Monday, November 17, 2014

My evolving philosophy of Education

Philosophy of Education
My second attempt at writing this paper – prepared by Wesley A. Morgan
Upon reflection, it strikes me that my paper on MY philosophy of education should more closely reflect some understanding of key reference points discussed in class along with subsequent independent study for EDU 211. Education is new to me as a career path but not entirely foreign as I am currently a para-educator with the Special School District in St. Louis at the Neuwoehner School (a school that proudly boasts itself as a National School of Character).

Plowing through Dewey and his Pedagogic Creed[1] I was first struck by what I found to be a sort of pomposity with the frequent use of I believe but I warmed up to his philosophy as I began to understand Dewey’s enormous influence in moving education away from being a unique privilege to a system that needs to understand and address social conditions. Schools are indeed social institutions. Furthermore, I agree with the notion that a child learns best when the teacher understands the dichotomy of psychology and social natures. Our second reading of Dewey[2] finds him a bit more reflective (if not a tad defensive) in his philosophies of education – fair enough given that his leading influence lasted sixty years or more with a great influence on leading thinkers in education today. You can understand his concerns about being misunderstood. (A situation due, I believe, in equal parts to his huge influence and his proclivity to overly explain his positions. He would have benefited from a strong editor/publicist on his team.)

George Counts seems willing to stir the pot among progressives in his remarks[3] that shape arguments that draw on what are uniquely American ideals while generously inserting a Soviet style brand of socialism. He calls for a measure of disruption of the economic order of Capitalism. While Dewey struck me as pompous, Counts seemed positively radical and Communist. As a baby boomer born of the Greatest Generation I am impressed that Counts was able to generate meaningful dialogue about the role education plays in a democracy in spite of his political leanings. My guess is he would have found a less receptive audience in the 1950s-60s.

We further studied Paulo Freier and his Pedagogy of the Oppressed[4] and it isn’t hard to see the huge impact education can have in motivating the meek and persecuted under-classes in modern societies for social reform. I am impressed by this too (but it is not this kind of world view that inspires me to be in the field of education).

Marie Monetssori[5] begins to seem more pragmatic (if at times formulaic) as our study of educational philosophies continued. Her approaches to education provide sound advice to educators to prepare an environment, be prepared as teacher/facilitator, and offer freedom to learn (with appropriate responsibility). This strikes me as abundantly wise, particularly with younger students as they begin their studies.

Nel Noddings[6] is compelling and sensitive. Her ideas of organizing education around themes of care (for self, intimate others, strangers, animals/plants/earth, human-made world, ideas) might be criticized as being feminine, stereotypically assigning education to the wheelhouse of the feminine gender. Not a fair criticism in my view. Noddings is a successful product of the system and part of a huge family. She has a justifiable position if you believe in practicing what you preach. (No surprise she is a prolific author.)

We come to this idea of The Just Community Approach[7] and almost stumble on our teacher as one of the authors of our assigned reading. Doing a Google search on Dr. Shields might have been a distraction. but perhaps not as jarring as the profound sadness of discovering news of Kohlberg’s suicide. (Okay, I admit it this piece of information came from Wikapedia but with sufficient detail to remind us all how short and precious life is. He was only 59 years old.) Since my source is Wikapedia on this factoid I am not going show it in the footnotes). I am mindful, having participated on some athletic teams in my lifetime, of how a Just Community supports a group as all the members take ownership of governance and boundaries. It works.  

I will confess that I wrote an earlier paper on My Philosophy of Education. It is more personal. It draws on my experiences as admissions counselor for the University of Miami and as para-educator for the Special School District (SSD) and my audit of a Parkway School District School Board Meeting in August (for this class). Most of the philosophers we have discussed appear to have a much grander view of education than mine. Maybe that is because they earned a bigger audience among the education community. With the remaining space I will outline my general position on education even though I can see it as a philosophical position that will likely evolve further.
I.                   I have always been a fan of great books, fine art and timeless classics with a healthy interest in how art meets commerce. That makes me more a Perennialist I suppose.
II.                In see how Essentialists may feel it necessary to get ahead by preparing students for the world as we (in the U.S.) are arguably falling behind in STEM. (My least favorite subjects are Science and Math. I am baffled by Engineering. And I am not overly confident in my Math skills.) Maybe judging the advocates of Common Core and No Child Left Behind is unfair of me. But there has to be a better answer than creating a culture of Test Takers. 
III.             I tend to side with Progressivism, since I like the intention of making education available for all, not just the elite and privileged. I like the pragmatism of Montessori for early education. And I see the role of education in a democracy as real.
IV.             At the risk of sounding like one picking from a Chinese menu – I see the value of a culture of caring (Noddings) and pragmatic/systematic (Montessori) for early childhood education setting a stage for some practical learning of common core (without the burden of mandated testing) for High School culminating in a rewarding college pursuit of liberal arts with room for the exceptional STEM types to co-exist as it takes a lot of people to make the world go around.
V.                Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t emphatically support the great need we have as a society to support those human beings with special needs. We are only now beginning to realize the spectrum of Autism, the impact of ADHD, Downs, Mental Illness and a long list of medical obstacles that individuals live with every day. (And by extension, their families, and society as a whole.) The educational systems (public and private) needs to take responsibility as everyone in our society deserves a chance to live a happy, fulfilling and productive life. And each success achieved through our educational systems is a victory for humanity.  

  

A Philosophy of Education

My first attempt to write a paper on my educational philosophy
Provided as a point of reference. Read only if curious about my first pass at the assignment

The Syllabus for Foundations of Education calls for a paper reflecting my philosophy of education. Teaching is a new career path for me and I am hopeful that my perspective is acceptable. To be sure, it comes from a different place – and maybe that is a good thing. I am a paraprofessional educator with the Special School District in Saint Louis. 

Those Who Can, Teach is the text for the course. It offers what I take to be good touch-points for this paper. (1) It suggests four distinct purposes for schools and what they do. The book discusses Intellectual, Political/Civic, Economic and Social as purposes. I have strong opinions and bias, but I can relate to each of these as meaningful reasons for schools to exist.

My philosophical position may have been solidified in 1979-1980 as a graduate assistant for the University of Miami representing the school’s Admissions Office. I participated in a program designed by the director of admissions, George Giampetro (2). It was a graduate assistantship that came with a small stipend and tuition remission for those semesters in which I was not required to travel. The Fall semesters took me to twelve states in New England and the Midwestern regions of the U.S. I visited with over 300 high schools talking to guidance officers, prospective students and others. I also attended dozens of college fairs which are often well attended by parents of prospective college students.

Even then, I was a champion of a liberal arts education. I stayed close to that philosophy as an undergraduate with a double major of Art and English. (More specifically Graphic Design and Creative Writing). It was not until I was a graduate student when an evolving perspective on education in pursuit of a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) with an emphasis on Marketing did my mind open to my credentials and the economic realities of making a living.
Perhaps I was influenced by what I saw as a growing trend toward viewing education as an investment. As an admissions representative I was armed with some reassurance suggesting that those who are college educated will earn more than those who do not complete college. I was, I think, less informative in offering advice on the economics of studying law, medicine or accounting specifically.

My MBA was indeed helpful in separating me from others in the competitive field of advertising. I landed my first job as an account executive on the Heineken Beer business in New York City. I remember thinking that Advertising was a profession where art meets commerce. I never regretted a moment of the large portion of my education that was connected to the study of fine art and literature. Advertising, especially in account management, is a place where I continued to learn. I was a witness to decisions made and executed on behalf of well known brands from Pepsi Cola to Matchbox Toys. About 15 years and moves from New York, LA, Raleigh, Miami and finally St. Louis generated enough material to produce a later-day Mad Men series -- a portfolio of experiences.

So, in that respect I considered my work life to be something of a lifelong learning in the advertising business. It was 1998, when faced with the prospect of moving my family or staying put and settling in for a while in the home of the St. Louis Cardinals, I accepted a corporate marketing position which lead to the next twelve years of my working life as a marketing and communications executive. Later on, a start-up business with modest success led me to explore education. In researching the need for substitute teachers I discovered the Special School District (SSD). I am motivated by the possibility that my skill sets will apply in this strange new world. 

With a relatively short exposure to the unique and challenging business of helping students at the SSD achieve the mission in collaboration with partner districts, to provide technical education and a wide variety of individualized educational and support services designed for each student’s successful contribution to our community. (3) Adding SSD experience to my frame of reference has given me new insights. I have a new appreciation for the role schools play in socialization. Encouraging appropriate behavior becomes a critical part of education as I seek to prepare the student population at SSD’s Neuwoehner School for a transition to adult life. 

I suspect my philosophy is closer to that of English teacher John Keating as he inspires his students to a love of poetry and to seize the day in Dead Poets Society (4). But my philosophy is has also been influenced by guidance counselors, students and parents who are mindful of the economics of an investment in education. It has been further tempered by the reality of the good people who entrust the Special School District to prepare students for the next phase of their lives – as adults.

I am also somewhat persuaded if not fully influenced by my recent study of Special School District of St. Louis County and Parkway School District which, by almost any measure, are exemplary in what they do every day. 

It is essential to create an environment where students can achieve not only what they want but what they dream. It is the responsibility of the school administration to earn community trust and support so teachers can make those dreams seem attainable in spite of setbacks and sometimes falling short. We want both the Capable, Curious, Confident Learners that Parkway School District identified as well as a smooth transition to adult life that is included in the SSD Mission and Vision statements.  In all cases the status quo won’t cut it. We as educators are obliged to deliver lifelong learners who are the best prepared for an ever-changing world.(5.) (ibid 3.)    

1.      Those Who Can, Teach Thirteenth Edition, Kevin Ryan and James M. Cooper © 2013, 2014 Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. The Four Basic Purposes of School page 35
2.      George Giampetro LinkedIn website shows George Giampetro as Director of Admissions, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL from January 1964 – June 1985 
3.      Special School District of St. Louis County website District Overview section.
4.      Dead Poets Society Warner Brothers ©1989 starring Robin Williams as Keating.
5.      Parkway School District strategic plan brochure (available on their website www.parkwayschools.com)

Prepared for Foundations of Education EDU 211 by Wesley A. Morgan -  morganwes@aol.com   



[1] Dewey, John My Pedagogic Creed School Journal vol 54 (January 1987)
[2] Dewey, John From Experiences and Education (1938)
[3] Counts, George S. Counts Progressive Education Vol IX April Number 4 Dare Progressive Education be Progressive? (1932)

[4] Freire, Paulo Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1972)
[5] The Early Years – Lillard, Angeline and Else Quest, Nicole - Evaluating Montessori Education – Science vol 313 2006  and Taming Montessori by Jacobson, Linda Education Week vol 26 Issue 27  (2007)
[6] Noddings, Nel Teaching Themes of Care
[7] Power, F Clark; Power, Ann Marie R; Bredemeir, Brenda Light; Shields, David Light – Democratic Education and Children’s Rights

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Salute to Mary and James

With your theatrics and artful moves;
You shaped a family that could not lose;
You lived with flair, panache, and style as husband and wife;
Fur coats, cars, cameras, boats, tickets - the best things in life.  
You were passionate, opinionated, forceful and giving;
You modeled a life and a way of living;
But what mattered most was never the material things;
It was a simple cartoon, a quote and the joy that love brings;   
You encouraged us to follow our dreams;
Our Camelot came so gracefully it seems.
You said to savor the moment but seize the day;
By nature children are impatient and want to go their own way.
On the lake, football plays or plays for the stage;
Scripted in acts, written, and read carefully -- page by page;
Measure for measure - Edgewater days and autumn afternoons;
We marveled together as the first man stepped on the moon
Expressions, impressions, watercolor tides
Museums, parks, parades, and roller coaster rides
Tutor trim, lucky stones and fireplace flames;
We can never thank you enough Mary and James.
Time goes by and now it seems too fast;
Life is ephemeral and never meant to last. 

Rest in peace.

Digital Dan



My brother is a commercial photographer. But, more importantly, he is a guy who has adjusted to the recent developments in marketing both his business and the nature of his practice. He studied photography at the University of Dayton in Ohio. He sharpened his skills, working for our father’s design studio which offered services related to art, advertising and photography. Dan always had an interest and affinity for technology. So when he took his talents to New York City he became very proficient in offering photography ready for publication. Sotheby’s Auction House discovered Dan Morgan as a resource for quality, high volume production of everything from rare books, fine art to artifacts that would be offered for sale at auction. He worked in the Big Apple for nearly a decade (as still has client in the Northeast), But he returned to his beloved Cleveland, Ohio because it was where he and his wife, Annette were comfortable calling home.  

Along the way Dan realized that managing a database of friends, customers and prospects was worth cultivating. So to engage this growing audience, he developed an ongoing program called JPEG of the WEEK. On a weekly basis, Dan shares a photograph. (AND has been doing so for more than a dozen years!)  He is also active in other social media channels such as facebook, twitter and via instagram. He has been a guest blogger. He actively supports emerging artists in and around Northeast Ohio.

Dan knows how to leverage networking and interacts in a way that builds relationships. If you know Dan, chances are he has found a way to engage you over time. It reinforces his brand and puts him top-of-mind with those who may have a need for a professional photographer. Dan interacts in a way that feels more personal to users than conventional methods of outbound marketing & advertising.   


Every week Dan Morgan sends out a recent image -- commercial, editorial or fine art. For more information visit: aboutdanmorgan.com or E-mail Dan to be added to his special JPEG of the WEEK distribution list (rex@straightshooter.com).

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Carts & Cocktails 2014



Laumeier Sculpture Park Carts & Cocktails 2014 

More than 200 guests attended Carts & Cocktails, a progressive party as unique as Laumeier itself, Saturday, September 27, 2014 at the Sculpture Park. Guests cruised through the Park in golf carts, enjoying sweet and savory fare, specialty cocktails, a silent art auction of works by Tom Huck, and live entertainment from the Boney Goat Band, The Root Diggers, and the Cree Rider Family Band. The event proceeds will support Laumeier’s exhibition, education, and art conservation programs.
Guests first traveled to The South Woods where they found passed hors d’oeuvres and Geoffrey Krawzyck’s site-specific installation Recess, 2014, an interactive space that refers not only to the decline of the Mississippian civilization at the Cahokia Mound site but also the urban areas of St. Louis. The room-sized chamber consists of reclaimed materials, especially bricks, from one or more of the authentic architectural ruins of St. Louis’ North Side.
Next, they went to The Way Field for dinner stations and became part of the artwork during a special preview of Laune: A Dance Performance, riding through the cultural landscape in which the performance takes place. Dancer, choreographer, and 2015 Kranzberg Exhibition Series artist Ashley McQueen honored the labor that goes into the manicured landscape at Laumeier. Through a series of performances using riding lawnmowers, McQueen’s dancers explore Laumeier’s unusual relationship with St. Louis County Parks, highlighting the passion and hard work that goes into the care and maintenance of the 105-acre landscape.
The journey subsequently stopped at the Moss Shelter and Leaf Pavilion, converted into a cigar lounge and whiskey tasting venue with Hooch House Favorite snacks. The Cree Rider Family Band entertained the guests before concluding with Moonshine Madness Desserts.
Laumeier Sculpture Park manifests a living laboratory where artists and audiences explore the relationship between contemporary art and the natural environment. Founded in 1976, Laumeier comprises one of the first and largest dedicated sculpture parks in the country, making it an institution of international significance as well as a unique compliment to the cultural landscape of the St. Louis region.
Laumeier, a nonprofit, accredited art museum, operates in partnership with St. Louis County Parks. Programs are supported by the Regional Arts Commission, Missouri Arts Council, the Arts and Education Council of St. Louis, and the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Laumeier encompasses 60 works of large-scale outdoor sculpture in a 105-acre park available free to the public year-round. It serves 300,000 patrons annually through temporary exhibitions, education programs, public events, and conservation of the Permanent Collection.
Event Chairs:
Adrian Harrington and Jamey Edgerton, Kate and Dan Pollman

Executive Director:
Marilu Knode, Aronson Professor of Modern & Contemporary Art, University of Missouri-St. Louis

President/CEO:
David Schlafly, Board Chair

Staff:
Lauren Kistner, Marketing Communications Manager; Sara Matthew, Special Events Manager; Rick Fouts, Accountant; Clara Collins-Coleman. Docent Coordinator; Don Gerling Operations Supervisor; Nick Lang, Chief Preparator; Karen Mullen, Curator of Education; Elisabeth Murphy, Collections Manager & Registrar; Julia Norton, Administrative & Volunteer Coordinator; Jennie Swanson, Membership & Museum Services Manager; Dana Turkovic, Curator of Exhibitions; Joy Wright, Librarian

Welcome:
Marilu Knode, Jamey Edgerton

Libations:
Assorted Schlafly Beers, Wines, other libations; Whiskey Tasting-Collingwood 21-Year Canadian Whisky, Colonel E.H. Taylor Single Barrel Whiskey, Jack Daniels Single Barrel Tennessee Whiskey, Glenmorangie 10-Year Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Powers Signature Release Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey

Entertainment:
South Woods-Boney Goat Band; The Way Field-The Root Diggers; Moss Shelter and Leaf Pavilion-Cree Rider Family Band; Laune: A Dance Performance


Sponsors:
Leading-BSI Constructors; Supporting-Edward Jones; Contributing-Northstar; In-Kind: Arcturis, Clare de Lune, Ironman Sound Industries, Schlafly Beer, Midwest Valet Parking, Sauce Magazine, STL Cigars, Thorn Studios, Traube Tents and Structures, Worn Vintage Rentals; Operating-Saint Louis County Parks, Regional Arts Commission, Missouri Arts Council, Arts and Education Council, University of Missouri St. Louis Fine Arts and Communication

Menu:
Dinner Station 1 Stuck on a Stick - Drunken Pig on s Stick served with Dried Cherry-Chipotle Relsih, Deconstructed Potato Salad Skewers, Watermelon Caprese Skewers; Station 2 Little Bit O'White Lightening- Biscuits with Pumpkin Moonshine Butter, Grilled Chicken with Corn Likker BBQ Dip, Crunchy Apple and Fennel Slaw with White Lightning Vinaigrette; Station 3 Harvest Moon- Moonshine Bloody Mary Soup Shooter with Pickled Shrimp Garnish,, Cornmeal Grits Crostini with Roasted Peppers and Olives; Hooch House Favorites- Union Square Rosemary Spiced Nuts with Espresso Pecans, Chili-Bacon Breadsticks, Sesame-Chile Kettle and Caramel Corn; Moonshine Madness Desserts-Mini Red Velvet Moon Pies, Crushed Peanut-and Pretzel-Topped Caramel Bars, Granny's Fudge Brownies, Coffee Service

Attendance:
200+ Guests

Attire:
Business Casual

Special Thanks:
to Marie Oberkirsch for her years of dedicated service. Best of luck in your new adventure-you will be missed. Additional thanks to Cheri Hutchings, Claire de Lune Productions LLC and Sherry Muehlfarth, The Party Broker, for their assistance with this year's event.

Information:
Lauren Kistner, 314-615-5277

Ticket Prices:
$175 Non-Member Ticket | $125 Member Ticket, Patron Ticket $250

Event Committee:
Laura and Brent Davidson, Suzanne Miller Farrell and Paraig Farrell, Sam Foxman, Meredith Frey, Judy Glik and Harvard Muhm, Rachelle L'Ecuyer and Kent Evans, Margaret McDonald, Meredith McKinley and Jeff Winzerling, Kim and Colin Millstone, Cheresse Pentella, Nancy Reynolds and Dwyer Brown, Lori Lea Shelley, Josephine and Richard Weil, Susan and Rob Werremeyer, Gene Woodward; Patron Parties-Alison and John Ferring, Barb Gervais, Adrian Harrington and Jamey Edgerton, Nancy and Ken Kranzberg, Kiku Obata, Dorte and Jim Probstein, Patricia and David Schlafly, Mary Ann and Andy Srenco, Josephine and Richard Weil, Susan and Rob Werremeyer; Patrons- Judy Child, Adrienne Davis, Clare Davis and David Obedin, Barbara Eagleton, Suzanne Miller Farrell and Paraig Farrell, Marilu Knode and Kevin Miyazaki, James Kolker, Keri Lappas, Jamey and Ramsey Maune, Larry Mooney and Jim Reid, Mary and William Nolan, Nancy Reynolds and Dwyer Brown, Claudia and Jim Riley, Marilyn Schnuck, Marilyn and Ken Steinback, Sissy and Ted Thomas, Trivers Associates
Steering Committee:

ST. LOUIS COUNTY COUNCIL- Charlie A. Dooley, St. Louis County Executive, Hazel Erby, District 1 Representative, District 2 Representative, Colleen Wasinger, District 3 Representative, Michael O'Mara, District 4 Representative, Pat Dolan, District 5 Representative, Steven V. Stenger, District 6 Representative, Gregory F. Quinn, District 7 Representative; LAUMEIER

INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL-Joe Baker, Director and Chief Curator, Longue Vue House and Gardens, New Orleans Expertise in contemporary art, contemporary Native American artistic practice, community collaboration; Susan Cahan, Ph.D, Associate Dean for the Arts, Yale College, New Haven, Expertise in diversity in contemporary artistic practice; Mark Coetzee, Executive Director and Chief Curator, Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art, Cape Town, South Africa; Silvia Karman CubiƱa Director, Bass Museum of Art, Miami, Expertise in contemporary art, Latin American art; Laurie Ann Farrell, Director of Exhibitions, Savannah College of Art and Design, Expertise in contemporary African art; Kees Lokman, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture in the Master of Landscape Architecture Program, Sam Fox School of Art and Architecture, Washington University in St. Louis; T. Kelly Mason, Artist, Los Angeles Artistic practice, explores the language of painting through sculpture and light; Mats Stjernstedt, Director, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo Expertise in contemporary global art; Elizabeth Smith, Executive Director, Curatorial Affairs, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Expertise in contemporary art and architecture; Kim Yasuda, Co-Director, University of California Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA), Professor, University of California – Santa Barbara, Research areas include temporary architecture, definitions of landscape

Board of Directors:

David Schlafly, Chair, Joan Abrahamson, Jonathan Aronson, Susan Barrett, William Bolster, Matt Coble, Carmon Colangelo, Adrienne Davis, John De Gregorio, Jamey Edgerton, Alison Ferring, Sam Foxman, Gary Hoemann, Sanjay Jain, James Kolker, Kenneth Kranzberg, Nancy Kranzberg, Ramsey Maune, Margaret McDonald, Dorte Probstein, Mary Ann Srenco, Kenneth Steinback, Mike Walsh, Susan Werremeyer, Gary Wolff, Patricia Wycoff; Ex-Officio: Marilu Knode, Executive Director, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Aronson Professor of Modern & Contemporary Art, University of Missouri-St. Louis, Tom Ott, Acting Director, St. Louis County Parks, Maureen Jennings, Laumeier Docent Co-Chair, Wes Morgan, Laumeier Docent Co-Chair, Patricia Zahn, Des Lee Collaborative Vision, University of Missouri-St. Louis; Barbara Eagleton, Emerita, Barbara Gervais, Emerita, Lawrence Mooney, Emeritus, Sissy Thomas, Emerita, John Wuest, Emeritus Chair 


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Happy Birthday Ben 10-12-86


A Silent Leader

A Silent Leader, the camp counselor suggests
“I think I got ‘em all right” after a placement test.
Allison says Amazing -- I know.
Nelly, Ludacris, The Eminem Show
You will be tested but you will prevail -- you always do.
It goes without saying, we could not be prouder of you. 

In Six short years -- facing a new Millennium (You were 8).
If -- Then you’ll be a man my son. You will be great.
Now you are among the Manhattan Upper West Side DINCs
Never lost but always searching for links
You know the answers are not on any spreadsheet
Maybe there are clues in public places – as you look and seek               

Extraordinary as time goes by
The numbers will guide you but they sometimes lie.
Rockin’ like a Hurricane, Led Zeppelin, Sinatra and Mozart,
Whitney, MoMA, The Met, digital trending visual arts.
Graffiti, plants, bricks and Mortar – all those places.
Can you see the expressions -- on the faces?

In this world, there are people you want around;
You make others feel calm, safe and sound.
Happy Birthday – Enforcer, Goaltender, Scholar, Friend.
Wonder. Ponder. Do the means justify the end?
In shorts and tee shirt. Super fly in suit and tie. Comfortable in your own skin.
So much joy in your life – the movie you are in.
You have learned to appreciate the journey from the start
There is no place like home. That is where you find your heart.

Live well. Smile. Smell the flowers. 

Love Dad 10-12-2014.  


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Thanks Mom Revisited

Race to the moon, civil rights, protests in the news. Banging on copper-bottom pots and pans on New Years Eve. Sloppy Joes served as chairs rattle loose screws. The times they are a changing. We're making plans. Black & White programming of political views. Swimming lessons, coloring books and Kool Aid stands.


Church keys opening Shasta flavored pops. Little theaters, museums and fine arts. Stainless steel counters with built-in stove tops. School clothes filling up shopping carts. Historic sites, parades, and homecoming teams. After school -- the Stooges, cartoons on television starts. Barnaby, Captain Penny, Jingle-ling, Holiday themes.


A Baby Grand piano, trumpet, banjo, drums, and guitar. Sterling silver, Bunnykins, Royal Daulton figurines. Screwdrivers. Cigarettes. Makeup. Jelly Jars. Time, Life, and Look Magazines. Board games. Sparkling wine. Martinis. Chanel Number 5. Steak and SauSea cocktail shrimp at dinner in the pantry nook. The remarkable and mystical Edgewater Drive. Do your homework. Kitchen is closed. You know I hate to cook.


Backyard sunning for a Coppertone tan. Extensions a plenty -- never far from a phone. Reading a book and drinking a Coke from a can. In the Wonderful World of Ohio you're never alone. Cedar Point, Sandusky, a Summer cottage rental. The Football Hall of Fame, Mystery Hill and Firestone; Buckle up and away we go in the Lincoln Continental. But first, "No ice cream in the car. Finish your cone." Ordinary things, of which we become sentimental.


"I'll do anything for you kids -- as long as you remember." Silver goblets, meat loaf, tuna casserole, chicken soup, Hough Bakery cakes from Spring until September. On a continuous loop. The birthdays, they come and they go. We remember the routine and the ordinary. How did she know? A life lived and a life extraordinary.


Read, enunciate, project, pronounce. Improvise the method. The talent is a fact. Study, debate, articulate, and announce. You must believe, if you think you can act. There are no small roles. You'll stand out among the rest. Listen to the words and listen well, "Oh honey, you always know what's best." When to pause, when to gesture, you cal always tell. To dream the impossible dream.

Everything is rehearsed -- scene by scene. Coffee cup and saucer -- Black. No sugar. No Cream. The play is a hit, but what does it mean? Acting, directing, and winning your heart. The final curtain. Bravo! The audience approves without pause. Good to know but not a surprise. Prepare and be ready for your cue. Face each day. The show must go on. You know exactly what to do. House lights go up and suddenly you are gone.


We are an ensemble cast. We knew that one day, the performance would be your last. You were great mom, it was your way. On to the future, with regard for the past. The show will go on. Thanks mom.

We will go on.

Mary Frances Lawton Morgan passed away on May 31, 2011. She was 89 years of age.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Toasting Lindsey & Chris



To An Angel on her day

Henri Matisse dancers Ring Around the Rosie.
A lemon garnish makes a special tea.
At camp, a General on land is as capable at sea.
The world revolves around that little girl.
She means the world to me.

The world is a better place with her in it.                              
Her sweet, caring, creative spirit;
Among the first in a generation;
A rock, a role model, and an inspiration.

Once upon a time, a Hoboken swing made her smile;
“Push me more!” she says in a while.
Even then, she is committed, driven and oh so serious. 
And yet, like George, always very curious.

She is a big girl now and making her way.
Life is a journey. As we come to this day;
She wants to go higher. She wants to fly.
She finds joy in reaching for the sky.

She will try. She will win.
Along the way she will stop and begin again.
The ups and downs are so much fun;
Nevertheless, a marathon from the starting gun.   

Youth group advisor, conclave motivator;
Larger than life, adapter, innovator;
Wherever she is: pottery wheel, strawberry field, pumpkin patch
You will fine chutzpah and determination unmatched.

Maple Leaf Diner, Raleigh Racquet Club, Montclair Swim;
It comes to this in the Orange Theory Fitness Gym.
The first clarinet carries the day, the band and the show.
Lindsey Morgan Dewey is someone to know.

In the best of all possible worlds
That is my angel. My little girl.
Here is to another Technique of the week;
And Miles to go before I sleep.

Here’s to you. To Life. With Love. Mazel Tov.

A toast to my daughter on her wedding day, September 13, 2014

Pep Talk for Chris
One Summer night the phone rings
“I want to marry your daughter,” is the news it brings.  
I pause, and I answer, “Who is this?”
I’m kidding, of course, I knew it was Chris.

Hey Son-in-Law,
Guess what I saw?    
Someone’s Dad. Sharing hopelessly;
There in front of all, so helplessly. 

Compelled to offer an Irish Blessing. Oy, the sighs
You can almost hear the rolling eyes.
I married her mom years ago. “The longest years of my life” She’ll say.
But for me, I would not trade away a single day. 

Always remember, the world revolves around your wife.
Do that, and you will live a wonderful life.
She is part of a Matriarchy. Women rule.
This is the stuff you never learn in school. 

This girl is on fire. Don’t make her mad.
She will be the best wife you ever had.
She lost a lot of weight to get into that dress.
You know, when I first met her when she weighed considerably less.

This baby girl was 7 pounds 7 ounces. Now we are wishing you all the best
Yes of course, Marry her! She’d expect nothing less.
Like a Hurricane, do it with swagger.
Be fearless. Be ambitious. You have our blessing. Does it matter?

It isn’t dollars and cents that will determine your worth.
Now is your chance to be among the richest on the face of the earth.
Live. Laugh. Love. Seek out culture and art.       
Let the fun begin. This is your start.

God Bless and be well.


Thank you for asking. Now give ‘em hell.

A toast to my future son-in-law on her my daughter's wedding day, September 13, 2014