Thursday, June 18, 2009

"A noun is a name...

...of a PERSON, PLACE, OR THING!!!...," she would exclaim emphatically while clapping her hands and stomping her foot. I remember that grammar lesson to this day. The "she" was my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Snyder. I got word she passed away last week. She lived to be a 101, so she was getting close to retirement when I was taught by her back in the mid-to-late '60's. Other than my sixth grade teacher(whom I loathed), no other teacher from that time made more of an impression upon me than Mrs. Snyder. I absolutely adored her. Let me explain...

I was extremely content living in Wamego, KS. It was there I discovered Famous Monsters magazine and the wackiness of Uncle Forry Ackerman. It was a wondrous time of the clashing of cultures and changes with the Beatles and the "British Invasion." Bond movies were beginning to be produced, and the sounds of the Beach Boys were also starting to make the airways on the radio. I remember first hearing Roy Orbison's "Pretty Woman" on the radio of my folks' Oldsmobile, and thinking how cool it was to have a car with power windows. I discovered "Big Daddy" Roth and the Rat Fink. But I REALLY liked the Weird-Oh's, "Leaky Boat Louie," being my favorite. If I saved my allowance to a $1.03, I could afford the latest Aurora Universal Monster model kit with that wonderful James Bama artwork on the box.

Like all kids at that age, I had friends I still remember, but sadly didn't stay in touch with. One of them gave me a Spider-Man #2(without the cover). Another one introduced me to "Dr. Solar, Man of the Atom." I never would've met him except that I'd been kicked out of the pool that day for splashing the head lifeguard, a surly guy we referred to as "Crater-Face," from all the acne scars he had. Yes, life was good in Wamego. Then my dad got a better job offer...

So we moved to Effingham, KS. I was heartbroken. Effingham was much smaller than Wamego. The school system my dad was going to(he was the new head football coach) was consolidating from other smaller schools. Effingham didn't have a municipal pool, and the water actually stunk it was so hard. Tasted awful, as well.

One of the reasons for the move was my folks were going to finally own their own house and my mother would have her own beauty shop business. It was also closer to Atchison where my folks had grown up and gone to high school. My dad went to college at old St. Benedict's College. We lived with my grandmother while the new house was being built.

So I entered fifth grade with trepidation. I've hated being the "new kid" in school. And at that school the teacher's "doubled up." Mrs. Snyder also taught the sixth grade. We were all in one room.

She still let us have morning prayer, even though "Mad" Madeline conned the Supreme Court in saying we couldn't. She went by her middle name of "Geneva," stating she didn't like her first name of "Eva"--since "Eve" had committed the first sin, she didn't want any comparison.

She also hated the "new math," which was the rage at the time. I'd never understood it in fourth grade and struggled with long division. Mrs. Snyder said she'd taught long division for years and wasn't going to change. I learned it her way and never had a problem with it. And even though she had 2 grades at the same time to teach, I don't remember being bored, or feeling slighted. I felt like she could've taught me anything. Nor was fifth grade the only time I had her as a teacher. In seventh and eighth grade, she moved over to the new "jr. high," and was one of the Jr. High English teachers. So I was in her classroom again for those 2 years.

In the end, I have more fond memories of those years in Effingham and made more endearing friendships than I had in Wamego. Such is the way of youth.
I'm also going to post some pictures from my son's, and new daughter-in-law's, wedding.

Here's a picture of my inlaws--my wife's sister and her family...

This is my wife and I with our son...'s our family. My oldest son, Adam, was best man and gave a toast at the wedding dinner that brought tears to everyone's eyes. My daughter, Rachel, gave a reading at the wedding ceremony, and did such a good job I thought she was going to take a bow...

...and here's all the Worley's of my side, including my mother-in-law and her husband, and my folks...

Obla dee, obla dah!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Wow! It's June already?... I didn't keep my promise to myself to blog more in May, equaling last year's total of one post for the month. This year, however, seemed to have just more stuff crammed into it.

*I got "promoted" at work, which meant a learning curve on trying to do stuff I hadn't done before, like payroll and office reports, along with keeping up with what I was doing.

*Finding time training the new assistant manager to do the things I had been, while keeping payroll down, and juggling schedules because the staff was predominantly still in school.

*My son got married.

*My nephew graduated. (I really hated missing that one.)

*Dealing with hyperactive terriers who still have housebreaking issues.

*My daughter's birthday.

*My 31st wedding anniversary.

*A church deacons' meeting--those are always long.

And I'm sure I'm missing something out of this. Is it any wonder I look like this?...

This particular image was drawn by Javier Gonzalez--the midwest's fastest caricature artist!!! And a really great guy!

June isn't starting better. My mother is scheduled to have knee surgery in the middle of the month. I've heard my uncle from California will be coming back to help. I'd like to be able to spend some time with them, but could see it being difficult. Worlds of Fun is a demanding "mistress."

Every now and then, something I did comes back to haunt me. This one, I guess, still makes the rounds, and it's from a time when I was more sure of myself and my abilities. To see the whole thing, just click on the image...

It was a fun piece. To this day "Betty" is still my favorite character to draw. The first professional freelance pencilling job I got was a one-pager from Archie--a "Betty" story. Nor is this piece a good example of how I NOW draw the characters. I learned a lot from Dan DeCarlo and Stan Goldberg whenever I got a chance to get pointers. There was a joy to the drawing, and I haven't been joyfully drawing since I had surgery on my arms and hands.

I did finish up, somewhat, on the Sat-7 minicomic project I'd let set too long. And it turned out rather well. I like how the characters ended up, design-wise. And NO, it's not a "this Bud's for you," but part of an illustration to help kids begin to fund-raise. Sat-7 is one of the few "media ministries" I have respect for. The prevelent ones just irritate me.

I do admit to recycling this image. Originally it was a cartoony version of Brian Miller of HiFi Colour Design, and I redrew it to make it "Dr. Salaam"--a little character I created to help promote the Sat-7 minicomic.

That's all for now.