Sunday, February 27, 2011

An Open Letter to Our President

Dear Former United States President George Washington,

            This week we, the first graders of Grand Forks, North Dakota, studied the contributions you made to our illustrious country.  We celebrated your life and career through song (“Young George and the Cherry Tree” to the tune of “Yankee Doodle Dandy”), the study of the dollar bill, and myriad read-alouds.  Despite our in-depth research into your life, we are still left with a few questions and comments that we feel only you, Our Founding Father, can address.
            First, we are curious about why you and your associates wore wigs.  Why did you consider this fashionable and not silly?  Did it itch, hurt, or feel tight on your head?  Did you wear it all the time or just for special occasions?
            In a similar vein, we remain unconvinced that you are not in fact the man on the oatmeal box we have sitting in our cupboard at home.  Are you at least brothers?  Despite what our teacher told us, we do not fully believe that two white-haired rosy-cheeked men could not possibly be related. 

As a matter of fact, now we are curious as to whether you are not also Santa Claus.  If so, we would like new hockey sticks for Christmas.
            Lastly, we now know that George Washington refers to you, a person, and Washington, D.C. is a city.  What, then, is George Washington, D.C., and why does our teacher keep telling us to stop saying those three words in succession?

            Thanks for your time,
            The First Graders of Grand Forks, North Dakota

P.S. The boys would like you to know that they think it is AWESOME that you chopped down a cherry tree using a hatchet!  If you are in fact Santa, could you include one of those with the hockey sticks, along with a note to our parents explaining that every little American boy should have the opportunity to carry a hatchet around in his pocket.

P.P.S. Yes, we do have an amazing vocabulary for seven-year-olds.  Thanks for noticing!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Miss Robertson with a Tan and a Bow in Her Hair, and Other Tales from the North

We had a brief heatwave, but it is now back to being fabulously, unbelievably cold.  I've put my stylish, decidedly not-warm Jackie O jacket back in its rightful place in my closet's "autumn collection" and have rediscovered the wonder that is long underwear.  After a disastrous evening walk from my garage to my front door in which I thought my fingers might actually break off at the joints, scattering on the frozen ground below me, I have also retrieved my gloves from the bottom of my purse.

Meanwhile, I'm learning more and more about the North Dakota Child's interests--namely that all boys obsess over hockey (PeeWee, UND Sioux, and NHL, in that order), all girls favor heavily sequined shirts and pompom-ed or animal ear-ed hats, and that both genders enjoy a good laugh at Miss Robertson's accent.  People here have that tendency toward the vowel sounds unique to Wisconsin and Minnesota.  As a result, the local specialty, Taco in a Bag (alias The Walking Taco, or taco meat and toppings served over a bed of crushed Doritos) is pronounced Taco in a Bayg.  Additionally, my pronunciation of the e in Caleb and the a in Maggie is apparently so egregious that students with those names don't even respond when I call on them in class.

The website I took this tasty-looking picture from posed the question,
Where else besides Ohio can you get taco in a bag?  The answer:
Anywhere in Grand Forks, including--but not limited to--
the mall, school cafeterias, and at informal dinner parties.

Despite my faulty pronunciation, students still mostly seem to like me, as evidenced by the fact that my hug-to-handshake ratio as students leave at the of the day is approximately 3:1 (I require one or the other).  As further evidence of these students' esteem, I present Exhibit B: a caricature that some third-graders and I made in class one afternoon.  I've entitled it "Miss Robertson with a Tan and a Bow in Her Hair."  If you look closely, you can see that it is signed by the artists.  Enjoy: