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Posted: August 23, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Children don’t change, and neither do English teachers

I was on the phone with my sister this week. We usually talk at least once a week unless either of us feels very strongly about a Jeopardy question or answer and has to call the other about it. Then we talk more often. We especially like to brag if we knew final Jeopardy and none of the contestants knew it.

I usually call her on Friday morning as I am driving to play bridge. I promise I dial the phone before I leave my driveway. We talk for about 20 minutes and then I have to hang up as I have reached my destination. (I developed this habit because my older daughter only calls me while she is driving to or from work or she needs help with a grandchild’s English homework. She likes to multi-task. Phone calls with my older daughter inevitably end when she says, “Well, I am here.”) My sister wanted to know how the granddaughters were enjoying their room makeovers.

I told her that they were very happy and that their mother had instituted a new program in the household. They now have to make their beds daily, keep their rooms neat, change their own sheets and put up their own laundry after it is washed, dried and folded and put into their own rooms.

She wanted to know how that was going. Well, they haven’t changed their sheets yet, but they have helped when they were changed. They are very good about making their beds in the morning and keeping their rooms straight. They have their own laundry baskets and now have a place for their dirty clothes that is not on the floor. They are good about using them.

Putting their clean folded clothes up is a hit or miss affair. Sometimes they do and sometimes that folded laundry begins to stack up on the dresser.

But it stays stacked up. I have to admire their mother for that. When she and her sister were little, I worked teaching school. I was not too good about making them do chores. I admit to that. My excuse is that I can’t stand clutter and I was busy. It took less effort just to do it myself than to nag my children to do what they were supposed to do or to live with the results of the chores not getting done.

My sister said that when her children were that age, she instituted a system of individual laundry baskets. Her children were to bring the baskets to the laundry room. My sister would wash, dry and fold the laundry and return it to the baskets which, theoretically, were supposed to be returned to their rooms by her children. From there the clean clothes were supposed to be put away properly.

She said what ultimately occurred was that all of her children’s clothes remained folded in baskets in the laundry room and that her children basically got dressed for school each morning in the laundry room, rather than their bedrooms, because that was where their clothes were.

Children don’t change.

On a different note, English teachers don’t change either.

I was pumping my own gas this week (Gosh, there was a time when I never thought I would have made that statement. Gas station attendants pumped the gas for you and it only cost 25 cents a gallon. You could ride all night on a $1 of gasoline.), and I noticed a pickup truck with a decal on its back windshield that said, “God was a,” and underneath those words was the Georgia helmet G. I presume meaning God was a Georgia bulldog.

I am a Georgia graduate. And I appreciate the whimsy and team spirit of the sentiment. And the first Georgia game is almost upon us. I don’t follow football that closely, but my husband does. He would say we need revenge against Clemson.

But as an English teacher, the use of the past tense puzzles me.

Does that mean He went to Georgia but graduated?

Or perhaps He once was a fan, but now He no longer is?

Did He became distraught with the performances of the last few seasons?

I just don’t know.

Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be contacted at pnbtravis@att.net.

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