Parenthood may be among our higher aspirations. Not being one—a parent, that is, though my humanity also comes into question—I have to content myself being a pseudo-surrogate parent: i.e., a teacher.
“Mom” and “Dad” aren’t words that trip lightly from my tongue or my keyboard, but has anyone noticed that they’re both palindromes and that “mom” is also “wow” upside down? I’m just asking.
Howard hasn’t written much lately. Perhaps Mother’s Day will bring him out of semi-retirement.
A few figs from thistles…
by Howard A. Tabor
“Mothers and Others”
Our calendar is rife with Days, Weeks, and Months devoted to some topic, status, cause, or condition, long-term or du jour. We’ve just enjoyed National Teacher Day and Star Wars Day (“May the Fourth be with you.”). Some are blatantly commercial or have become so; promoted by florists and greeting card companies. A few mature into national holidays (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day). But just a handful are fundamental to being civilized, Mother’s Day among them.
On this day of reflection on motherhood, I’m drawn to the broader topic of women in Agincourt’s history; our mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts and cousins; even the unrelated women who’ve taught and healed and clerked and served us throughout our lives. For the moment, let my recollection stimulate your own.
A few women of Agincourt
Women who came to maturity before the 19th Amendment—before their ability to vote or even own property in their own name—women from the first years of our community’s history, often found other avenues to power.
<still working on this entry. please be patient.>
I’m old. Some days I’m especially tired. And on some of those days I’m ready to pack it in. Happily, they pass and life goes on—at least mine does for at least a little longer. Today was an especially good one and I need to set it down here as a reminder when things turn south.
Matthew Kirkwood asked if the faculty would speak to the ENVD 101 class, our introduction to environment design taken by prospective students in architecture and landscape architecture, as well as university-wide seekers of an off beat elective. I may be the only faculty who “bit” and wanted to record the experience here, just in case one of the “audience” should happen by.
I could have presented any one of three current research interests — William Halsey Wood; Building the Social Gospel (a.k.a. the Akron-Auditorium Plan); or Tangent Lives, the story of Dakota’s early Episcopal church buildings — but why burden them with more arcane information on the forgotten buildings of second-string practitioners. I fear any of those topics would have induced “nap time” at a wholesale level. So, as you might guess, Agincourt was my preferred topic, for which I updated, edited and otherwise improved a power point presentation for the seventy-five minute window of opportunity Matthew afforded me.
You may think this is pessimistic but I believe, based on forty-plus years of classroom experience, that on any one day, I’m speaking to a small percentage of those present—but I don’t always know who they are: faces aren’t always a good gauge of interest. Of the 200+ students in ENVD 101, the response was heartening. So, with time running out, I stopped reluctantly, hesitated to leave the room, and was warmed by the number who cornered me on the way out to smile and wish me well. Those are the moments we treasure in teaching and they come (for me, at least) too infrequently. [And they come, in the wake of my failed attempt at promotion, as Balm from Gilead.]
There may never be another Agincourt exhibit. Yet today’s experience makes me wonder if there aren’t a few folks out there who’ll accept my invitation to join us in the sandbox just for the learning experience.