August Lovelies Part 7

a man is shown from the neck to the knees playing a guitar

“Well the good news is it’s just a minor sprain, nothing’s broken- should be all dandy with some time and ice, as for your eye bruise I’ve got some oint-“ Winnie searches the drawers in the room, “ment, ah! Here it is- that’ll help you out. Also I’m gonna wrap that ankle for you just in case.”

“See! I knew it wasn’t anything serious Spacer, and you kept yabberin’ on about the pain, you’re just one big scaredy cat!” Dawn said with a laugh.

“Shut your can Dawn” Spacer blushed yet again. He didn’t seem like the type of guy who got embarrassed a lot.

“Here let me help you out,” Winnie said, finishing the wrap.

Together he and Dawn walked Spacer out to the car.

“You said you were in a band?” Winnie inquired.

“Yes, the August Lovelies,” Dawn’s eyes lit up. “You ought to come see us some time- we’re not big yet but I have a feelin’, you know?”

“I’d love too” Winnie said, and it was the truth, the Be-In was his first glimpse at this counter culture and he had been fascinated ever since.

“It’s a date then,” she said, handing off Spacer to the other girls.

August Lovelies Part 6

A red and white vintage Volkswagen bus with various decals such as sunglasses and flip flops

The next day the office was just as busy. They ended up treating everything- not just bad trips but malnourishment, dehydration, STDs- you name it. All for free.

After about a week of being open and serving people Winnie met Dawn.

“Hi, can I make an appointment thing?” A woman who bore a striking resemblance to Michelle Phillips asked Dolly. She had stumbled in with three others- two girls supporting a boy who appeared unable to walk.

“Of course doll,” Dolly said, handing her a sign in. “You got this one Winnie?”

“If you could kindly bring him back-follow me” Winnie said gesturing toward the injured hippie man.

Winnie took the crew to one of the more tripped out rooms.

“Wow, groovy set up man” the Phillips look alike said.

“We’re gonna go wait outside” said one of the two other girls, she had a bob with bangs and was wearing one-too many tassels.

“Okey Dokey” Phillips said.

“Alright” Winnie said, “the dreaded forms”

“This place is free- right?” Asked the injured hippie, at this point Winnie could also see a bruise beneath his blond bowl cut.

“Of course, it’s a new time, ya know.? But let’s see here, lemme guess- a fight?” he said eying the injuries.

Phillips giggled and Bowl Cut blushed. “Not exactly,” he said.

“I’m Dawn- Dawn Elliot and this is my brother Spacer” she said gesturing to him with her thumb.

“We just recently got down here, we came all the way from Boston”

“Really? Massachutes” Winnie asked.” That’s the third different state I’ve heard today”

“Yeah we just took my van and our band mates and just drove here” Spacer said.

“To celebrate we may have gotten a bit out of hand with our dear friend mary jane” said Dawn, “and then this egg-head thought it would be a good idea to jump off the top of the van barefoot and everything”

Spacer blushed again, “and now it hurts to walk” he said…

Virtual Learning: The Pros and Cons

A teacher is shown from the back, sitting in front of a laptop screen.  The screen shows two young students with their school supplies, smiling brightly.

As COVID-19 continues to play a major role in what many Americans choose to do these days, going back to school is a major controversy. Many states with smaller populations have chosen that children can attend school full time this Fall, others have plans for partial reopening. But there are also many states which have chosen to do virtual learning for parts or all of the first semester.

My school district has been doing virtual learning, and there have definitely been pros and cons. One benefit has been the ability to sleep in a little longer, since the walk to school is only from my bed to my desk. This has also helped me to feel more motivated to get up in the morning, since I can stay in the comfort of my own house while learning. Another pro is the ability to get other things done between classes because once I finish work from one class, I have free time until my next live meeting with a teacher. In addition, I have the ability to go to school from anywhere, so if I needed to, I could be some place other than home and not have to be absent from school. All these things have made online school much more convenient than going to the actual school building.

On the other hand, online school also forces many challenges on students and teachers. For one thing, it lacks the social aspect that school offers, which has been very difficult. Seeing your friends at school is such a natural and necessary thing, and without the ability to do so, it can be really depressing. Also, not being able to talk with teachers face to face in a real classroom poses many academic challenges, especially for those whom are mainly kinesthetic learners. Emailing a teacher if you have a question and them answering you through email is not even as close or as efficient as doing so in person, especially if you need to have an explanation within a certain amount of time, such as before a test. Another challenge is technology malfunction, which is a daily occurrence for both students and teachers. A class meeting can be going on with a teacher sharing information when they are randomly kicked out of their own meeting. This happens quite often, and it is very frustrating for both them and the students who need the information. Another challenge for people who have family members working from home at the same time can be the need for sharing devices or straining the Wi-Fi, which impacts productivity and ability to focus. Another struggle that occurs in my school district is our half-hour lunch break. This is acceptable when in the building, since many students and teachers can buy pre-made lunches, but when at home, there should be more time scheduled for a break and a leisurely lunch, which is not feasible in half an hour. I know that many other districts are giving over an hour for lunch, which only makes sense, but that’s not happening here!

All in all, virtual learning has been the safest choice for many places during COVID-19, and it was never expected to be perfect, but it has definitely had its benefits and its challenges that someday will all just be memories for us to share with each other.

Saffy’s Angel

The cover for the book Saffy's Angel by Hilary McKay shows a teenage girl walking through a door into an outdoor area

“You’re not my family,” said Saffon.
“We are!” said Eve, weeping. “Of course we are! We adopted you! We wanted you!”

Ever since Saffon forced her mother, Eve, to tell her the truth on her family, she’s been acting distant. She finally realized why her name was never on the color palette like her other “siblings.”
Cadmium (Caddy), Indigo, and Rose were actually her cousins. Her mother died in a car crash, and her grandfather took her to live with Eve.
Everyone assures her that it makes no difference, they still love her, and she is still a part of the family. However, Saffy just can’t understand how this could have happened.

Years later, a call comes in through the Banana House. Their grandfather had died. In his will, he left each of them his possessions.
“To Cadmium Gold, my eldest grandchild, my property in Wales.”
The property is so dilapidated, and the cliff was crumbling; they had sold it a while ago.
“To Indigo Charles, my car.”
Again, the family had sold that car when their grandfather got ill.
“To any further grandchildren born to Eve and Bill Casson after the date of this will, my remaining capital to be divided evenly between them.”
That was written for Rose, the youngest child. Disgusted at the thought of money, she immediately glued and spray painted the coins on a piece of paper.
“For Saffron. Her angel in the garden.”
Nobody understands what that means and brushes it off. However, Saffy is determined to find her angel, no matter what she has to do.

Along comes in Sarah, the girl in the wheelchair that has passed by her house multiple times. She also goes to the rich kids’ private school, and her mother is the headmistress there. Sarah devises a plan that uses Saffy’s memories, her privilege’s, her parents, and a sneaky idea.

Saffy finds her angel; but it’s not what she expected. To see if Sarah’s plan works (and what it is), you have to read the book.
I recommend this for all ages, it’s a super easy read, but it’s an amazing adventure and coming-of age story. I rate it 8/10 because of some of the time gaps there are, but overall, it’s a very nice book.
Enjoy!

Way Up in the Oak Tree

Looking up into an oak tree, you can see the green leaves, some sunlight, and a blue sky with small wispy clouds

Cathy and Timmy were running around the yard one Summer day, playing frisbee and baseball with a few quick “Tag, You’re It” sessions in between. Just a little while before dinner, Timmy threw the frisbee to Cathy extra hard. The wind carried it past her and it hit the old oak tree on the far side of the backyard. She ran over to retrieve it, and as she turned back around to throw it back to Timmy, she noticed something stuck between a few branches way up in the tree. She called him over to take a look, and they could tell what it was pretty quickly. It was a small, box-shaped chest.

“Whoa,” Timmy whispered.

“I wonder what’s in it,” Cathy said, curious.

They went inside to ask their dad if they could borrow his ladder, and he let them use it with a “Be careful.” Once they got the ladder set up, Timmy stayed at the bottom while Cathy went up to see if she could reach it. She had to stand on her tip toes and reach as high as she could, but she could get her hand on it. She shouted down to Timmy, “I got it,” and started climbing back down the ladder with the chest under her arm.

Once she got down, she and Timmy sat down in the grass to open it. The chest had a lock on it, but it seemed that it had rusted so bad it didn’t work anymore, so they were able to slip it open with nothing more than a shove. What they found were a bunch of old pictures and a small piece of folded-up notebook paper.

“This is amazing,” Cathy said with excitement.

Timmy said, “Yeah, this is pretty cool.”

It wasn’t until Timmy noticed that in one of the pictures, the tree they were sitting under was in the background, when the kids finally realized what all the pictures were of. They were old pictures of their house. One picture was of the front of their house, but it looked really different. Others were of various rooms, most of which had been updated since the photographs were taken.

Timmy exclaimed, “This is so cool! I wonder why all these were way up in that oak tree.”

Maybe this will tell us,” Cathy said, pointing at the note.

“Well, open it up then!” shouted Timmy.

The note read, “To whomever found this, I hope you enjoy these pictures. Most of these were taken in the early 1980s, but some are from as early as when this house was built, in 1975. I bought this house new and lived here for 18 years. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I did. I hid this little chest up in that oak tree because I only wanted somebody that was real observant to find it. I hope this home serves as a refuge for you and all who live here in the future. May you be blessed.

June 1993″

“This is pretty awesome,” said Cathy.

“Agreed,” said Timmy, “we should show Mom and Dad, and then eat! I am starving!”

“Let’s go!” said Cathy.

And that’s just what they did.

Spies in Disguise

The cover of the movie Spies in Disguise shows various animated characters around the title. he bottom characters are pigeons. Blue Sky studios is named as well as leading voice actors Will Smith and Tom Holland.

Spies in Disguise, involves the unlikely pairing of secret agent Lance Sterling and Walter Beckett, a nerdy, socially awkward genius that invents peaceful gadgets for agents to use. Sterling is labeled as a traitor to the agency and enlists Walter’s help to prove his innocence, and he accidentally becomes the test subject of Walter’s latest gadget which turns him into a pigeon. The two travel around the world, eventually start seeing eye-to-eye, and, which the help of many pigeons, defeat the villain using non-lethal weapons and gadgets to save the agency. Will Smith is the voice of Lance Sterling and Tom Holland is the voice of Walter. Surprisingly, the two voices complement each other nicely and fit their characters well. Rashida Jones is the voice of Marcy Kappel, an internal affairs agent that is trying to catch Sterling for being a traitor. She has a very mature voice and it works well for her character. Killian, the villain in this movie and Sterling’s nemesis, who has a bionic arm that can control drones, is voiced by Ben Mendelsohn. Killian’s associate and arms dealer, Katsu Kimura is voiced by Masi Oka. Other minor agents and agency specialists are voiced by Reba McEntire, Rachel Brosnahan, Karen Gillan, DJ Khaled, and Olly Murs. This movie had a good storyline that was simple to follow along for a children’s movie. It also had some pretty cool gadget ideas that I wouldn’t have expected to work in a real fight. The end fight seemed to go by rather quickly compared to other movies with ending fight scenes, but I suppose they didn’t want to show much fighting and violence in a children’s movie. I also loved the squad of pigeons that Lance got while he was a pigeon himself – they were funny!

Rain

raindrops in the foreground, vague green and yellow shapes in the background blurred by the rain

Rain splashes against my window,

The sights of home quickly fly by,

I can hear a single ravens crow,

And see it fly high.

The gentle pitter patter comes from all around,

The rain doesn’t miss a single inch on the car,

And fills it with sound,

That is the most soothing by far.

A sudden howl wakes me from my trance,

The wind is picking up speed,

And it makes the tiny droplets dance,

A beautiful sight indeed.

As the clouds weep,

I’m soothed to sleep.

Review of “A Mango Shaped Space” by Wendy Mass

Cover of the book A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass shows a white cat on an orange background.  The letters of the title are in a rainbow font and there is an award medal for the Schneider Family Book Award on the corner.

A “Mango Shaped Space” is an amazing book that tells the story of 13 year old Mia Winchell. Mia has a condition called synesthesia which causes her to associate letters and sounds with colors. Like for example she describes the letter “q” as being a dark sliver color, and when the telephone rings she sees red spirals shoot out into the air. Mia doesn’t know her condition has a name or that other people are like her, so she doesn’t tell her friends or her family about seeing colors with letters and sounds. Then after meeting a boy in the grocery store that claims to see colors in letter and sounds too, Mia finally tells her parents about what she sees. Her parents don’t take the news well, and they go from doctor to doctor trying to find out what is wrong with her until they find out about synesthesia. After that Mia does everything to try and find out more about synesthesia and connect with people who also have it. The book is written in a way that makes you really feel what Mia is going through. I loved reading it because it gave you a little window of insight into what someone like Mia goes through on a day to day basis.

August Lovelies Part 5

A line of people are shown waiting on the sidewalk

June 7th, 1967

Winnie finished wiping down some medical chairs.

“It’s opening day”

“Yep and the staff and volunteers are all here- I wonder when we’ll get our first patients”

Volunteers would really just try to make the patients feel more comfortable. One volunteer, a woman named Dolly had only one job, which was to hand out flowers to arrivals.

Like clockwork a group of four teens stumbled into the facility looking for assistance with some bad trips. Another friend of David’s who was also a medical student took the four to a quiet room to chill out.

They were equipped with sedatives just in case things got too hairy.

“Welcome to the Haight Ashbury Free Clinic, I can help you right this way,” he said calmly. 

The entire team, which was not that large mind you, just Winnie, his uncle, and a few other doctors (and the volunteers) had been expecting a slow first day- but boy they were wrong. You see on June 7th 1967, the opening day of Haight Ashbury Free Clinic, the staff saw a total of 250 people!

“Can you believe that this many people showed up?” Winnie exclaimed before slipping on the freshly mopped floor.

David chuckled, “Careful, everything was just sterilized”

“I just went over the sign in-” Dolly said, “a whoppin’ total of 250!”

“You’re doing something good here doc- I’ll be off, have a good one,” with that Dolly leaves the building, smiling.

“Up for drinks?” David asks Winnie…

August Lovelies Part 4

a green lava lamp

David was gonna be ready, he and Winnie were gonna help the kids that needed them.

May 23rd, 1967

“Uncle Dave?- I’m here.”

Winnie had brought his summer bags to the entrance of the new clinic. He would be staying upstairs.

“It still smells like paint,” he said to himself. Winnie began taking in the psychedelic colorful painting patterns on the walls of the waiting room.

“Winnie!” David said with a bright excited smile and arms open, “how did grades look this year”

“All A’s of course uncle”

“Marvelous! Let’s scoot on over to your room to drop your bags and then I’ll give you a tour.”

The doctor showed Winnie around the clinic. There were quiet calm-looking rooms for people to come down, and then there were rooms with tie-died walls for more basic check-ups and operations. The place was very cool- with lava lamps and black light posters.

“I dig the set-up man, I can’t believe this was a dentist’s office” Winnie said.

“Right?- this is a moment of change Winfred! Health care is not just for the rich and we’re gonna show that here! We’re gonna spark a debate and hopefully change for the better, you know?”

“And together we’ll make people feel comfortable, not scared. My clinic won’t judge or report anyone- just give them assistance. The people won’t be afraid to come to us for our help! It’s not just research anymore it’s our job as humans and doctors to provide our services for free!”

Winnie was in awe of his uncle, and he too felt excited for this summer, the Summer of Love…