Moxie Versus Dr. Pepper

I learned something new this week. Every year, the town of Lisbon Falls, Maine, holds an annual festival to celebrate moxie. This carbonated beverage is only regionally popular so that’s why I’ve never heard of it. One of the first soft drinks to be mass-produced in the United States, it was introduced in 1876. It’s not as sweet as most soft drinks. Some people think it’s bitter. It became the official soft drink of Maine on May 10th, 2005.

On the other hand, Dr. Pepper, my favorite soft drink, was introduced in 1885 and was first marketed in the U.S. in 1904 and is sold in Europe, Asia, Australia, and South America. As far as I know, it’s not the official beverage of any state, and there’s no festival to celebrate it. If you haven’t drunk Dr. Pepper, I can’t tell you what it tastes like because the flavor is so unique.

The 2011 Moxie Festival in Lisbon Falls, Maine, was held July 8th through the 10th. Activities included a fireworks display, parade, and a Moxie chugging contest, to name a few. According to Maine author Jim Baumer’s blog, this year’s festival might be the last. It’s no wonder since it attracts twenty to thirty thousand people, and only a handful of volunteers put it on every year.

I wish Dr. Pepper could be designated Wyoming’s official beverage, and a Dr. Pepper festival could be held here inSheridan. However, I don’t have the time and energy to coordinate such a festival so I’ll be content to just drink it. I love Dr. Pepper so much that I’m going to post a poem I wrote about it.

ODE TO DR. PEPPER

I love to swallow its cold carbonation,

feel it come back into my mouth in the form of a belch.

Oh, that feels so good!

I drink it in mid afternoon.

It helps me get through the day.

I sometimes consume it in the evening,

when I’m sleepy, and it’s too early for bed.

In the good old days,

I drank a lot of it,

just what the doctor ordered.

Now, the doctor says it has too much sugar

so I limit my consumption to one or two cans a day.

What would I do without it?

Do you have a favorite soft drink? Please feel free to leave a comment or send me an e-mail. I’d love to hear from you.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome

http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

abbie@samobile.net

The Button

“Abbie, your top button is undone,” said my fifth grade teacher at the Arizona State School for the Deaf & Blind (ASDB) in Tucson, a woman I’ll call Mrs. Jones.

On the days I had P.E. class, Mother let me wear clothes I could take off and put on easily since we had to change into gym suits. Today, I wore a dress because I was supposed to have a piano lesson instead of P.E. class, but the piano teacher was sick, and the P.E. teacher ordered us into our gym suits as usual. In the locker room, I found someone to help with the buttons on the back of my dress since they were hard to reach. But now, here I was, with school ending and a button having been missed.

“I can’t do it myself,” I told Mrs. Jones.

“Yes, you can, and you’re not leaving until you do.”

With a sigh, I reached behind me. The button and the hole were small, and my arms grew tired before I could finish the job, and I had to put them down. All around me were the sounds of the school day ending, children chattering in the hall, doors opening and closing. Gradually, the building grew quiet, and here I was, struggling with a missed button. In about an hour, Mother would pick me up at the little girls’ dormitory, but I wouldn’t be there because I’d be here, trying to button a stupid button, and she would worry. This thought caused me to panic, and I struggled again and again to fasten the button but to no avail.

After sitting at her desk and watching me for a few minutes, Mrs. Jones rose and said, “I’m going to write a letter to your mother about this.“ Her threat didn’t alarm me because Mother understood that there were some things I couldn’t do for myself, but when the teacher left the room, I gave in to my feelings of panic and despair, collapsed at my desk, let my tears flow.

After I calmed down and looked around the empty classroom, an idea came to me. I rose, picked up my books, crept to the open doorway. I looked left and right. Nobody was coming. Down the hall, someone was typing, and I assumed it was Mrs. Jones,, writing that dreaded letter. I sneaked in the opposite direction toward the main entrance. I encountered no one. Once outside, I hurried to the dormitory and found someone to deal with the offending button.

When Mrs. Jones arrived about half an hour later, I was watching TV with the other girls. “What are you doing here?” she asked.

I panicked and reached for the button and remembered it was already fastened. “Look, I did it. You said I couldn’t leave until I buttoned it, and I buttoned it.”

“I just finished writing a letter to your mother,” said Mrs. Jones. “Now, I’m going to write some more.” She turned and flounced out of the room.

The next day, Mother confronted Mrs. Jones in the hall outside our classroom. As we sat at our desks, we heard them yelling but couldn’t hear the words. “What are they blabbering about?” one of the boys asked. I said nothing.

Later, I learned that when Mother told Mrs. Jones she didn’t appreciate her method of teaching, Mrs. Jones threatened Mother that if she continued to make waves, I would be put in a special class for slow learners. This prompted Mother and Dad along with other parents to attempt to remove their children from the state school and place them in public schools.

“You’re not coming here tomorrow,” said Mother a few days later when she picked me up after school. “You’re going to look at Julie and Ashley’s school.”

Julie and Ashley lived with their parents in the house across the street. They were sighted and went to a public school. Julie was my age, and Ashley was a few years younger. Their younger brother Thomas was the same age as my younger brother, and we played together after school and on weekends.

“Good! I don’t have to go on that stupid Girl Scout hike tomorrow.”

“That’s right, and if you like Julie and Ashley’s school, you won’t have to go back to ASDB ever again.”

The next morning when I climbed out of the car at theMiles Exploratory Learning Center, (ELC) I heard the happy cries of children in the playground. There were several play areas on the school for the blind’s campus, but none of them were located directly in front of the school building. The playground nearest the school was in an enclosed courtyard, and when I was in the first and second grades, our classes had access to this playground. From the third grade on, we didn’t have recess so we rarely used it. I never heard children playing in the playground when I arrived at school.

As Dad and I walked toward ELC, a bell rang. This surprised me because I didn’t hear the bell ring from outside the school building at ASDB. At the sound, the other kids dropped what they were doing and hurried to the entrance, eager to begin the school day. At ASDB, there was none of this enthusiasm. Resigned, we walked into our classrooms, sat down at our desks, and waited for our teachers.

ELC consisted of three class groups called bases Base E was kindergarten through second grade. Base L, where I was sent, was third fourth and fifth grades. Base C was sixth grade. Base L had three connecting rooms for math, science, and language arts. Students in this base were assigned to one of these areas as a home room.

At the start of the school day, students gathered in their respective home rooms. I was temporarily assigned to the science area. Mrs. Gilbert was a pleasant woman, and I liked her right away. One thing she said that morning has been stuck in my mind to this day. “Paper airplanes are fun but not on school paper.” At ASDB, we did crafts projects but never paper airplanes. I thought this was a cool idea, but I never followed through.

After the mandatory home room meeting, students could visit any area of the base they liked as long as they filled out a time slip stating what time they were in each area and how long they stayed. There was no set curriculum. Students could learn what they wanted. Besides textbooks, there were educational tapes, and in the math and science areas, hands-on activities such as counting rice into different size Dairy Queen cups.

The school also had an art room for drawing only, a crafts room, and a library, all of which could be visited at any time during the school day as long as students checked in and out of these areas. The cafeteria also served as an auditorium. There was a stage at one end of the room, and when classes weren’t in session, students could play records and dance. After lunch each day, there was choir practice followed by folk dancing and drama classes which anyone could attend but which weren’t required. There were no bells except to signal the beginning and end of the school day and the lunch period. Students were free to do what they chose.

At ASDB, we had to do reading followed by math followed by English followed by library or music period etc. Bells rang to signal the beginning and end of each period. We stayed in the same classroom and had the same teacher for everything except for physical education, music, and library periods. The teachers told us what to do, and we couldn’t choose what we wanted to learn.

Lunch was also different. At ASDB, when the bell rang for lunch, we went to our respective dormitories, even the day students. We put on aprons that tied at the neck, lined up, and marched across the street to the cafeteria. Once inside the vast lunchroom, we stood behind our assigned chairs and waited for the blessing to be said. This was done by one of us who volunteered, using a microphone in the center of the room. After that, we all sat down at our places, and students at the head and foot of each table passed around food and drinks.

At ELC, we lined up outside the cafeteria when the bell rang for lunch. Instead of walking to assigned tables, we went through a serving line. We collected silverware, napkins, trays of food, and cartons of milk. Before doing this, we paid a lady a small amount of money or gave her a ticket. When we got our food, we could sit wherever we wanted. There was no blessing. One thing I didn’t like about this arrangement was that there were no seconds which meant I couldn’t have more chocolate pudding. Fortunately, a girl at my table offered me hers.

When school was dismissed, I was smiling, as I climbed into Dad’s car. “Can I come back here tomorrow?”

“Of course you can, honey.”

I soon settled into the routine at ELC. I was permanently assigned to Mrs. Osterman’s home room, the math area. By some miraculous twist of fate, I was able to receive some textbooks in Braille. Other material was read to me either by other students or the teacher who also helped me fill out the time slips. I often visited the library where I curled up on the couch in a corner and read a Braille book. One time, I sat down with the language arts teacher and made a tape in which I read her a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson in Braille, and we talked about it.

At the end of the school year, I played Dorothy in a production of “The Wizard of Oz.” This was improvisational theater which meant we made up the lines as we went along based on what we heard in the movie. It was great because I didn’t have to worry about reading and memorizing lines. Back then, I actually believed that a cyclone picked up Dorothy’s house and carried it to Oz, and she was able to get back home by clicking her heels together three times and saying, “There’s no place like home.” This was because I couldn’t see what was going on in the movie, and my parents didn’t tell me the truth until a year or so later. If I had remembered what Dorothy says at the end of the movie about looking no further than your own back yard to find your heart’s desire, I would have said that during my performance. When you’re a kid, you don’t always think about the moral of a story.

A girl in my home room I’ll call Nancy said to me one day, “I don’t like this school. You don’t learn anything.”

It may be true that in an unstructured learning environment, a student may not be motivated to learn, but if you become involved in things that interest you, you’ll acquire knowledge. At ELC, I not only learned the words to “Over the Rainbow,,” but I also discovered that you have to look further than your own back yard to find a world of possibilities. Through the years, I’ve also come to realize that it’s not a sin to ask for help buttoning that unreachable top button on the back of your dress.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome

http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

abbie@samobile.net

Child Psychology

In my last post, I shared my experiences as a recipient of corporal punishment. Here’s a look at the subject from a different perspective. This story is pure fiction. Since I never had kids, I didn’t have experiences to draw on. The idea came to me in a dream one night a few years ago, and I went to my computer and took it from there. Enjoy!

CHILD PSYCHOLOGY

Whack! Whack! Whack! The palm of my hand slapped my little boy’s pajama-clad bottom a few times while he screamed and writhed in pain and frustration. I picked him up and carried him upstairs to his room. He continued to cry. I spoke not a word as I removed his soiled pajamas and dressed him in clean clothes. He was sniffling as I said, “Now, are you ready to come downstairs and eat your breakfast like a civilize human being?”

His crying resumed in earnest. “Fine,” I said in disgust as I turned toward the door. “You can just stay there and cry. Don’t come downstairs until you’re ready to stop crying and behave.”

In the doorway, I stopped short. At the top of the stairs stood my neighbor Brenda. I braced for another round of negative criticism. “I heard Dylan screaming. Is he okay?” she asked.

“He’s fine,” I said as I pulled the door closed. “He just needs some time to himself.”

“Oh, Cheryl, did you spank him again?” she asked, her eyebrows raised in disapproval.

With a sigh, I answered, “I won’t deny it, but he needs to learn to control himself. You should see the mess in the kitchen.”

“It can’t be that bad. He’s only two. What do you expect?”

“I know how old my kid is. I turned my back for one minute, and there was milk everywhere, all over the table, all over him, on the floor. I swear to God this kid is the mess maker from Hell.”

“Okay, I was only trying to help,” she said, as she turned to descend the stairs. “I don’t have time to argue with you. Now that I know Dylan’s okay, I’ll go about my business.” She hurried down the stairs, and I heard the screen door slam.

Fuming, I rushed to the kitchen. I had a million things to do today, and I didn’t have time for this. Ever since Brenda moved into the apartment next door a few weeks ago, she criticized the way I disciplined Dylan. Whenever I spanked him, she appeared,, acting as if she thought the boy was involved in a serious accident. When she learned the truth, she uttered her famous line. “He’s only two. What do you expect?”

Brenda had no children of her own. She claimed to have a degree in child psychology. That didn’t give her as much knowledge about child-rearing as the actual experience, I thought, as I wiped the table, Dylan’s chair, and the floor around it with a wet rag.

The mess wasn’t that big. Dylan’s pajamas had absorbed most of the milk. There was a puddle on the table and maybe a few drops had splashed onto the chair and the floor. My anger evaporated, as I sank into a chair and placed my head in my hands.

I reflected on the events of the morning. Dylan was sitting at the table, chattering as he ate his cereal. I was washing dishes and thinking about the day ahead and not paying much attention to him. I heard the clatter of a plastic glass overturning and the dribbling sound of liquid being spilled. I turned around, and as I suspected, Dylan had upset his milk glass.

As I relived this scene, memories of my own childhood came flooding back to me, memories of times when my own mother spanked me for knocking over a glass of milk or spilling spaghetti down my front. At the time, I was a few years older than Dylan. Perhaps I should have known better, but the humiliation still hurt. Tears flowed down my cheeks, as I sat recalling these scenes. Like Dylan, I was playing while eating to keep occupied because my mother, like me, was too busy. I was about six or seven. Dylan was only two. Maybe Brenda was right.

Most weekday mornings were the same old routine. My husband left early for work before Dylan was out of bed. So it was my responsibility to get him up, dressed, and ready for the day. Although I was a stay at home mom, my days were filled with cleaning or shopping or trips to the gym or various volunteer obligations while Dylan was in preschool. So most mornings, I was preoccupied with the day’s schedule.

I blew my nose and shook my head, as I tried to remember the last time I sat down and ate breakfast with Dylan and talked to him about what he was thinking or what he wanted to do that day. Usually on weekends, the three of us ate a late breakfast together, but when had I recently taken the time to enjoy the meal with my son?

With determination, I marched upstairs to Dylan’s room. I opened the door a crack and peeked inside. He was lying on the floor face down, but he turned to me when he heard the door creak. The curtains were drawn, and in the dim light, I couldn’t see his face, but I knew he was hurting. I turned on the overhead light and crossed to where he lay, kneeling by his side. “I’m sorry, Mommy,” he said with a note of desperation in his voice.

“I’m sorry, too,” I said, stroking his hair. “I shouldn’t have spanked you. We all make mistakes. I spilled plenty of milk when I was your age.”

Dylan gazed at me in astonishment, as I took him in my arms and held him, drinking in the scent of the shampoo I’d used on his hair the night before. Fresh sobs erupted from him, shaking his shoulders as he snuggled against me. “It’s okay,” I said, as I rocked him and stroked his back. A minute later, I said, “Why don’t we go downstairs and eat breakfast together, you and me?”

“Can we really?” he asked, as he gaped at me in amazement.

“Sure, why not?” I said, rising to my feet and pulling him to a standing position. “We’ve got plenty of time.”

Hand in hand, we returned to the kitchen. A while later when Brenda appeared with a social worker from the Department of Child Protective Services, Dylan and I were sitting at the kitchen table, eating cream of wheat, laughing, and talking. “You’re right, Brenda,” I said. “He’s only two. What should I expect?”

THE END

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

abbie@samobile.net

Child Psychology

In my last post, I shared my experiences as a recipient of corporal punishment. Here’s a look at the subject from a different perspective. This story is pure fiction. Since I never had kids, I didn’t have experiences to draw on. The idea came to me in a dream one night a few years ago, and I went to my computer and took it from there. Enjoy!

CHILD PSYCHOLOGY

Whack! Whack! Whack! The palm of my hand slapped my little boy’s pajama-clad bottom a few times while he screamed and writhed in pain and frustration. I picked him up and carried him upstairs to his room. He continued to cry. I spoke not a word as I removed his soiled pajamas and dressed him in clean clothes. He was sniffling as I said, “Now, are you ready to come downstairs and eat your breakfast like a civilize human being?”
His crying resumed in earnest. “Fine,” I said in disgust as I turned toward the door. “You can just stay there and cry. Don’t come downstairs until you’re ready to stop crying and behave.”
In the doorway, I stopped short. At the top of the stairs stood my neighbor Brenda. I braced for another round of negative criticism. “I heard Dylan screaming. Is he okay?” she asked.
“He’s fine,” I said as I pulled the door closed. “He just needs some time to himself.”
“Oh, Cheryl, did you spank him again?” she asked, her eyebrows raised in disapproval.
With a sigh, I answered, “I won’t deny it, but he needs to learn to control himself. You should see the mess in the kitchen.”
“It can’t be that bad. He’s only two. What do you expect?”
“I know how old my kid is. I turned my back for one minute, and there was milk everywhere, all over the table, all over him, on the floor. I swear to God this kid is the mess maker from Hell.”
“Okay, I was only trying to help,” she said, as she turned to descend the stairs. “I don’t have time to argue with you. Now that I know Dylan’s okay, I’ll go about my business.” She hurried down the stairs, and I heard the screen door slam.
Fuming, I rushed to the kitchen. I had a million things to do today, and I didn’t have time for this. Ever since Brenda moved into the apartment next door a few weeks ago, she criticized the way I disciplined Dylan. Whenever I spanked him, she appeared,, acting as if she thought the boy was involved in a serious accident. When she learned the truth, she uttered her famous line. “He’s only two. What do you expect?”
Brenda had no children of her own. She claimed to have a degree in child psychology. That didn’t give her as much knowledge about child-rearing as the actual experience, I thought, as I wiped the table, Dylan’s chair, and the floor around it with a wet rag.
The mess wasn’t that big. Dylan’s pajamas had absorbed most of the milk. There was a puddle on the table and maybe a few drops had splashed onto the chair and the floor. My anger evaporated, as I sank into a chair and placed my head in my hands.
I reflected on the events of the morning. Dylan was sitting at the table, chattering as he ate his cereal. I was washing dishes and thinking about the day ahead and not paying much attention to him. I heard the clatter of a plastic glass overturning and the dribbling sound of liquid being spilled. I turned around, and as I suspected, Dylan had upset his milk glass.
As I relived this scene, memories of my own childhood came flooding back to me, memories of times when my own mother spanked me for knocking over a glass of milk or spilling spaghetti down my front. At the time, I was a few years older than Dylan. Perhaps I should have known better, but the humiliation still hurt. Tears flowed down my cheeks, as I sat recalling these scenes. Like Dylan, I was playing while eating to keep occupied because my mother, like me, was too busy. I was about six or seven. Dylan was only two. Maybe Brenda was right.
Most weekday mornings were the same old routine. My husband left early for work before Dylan was out of bed. So it was my responsibility to get him up, dressed, and ready for the day. Although I was a stay at home mom, my days were filled with cleaning or shopping or trips to the gym or various volunteer obligations while Dylan was in preschool. So most mornings, I was preoccupied with the day’s schedule.
I blew my nose and shook my head, as I tried to remember the last time I sat down and ate breakfast with Dylan and talked to him about what he was thinking or what he wanted to do that day. Usually on weekends, the three of us ate a late breakfast together, but when had I recently taken the time to enjoy the meal with my son?
With determination, I marched upstairs to Dylan’s room. I opened the door a crack and peeked inside. He was lying on the floor face down, but he turned to me when he heard the door creak. The curtains were drawn, and in the dim light, I couldn’t see his face, but I knew he was hurting. I turned on the overhead light and crossed to where he lay, kneeling by his side. “I’m sorry, Mommy,” he said with a note of desperation in his voice.
“I’m sorry, too,” I said, stroking his hair. “I shouldn’t have spanked you. We all make mistakes. I spilled plenty of milk when I was your age.”
Dylan gazed at me in astonishment, as I took him in my arms and held him, drinking in the scent of the shampoo I’d used on his hair the night before. Fresh sobs erupted from him, shaking his shoulders as he snuggled against me. “It’s okay,” I said, as I rocked him and stroked his back. A minute later, I said, “Why don’t we go downstairs and eat breakfast together, you and me?”
“Can we really?” he asked, as he gaped at me in amazement.
“Sure, why not?” I said, rising to my feet and pulling him to a standing position. “We’ve got plenty of time.”
Hand in hand, we returned to the kitchen. A while later when Brenda appeared with a social worker from the Department of Child Protective Services, Dylan and I were sitting at the kitchen table, eating cream of wheat, laughing, and talking. “You’re right, Brenda,” I said. “He’s only two. What should I expect?”

THE END

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com
abbie@samobile.net

Corporal Punishment

When my younger brother was in high school, he was suspended for mooning out of a school bus. When I look back on my teen years, I wish I could have been reckless. Exposing my bare bottom out a window wasn’t my idea of a good time, though. I wanted to be the girl in The Beach Boys song who had fun until her father took away the car keys. But because of my limited vision, I never learned to drive. The only time I was ever bad was when I was in the second grade, as you’ll see in the following essay.

CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

In the fall of 1968 after my brother Andy was born, I started second grade at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind in Tucson. My teacher, Miss Willis, an elderly woman, was also visually impaired. Every morning, after we said the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and sang “My Country Tis of Thee” or “God Bless America,” she said, “All right, boys and girls, it’s now time for us to take our vitamins.”

We lined up in front of her desk and each received a pill. Unlike the nurses at the infirmary, Miss Willis didn’t place the pills in our mouths and make sure we swallowed them. I concealed mine in my pocket or desk drawer.

One afternoon, I knocked over chairs and threw things, much to the amusement of other classmates and myself. I even tossed a figure of the Christ Child. Miss Willis sent me to the principal’s office, but since it was empty, I sat there for a while until Mother found me.

“Abbie, Miss Willis said you were bad today.” I shrugged.

My parents had recently given me a transistor radio for my birthday. When we got home, I hurried to my room with the intent of listening to it. But Mother followed me and took it away. “You’re not to listen to this for the rest of the day. If you’re good tomorrow, you can have it back.”

Although this saddened me, there were plenty of other things I could do to occupy myself. The next day, I was at it again. “She’s jealous of the new baby,” Miss Willis told Mother. “She’s not getting enough attention.”

This time in addition to the loss of radio privileges, I received a spanking. When it was over, I lay on my bed and sobbed. Why was this happening to me? I was only having fun.

I misbehaved at school several more times. WhenMother learned of my shenanigans, she took me home and spanked me. The last time it happened, it was Dad who found me in the principal’s office, took me home, and spanked me. For some reason, this left an impression on me, and I decided my fun in the classroom wasn’t worth the pain and humiliation of the punishment I received at home.

When Andy was in the third grade, he developed similar behavioral problems. Our parents and his teachers came up with a different plan. For every day at school when he was good, he received a point, and when he had a certain number of points, he got to do something he wanted such as go out to dinner or a movie.

This approach worked for a while, but in the sixth grade, he got into more trouble. In high school, he was suspended for mooning out of a school bus, and he was arrested for being in possession of alcohol. He also had one or two minor brushes with the law when he was in college. He became a physicist with a PH.D. and is married with children who have their own discipline problems.

As an adult, when I hear psychologists on television and radio say that corporal punishment isn’t a good form of discipline, I can’t help wondering how well these experts know their subject matter. Do they have children of their own? How successful have they been at raising them without spanking them?

It pains me to look back on the punishment I received during my second grade year, but I don’t know what else my parents could have done. Dad was working most of the time, and Mother had all she could do to take care of Andy. She couldn’t always be available like she was before he was born.

Miss Willis said I wasn’t getting enough attention. Maybe negative attention is better than no attention at all. In that case, I’m a testimonial to the effectiveness of a few hard swats on the bottom.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome

http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com

abbie@samobile.net

When my younger brother was in high school, he was suspended for mooning out of a school bus. When I look back on my teen years, I wish I could have been reckless. Exposing my bare bottom out a window wasn’t my idea of a good time, though. I wanted to be the girl in The Beach Boys song who had fun until her father took away the car keys. But because of my limited vision, I never learned to drive. The only time I was ever bad was when I was in the second grade, as you’ll see in the following essay.

CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

In the fall of 1968 after my brother Andy was born, I started second grade at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind in Tucson. My teacher, Miss Willis, an elderly woman, was also visually impaired. Every morning, after we said the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and sang “My Country Tis of Thee” or “God Bless America,” she said, “All right, boys and girls, it’s now time for us to take our vitamins.”
We lined up in front of her desk and each received a pill. Unlike the nurses at the infirmary, Miss Willis didn’t place the pills in our mouths and make sure we swallowed them. I concealed mine in my pocket or desk drawer.
One afternoon, I knocked over chairs and threw things, much to the amusement of other classmates and myself. I even tossed a figure of the Christ Child. Miss Willis sent me to the principal’s office, but since it was empty, I sat there for a while until Mother found me.
“Abbie, Miss Willis said you were bad today.” I shrugged.
My parents had recently given me a transistor radio for my birthday. When we got home, I hurried to my room with the intent of listening to it. But Mother followed me and took it away. “You’re not to listen to this for the rest of the day. If you’re good tomorrow, you can have it back.”
Although this saddened me, there were plenty of other things I could do to occupy myself. The next day, I was at it again. “She’s jealous of the new baby,” Miss Willis told Mother. “She’s not getting enough attention.”
This time in addition to the loss of radio privileges, I received a spanking. When it was over, I lay on my bed and sobbed. Why was this happening to me? I was only having fun.
I misbehaved at school several more times. When Mother learned of my shenanigans, she took me home and spanked me. The last time it happened, it was Dad who found me in the principal’s office, took me home, and spanked me. For some reason, this left an impression on me, and I decided my fun in the classroom wasn’t worth the pain and humiliation of the punishment I received at home.
When Andy was in the third grade, he developed similar behavioral problems. Our parents and his teachers came up with a different plan. For every day at school when he was good, he received a point, and when he had a certain number of points, he got to do something he wanted such as go out to dinner or a movie.
This approach worked for a while, but in the sixth grade, he got into more trouble. In high school, he was suspended for mooning out of a school bus, and he was arrested for being in possession of alcohol. He also had one or two minor brushes with the law when he was in college. He became a physicist with a PH.D. and is married with children who have their own discipline problems.
As an adult, when I hear psychologists on television and radio say that corporal punishment isn’t a good form of discipline, I can’t help wondering how well these experts know their subject matter. Do they have children of their own? How successful have they been at raising them without spanking them?
It pains me to look back on the punishment I received during my second grade year, but I don’t know what else my parents could have done. Dad was working most of the time, and Mother had all she could do to take care of Andy. She couldn’t always be available like she was before he was born.
Miss Willis said I wasn’t getting enough attention. Maybe negative attention is better than no attention at all. In that case, I’m a testimonial to the effectiveness of a few hard swats on the bottom.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome
http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com
abbie@samobile.net

Corporal Punishment

When my younger brother was in high school, he was suspended for mooning out of a school bus. When I look back on my teen years, I wish I could have been reckless. Exposing my bare bottom out a window wasn’t my idea of a good time, though. I wanted to be the girl in The Beach Boys song who had fun until her father took away the car keys. But because of my limited vision, I never learned to drive. The only time I was ever bad was when I was in the second grade, as you’ll see in the following essay.

CORPORAL PUNISHMENT

In the fall of 1968 after my brother Andy was born, I started second grade at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind in Tucson. My teacher, Miss Willis, an elderly woman, was also visually impaired. Every morning, after we said the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag and sang “My Country Tis of Thee” or “God Bless America,” she said, “All right, boys and girls, it’s now time for us to take our vitamins.”
We lined up in front of her desk and each received a pill. Unlike the nurses at the infirmary, Miss Willis didn’t place the pills in our mouths and make sure we swallowed them. I concealed mine in my pocket or desk drawer.
One afternoon, I knocked over chairs and threw things, much to the amusement of other classmates and myself. I even tossed a figure of the Christ Child. Miss Willis sent me to the principal’s office, but since it was empty, I sat there for a while until Mother found me.
“Abbie, Miss Willis said you were bad today.” I shrugged.
My parents had recently given me a transistor radio for my birthday. When we got home, I hurried to my room with the intent of listening to it. But Mother followed me and took it away. “You’re not to listen to this for the rest of the day. If you’re good tomorrow, you can have it back.”
Although this saddened me, there were plenty of other things I could do to occupy myself. The next day, I was at it again. “She’s jealous of the new baby,” Miss Willis told Mother. “She’s not getting enough attention.”
This time in addition to the loss of radio privileges, I received a spanking. When it was over, I lay on my bed and sobbed. Why was this happening to me? I was only having fun.
I misbehaved at school several more times. When Mother learned of my shenanigans, she took me home and spanked me. The last time it happened, it was Dad who found me in the principal’s office, took me home, and spanked me. For some reason, this left an impression on me, and I decided my fun in the classroom wasn’t worth the pain and humiliation of the punishment I received at home.
When Andy was in the third grade, he developed similar behavioral problems. Our parents and his teachers came up with a different plan. For every day at school when he was good, he received a point, and when he had a certain number of points, he got to do something he wanted such as go out to dinner or a movie.
This approach worked for a while, but in the sixth grade, he got into more trouble. In high school, he was suspended for mooning out of a school bus, and he was arrested for being in possession of alcohol. He also had one or two minor brushes with the law when he was in college. He became a physicist with a PH.D. and is married with children who have their own discipline problems.
As an adult, when I hear psychologists on television and radio say that corporal punishment isn’t a good form of discipline, I can’t help wondering how well these experts know their subject matter. Do they have children of their own? How successful have they been at raising them without spanking them?
It pains me to look back on the punishment I received during my second grade year, but I don’t know what else my parents could have done. Dad was working most of the time, and Mother had all she could do to take care of Andy. She couldn’t always be available like she was before he was born.
Miss Willis said I wasn’t getting enough attention. Maybe negative attention is better than no attention at all. In that case, I’m a testimonial to the effectiveness of a few hard swats on the bottom.

Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of We Shall Overcome
http://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com
abbie@samobile.net