5 full days in person and are hopeful that might be us soon! I am really not cut out for distance learning with my son but we are making the best of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I feel for the teachers and kids this year (and parents) with the arrangements for school changing so frequently. Voting in Australia is compulsory and something I think we take for granted.

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  28. 9/11 I remember it as if it was yesterday. I woke up during the night and flicked channels. I saw the planes going into the building but it didnt register. I thought it was some end of the world movie. To wake up and find out it was true. Then a few weeks later in my new job I learnt of one of my work mates his brother and partner were in the first tower and then a few weeks later again they found his ring. Thats all they had. So sad. Yes people were different after 9/11. In the first few weeks of COVD19 people were lovely. Then the nastiness came out. People I thought were friends were being awful on some of my posts, being rude to my friends. Of course these people are no longer in my circle. In fact my circle is now quite small and Im fine with that.

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  29. It was lovely catching up with you here. The boys and back to school was very special for me to read. The kids in our state of NSW Australia are all on school holldays now but return next week to full time class teaching. The schools here only had about a month of remote learning. A different story in parts of Australia where COVID has been more widespread. In Australia we have compulsory voting. Always have. I am heartened by the number of people, including you, who are encouraging others to register to vote. What a year it’s been. Not over yet either.

    Thank you for linking up this week. Next week on Life This Week, the optional prompt is 41/51 I Have Never. 12.10.2020. Hope to see you there! Denyse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Denyse. Your country has done so much better at controlling the Coronavirus than ours. We should have compulsory voting here too. Thank you for hosting. See you next week!

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  30. That’s neat that your grandsons are all adapting well to their different school situations. Adaptability is a good trait–especially these days. I agree about the camaraderie after 9/11. I miss that. I can’t remember a time in my lifetime that the country has been as polarized as it has been lately.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. There is a children’s book entitled something like “On 09.12 We Knew Everything Would be Okay”. It is reassuring for children who learn about 9/11 to then reflect on how, while our lives were forever changed, we did find some sense of normalcy again. I wonder if his teacher shared that book with him? Such a difficult time in our history for little ones to learn about. The Holocaust as well. I was teaching on 9/11, too, but in elementary school. We didn’t change classes or allow the children to go to the cafeteria or P.E. And the principal sat with me in the library most of the day watching the horror unfold.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That sounds like a wonderful book. I wonder if I could buy it and donate it to my grandson’s classroom. They did not read it as far as I know. Those of us who experienced that day will never forget it!

      Like

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