Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hitler's socks and other interesting stuff

This might be a long post - it's been a strange week, so far.

I co-teach a class in Ecology. It's filled with 11th and 12th-graders who would rather be somewhere else. It is not an SOL class, so is deemed less important than other science classes. I'm currently presenting information on renewable and nonrenewable forms of energy. (BTW - Happy Earth Day!) I digress...
In planning for this subject, I found out that our media specialist lived in Kiev in 1986, and had family/parents who lived in Chernobyl! Holy Can-You-Come-Speak-to-My-Class?!? She came in and told the students about how she was helping her mom plant potatoes in Chernobyl the day AFTER the accident while she was pregnant, and how nobody was told anything official for 4 days. Crazy! She and her family (including the 'rents) moved to America in 1990. Everyone in that family (including the child born after the accident) have some kind of cancer/blindness/illness directly attributed to the radiation. Pretty intense stuff, and fairly random to find someone in central VA who lived through this accident.

OK. On Saturday, a group of us from school went to check out the planetarium at a local university. We are nerds. Anyway, on the ride there I was telling the other teachers about the randomness that is our media specialist. One of my friends says, "Get this! I was talking with the grandmother of my neighbor, complimenting her on her knitting skills, when she told me she learned how to knit as a girl when she was forced to knit socks for Hitler's army." !!!! Not only that- the woman came to the US after the war as an orphan. Both her parents were killed when the Russian Army came through their town, and she has horrible scars from a grenade on both legs. Again - randomness in central Virginia!

And, oh - one more story from this week:
One of the students in my Ecology class has been out for several days. We heard through the grapevine that her father died. Very sad. There's more...
Seems this young lady's family moved to Las Vegas when she was 11 years old. Her parents gave her permission to spend the summer with a friend, here in central VA, while they got settled in Nevada. Over that summer, the parents moved - left no forwarding address! (Tell the truth - how many parents have threatened that? I know I have!) She ended up staying with her friend's family, while people tried to locate her parents. After 2 years, the parents were found - and they gave up their parental rights. WHAT? Who does that? She was adopted by the friends, and stayed in VA. Evidently, last week her biological dad passed away, and she's in Nevada for the funeral. Question for you -- would you attend this funeral in the same situation? I can't say that I would...


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