A letter to Grandpa

Dear Grandpa,

Everyone thinks their grandpa is the best, and that’s really nice and everything, but the truth is, mine actually was the best.

You were the actual best grandpa, great grandfather, dad, neighbor, worker, and friend. You’re the man everyone aspires to be, the one great character every reader is completely enamored with and that every author hopes to write about – but quite honestly, it may be impossible for even the best writer to capture your wit, smarts, quirks, and charm.

Last night, you died, and when I held your hand, it was still so big and warm, just like always. You looked like you; you still looked so handsome; you looked finally at rest. I can still feel you holding my hands, cupping them around mine since I was a kid to keep me warm, and until the very end, you were still my warm protector.

4 common grammar mistakes (and how to fix them).

Even before I became a high school English teacher, I felt passionately about correct grammar. Strangely enough, I never received strong formal grammar instruction in school because when you were in the advanced English classes, the emphasis was on reading, critical thinking, and writing.

As any avid readers can relate, grammar and vocabulary comes more naturally the more you read because you internalize the rules and words in practical action. I think grammar and vocabulary are actually more effective this way. Although, admittedly, I do not know all the grammar rules and crazy nuances that come with our wonderful English language, I actually do not think they are all that important.

Woah.

Did the English teacher really just say that? Yes, I sure did. Let me explain though. I value being able to write and speak compelling arguments. How compelling will your argument be if you have incorrect spelling, poor grammar, and limited vocabulary? Not very, you guessed it.

Why are white people whispering the word ‘black’?

Here’s my disclaimer as I open up a racial conversation: I’m a white woman living in the Chicago suburbs where I also grew up. My husband, family, and neighbors are white. In grammar school, I can remember two girls who were black, and in a high school of about 2600 people, everyone around me was pretty much white. I honestly can only recall one black student, without thinking too deeply or consulting my yearbook, because he dated a girl in my social circle. The most colorful part of my day was in my locker hallway: I was sandwiched between the fun-loving, kind group of Albanians and a group of harmless, white boy potheads, and, only to be discovered years later, across the hall from two lesbians. Oh, and I had a friend who was Jewish, how very exotic.

Some people may criticize and say I’m not the right kind of person to write about race because I’m white; I don’t even really know many black or brown people. But I think I’m exactly the type of person who should be talking about this, and hopefully other people who look like me will listen, and people who don’t look like me will weigh in.

I love my town and had a great education there, but it wouldn’t be until I went to college that I realized the white extent of the sheltered bubble I lived in.

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