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Family and Friends is my everyday journal. Captain's Log is where I pontificate on religion and politics.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

WC: My Favorite Subject in School


Today's challenge is: What was my favorite subject in school?

It was and is no surprise to anyone who has read my books: history.

I ate history like candy, I got into a discussion with my 8th grade U.S. History teacher, when she said that upon the U.S. entering WWI, we won the war for the Allies.

I found out correcting your teacher is a no no. I told her the Allies fended off the German Michael offensive and Mars offensive, that we only quickened the end of the war.

She huffed and puffed about how she was the teacher yada yada yada. I doubt if she even knew what I was talking about. Then again, my U. S. history professor said the same thing and I knew not to correct her. 

Miss Self always told us to keep our Confederate money, because the South shall rise again. Kind of prophetic today.

I majored in history, and taught New Mexico history, U.S. history, world history, economics, government, street law and psychology for 27 years. I taught history in summer school for the years I taught middle school English.

My first novel Optimus: Praetorian Guard, is set in first century Rome. I have other historical novels and short stories. 

History is about research. History majors can get employment in a wide range of professions because so many require research, especially law. 

When I started writing full time after retirement, I've written short stories set in medieval England, and three books forming the Fan Plan which required extensive research on vulcanism and survivalism. It took years of theological research for Human Sacrifices

History is not about watching it repeat itself. You don't watch, you predict and then plan for what will happen. Banks take a credit history and use that to predict your credit future and they accept or reject on that basis.

Example: Will Russia conquer Ukraine? 

Based on history it's like WWI in one respect. A. It could bog down into trench warfare, not too likely with missiles and drones. 

B. Russia takes over the country, but like the French in Spain under Napoleon and France in WWII guerilla warfare will prevail in the long run. C. Stalemate like North and South Korea. 

D. Putin is such an egomaniac and won't accept defeat and resort to nuclear war. 

E. Putin is assassinated before he tries to blow up the whole world, or 

F. Sayanora.

These are the choices faced by the U. S. and the rest of the world. Let's hope they choose wisely the options for these predictions to guide their decisions. 

I'm going to add a second favorite subject. History was and is my first love, but literature was and is my second love. I didn't know it was a subject I loved until 7th grade. That was my first literature class. Up till then it was only grammar. You know, spelling, write each word in a sentence, i before e except after c, their, there and they're, underline the subject once and verb twice, ad nauseum.

In Mrs. Ewing's literature class we did nothing but read and then discuss the story. I was in heaven.

I was an English minor in college. I taught 7th through 10th grade English for nine years. Seven years in mid school and three years in high school, then went straight social studies. 

I lacked one class for a major in English, but that was taught by Mrs. Jamar. I had her for American History, got a B after working my butt off. I'm a lousy typist, especially on a portable manual typewriter, and you had to use a little strip of white out for corrections. Term paper sunk me. That class was out of my control. She's the only one who taught it.

Stupidity came in when I signed up for the mini course between first semester and second semester in January. Three weeks three hours a day, but no term paper. 

Mrs. Jamar had it down to a science. Every class hour equals three hours of study. That was nine hours a day and that's exactly how long it took! 

It was the only class, but my life for those three weeks was wake up, go to class, eat lunch, read, go to practice, (on track scholarship), eat supper, read until one in the morning, then answer the two-page compound questions over the assignment. 

Guess what, she did not require a term paper, it was a ten-page paper without a bibliography or foot notes. 

A good friend, who later changed her name to Anne Littlewolf, who is the artist that I desktop publish her children's book and recently passed away, graciously typed my paper for me. I did have to fuss at her for rewriting my sentences.

I was acing all my tests until we were assigned to read Don Quixote. I translated parts of the story in Spanish class the fall semester. I answered the study questions and thought I could take a break, so I went to the local disco instead of reading to midnight. Got a D on the pop quiz. B+, curses foiled again.

When I found the only class offered last semester senior year was taught by her, I felt taking that class would be masochism. 

It sounds like I'm being harsh on Mrs. Jamar, and I thought and called her names unprintable even in pornography. To give her, her due, when I went to seminary, she was the only professor that prepared me for what was required in amount of reading. Believe me theology is ten times harder than trying to understand the Gothicism of Edgar Allan Poe's writing. 

She was the hardest professor in college and at seminary would have been my easiest.

I did shock her once, when we were discussing the Love Song of J. Alfed Prufrock, I gave the opinion that he was a pervert.

To this day when I'm writing the ghost of Mrs. Jamar hovers over me.


Lydia said...

We picked the same answers!

George L Thomas said...

Haha history and English for the win!

Marianne said...

I love history so much! I wish they taught it better in schools...

Stephen said...

I don't think it's an accident that history and literature are often listed together. They're both stories, essentially, and they both can connect us to those who have gone on before.

I think I'd debate the WW1 question, though. In 1917 Britain and France were exhausted, and Germany was shifting its troops from the east to the west. The papers at the time thought the spring offensive of 1918 was going to decide the war in Germany's favor. Personally, I don't think DC should have gotten involved. An even armistice would have been superior to vindictive 'victory' that created the conditions for WW2 twenty years later.

P M Prescott said...

Lydia, we sure did.

P M Prescott said...

George, game set and match.

P M Prescott said...

Marianne, depends on who's teaching it. Too many coaches and not enough historians.

P M Prescott said...

Stephan, it was nip and tuck even with us in it, but you're right on a joint armistice instead of what happened at Versailles.

Michael Mock said...

I'm surprised that history is such a popular topic, though for reasons I've mentioned elsewhere I probably shouldn't be. And the ability to do research is a special skill all its own.

P M Prescott said...

I was too, Michael.

Priscilla King said...

History is interesting, and I think T.S. Eliot might have agreed that Prufrock is sort of perverted--attracted to adult women but in a perverted way.

P M Prescott said...

Priscilla, glad you agree.

Tanith Davenport said...

I love history now, but hated it in school. A bad teacher can really ruin the experience of studying.

P M Prescott said...

Yes, but like in The Half Blood Prince, if you are determined to learn, that only makes you learn on your own, and that is a good thing.