Posts Tagged ‘oklahoma’

Photo: Oklahoma City Public Schools
Drawings and script on 1917 school chalkboards were recently uncovered in Oklahoma.

In June 2015, student drawings and script from 1917 were uncovered on Oklahoma blackboards.

Elahe Izadi wrote at the Washington Post, “Teachers and students scribbled the lessons — multiplication tables, pilgrim history, how to be clean —  nearly 100 years ago. And they haven’t been touched since. …

“Contractors removing old chalkboards at Emerson High School in Oklahoma City made a startling discovery: Underneath them rested another set of chalkboards, untouched since 1917.

“ ‘The penmanship blows me away, because you don’t see a lot of that anymore,’ Emerson High School Principal Sherry Kishore told the Oklahoman. ‘Some of the handwriting in some of these rooms is beautiful.’ …

“A spokeswoman said the district is working with the city to ‘preserve the “chalk” work of the teachers that has been captured in time.’

“A wheel that apparently was used to teach multiplication tables appears on one board. ‘I have never seen that technique in my life,’ Kishore told the Oklahoman.

“The boards carry not just teachers’ work, but also that of students, and every room has a lesson on pilgrims, according to the district.” More here.

The principal’s comment on the penmanship was interesting to me because just a few weeks ago, my husband unearthed his mother’s student chapbooks from around the same period. All she did was copy Chaucer. Not only was there no analysis, there was nothing about whether she even liked what she read. Not required.

I’d like to think that today’s loss of elegant penmanship signifies that teachers are spending time on more important learning.

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Here is my latest photo roundup, but the picture I’d hope to start with will not appear.

I thought I was in the 1960s film Blowup. I spent ages (well, at least 30 minutes) zooming in on a photo I took of what I’m pretty sure was a bluebird. When I finally found the bird in the background of woodland twigs and leaves, he was so blurry I couldn’t use the picture to confirm the identification. So no photo of a bluebird for this post.

I have two other photos from walking in the town forest, one of Fairyland Pond and one of trail markers, including the Emerson-Thoreau Amble.

Next is my youngest granddaughter chasing a squirrel up a tree on Easter (love the shot my husband got). My oldest granddaughter is captured mid-Easter-egg hunt. The robin stayed stock-still for his portrait that afternoon.

The window fish was painted by my younger grandson at his Montessori nursery school. As usual, I couldn’t resist shooting shadows.

Now, about the shadows on brick. For nearly three months, until the moment when the sun shone through the alley (like the sun that shone on the keyhole to Smaug’s back door in The Hobbit), I thought the window in the renovated building was smack up against a wall and there was nothing to see there. What a lovely surprise!

I’m wrapping up today’s collection with a license plate from the Pawnee Nation. Since the Pawnee Nation is in Oklahoma and the car was in Providence, I’m intrigued and hope to learn more. Here’s the tribe’s website.




















































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My parents sometimes took me to the New York City ballet when I was little, and once or twice we went backstage. I think I got the autograph of Maria Tallchief, but I was too young to be careful with it for a lifetime.

Recently, I was interested to see an article by Allison Meier on Tallchief and four other American Indian ballet dancers. I had not known there were five. The article is at the website Hypoallergic, and the lead came from ArtsJournal.com.

Meier writes, “Five dancers who started their careers in the 1940s redefined dance in the United States, becoming some of the first American prima ballerinas in the world’s top companies, from the Ballets Russes to the Paris Opera Ballet. And they were all American Indians from Oklahoma.

“Yvonne Chouteau, one of the ‘Five Moons,’ as they were anointed, died [January 24] at the age of 86. Along with Moscelyne Larkin (Shawnee, 1925–2012), Rosella Hightower (Choctaw, 1920–2008), Marjorie Tallchief (Osage, b. 1926), and, most famously, Maria Tallchief (Osage, 1925–2013), she rose in the ranks of dance when ballet was still not widely appreciated in this country. The women had distinct careers, but they all danced when they were young at powows and caught performances by the traveling Ballets Russes and other companies, propelling them to study professionally. …

“Nora Boustany wrote in Hightower’s Los Angeles Times obituary that the women’s ‘remarkable accomplishments showcased American dance and talent to the world when Russian stars still dominated that scene.’

“And as Larkin said in a short documentary produced by NewsOK: ‘It’s not just a fluke that we are all Native Americans and that we all became dancers.’

“In the Oklahoma State Capitol, a mural of the five dancers adorns the rotunda. Painted by Mike Larsen, it shows them posed in white tutus, the shadows of the Trail of Tears behind them. Each had a unique style and left her own legacy, but together they promoted their indigenous heritage through the art of dance.”

More here.

Photo: Roger Wood
Maria Tallchief in ‘Swan Lake’ in 1952. (The photo is housed at the New York Public Library, Jerome Robbins Dance Division.

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This is about a Unitarian Universalist minister who decided that community work was more important than having a church building.

As Donald E. Skinner writes of Ron Robinson in UU World, “The particular mission field that the Rev. Ron Robinson has claimed is one of America’s abandoned places.

“Turley, Oklahoma, a suburb of Tulsa, was a thriving place until the 1960s when white flight and the movement of oil industry jobs out of Tulsa began Turley’s long slide into economic and social decline.

“Today many houses in Turley are vacant and abandoned, some boarded up, others open to the elements and slowly falling down. Burned-out structures are nearly hidden by tall weeds and brush. The once robust main street is now down to a gas station, grocery, a pizza place that won’t deliver, self-service laundry, carwash, and a collection of auto repair and salvage businesses.

“Most younger residents have no health insurance and little health care. Most children qualify for free school lunches. Residents live, on average, fourteen fewer years than people five miles south, in midtown Tulsa. Unemployment is twice the national average.

“In the middle of this, Robinson, a Unitarian Universalist minister, has established A Third Place, a community center that includes Turley’s only library, several computers for public use, a free health clinic, food pantry, drop-in living room, and a place to get used clothing and household items.”

Read more here.

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