Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Back To School


     Well, it's been almost a week since my last post.  As many other people, parents, students, teachers, administrators, construction crews, and I imagine even politicians- I am scurrying around like a squirrel before the first snowflake to ready all in my abode for the rite of "back to school."

      I asked some of my teacher friends for a few words to contribute to this post.  Thought it might be fun to hear funny or touching memories, about the students they taught over the years; or on the other side, what they wish they would've known before becoming a teacher.  Not surprisingly, they're swamped to the "nth degree", and other than a few thoughts have left me to come up with with something that I hope will intrigue and provoke a thought as well as a smile.  If nothing else, you might learn something that with a bus token, may get you cross town. 

     I too, am too busy, so in all likelihood this will be short.  Since my youngest will be starting kindergarten, and I know there will be some adjusting to say the least.  If you need a little back story on my 5 year old Perry Mason, click HERE, to get the bigger picture.

     I have often wondered why one brings an apple to their teacher.  This thought usually has struck at the beginning of the school year, for as long as I can remember; back to the Victorian Age when I attended.  There were times I thought, "why an apple, as opposed to another piece of fruit? Why not a vegetable?  I supposed there might be unwanted connotation if one was to give a banana, zucchini, or a cucumber; but why not an orange?  Feeds the immune system and rids any worry of scurvy to be sure.  Figured cold hard cash would probably suffice and be more appreciated by the teacher. Alas,  that would probably cause a few raised eyebrows not to mention pesky rumors of impropriety.   I concluded, the reason  was probably more symbolic, rather than practical.  Still the reason nagged at my curiousity.  If it was symbolic, did it have to do with the forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden's Tree of Knowledge?  Was it to serve as a warning?  In a warped attempt of alluding to Snow White's fate?  Maybe just a wish for the teacher's good health -to keep the doctor away as the proverb's promise.

     Perhaps it did all begin with the story of Eve, but after that monumental event, there were quite a few other points of knowledge to note about the apple.

     It is thought the wild ancestors of today's apple originated in Central Asia.  Alexander the Great is credited for finding dwarfed apples in Kazakhstan in Asia, according to WikipediaDwarfed apples; interesting.
     These apples were not sweet like the ones we enjoy today, but were bitter and  some even poisonous; nature's way of ensuring the growth and spread of the seed.   Further evidence, for my potential Snow White theory?  Thanks for that little seed of knowledge goes to the Smithsonian for sharing what I think they learned from Michael Pollan's Botany of Desire.*
     Over at Gourmet Live, it is stated that baskets of apples were given to teachers in lieu of payment for poor families' children's education in 1700 in Denmark and Sweden.  Back at Smithsonian, they share that with apples coming to America, the apples being still quite bitter and thus inedible on most accounts, did however make lovely hard cider.  Now call me silly, but I think I may know a teacher or two that would welcome a 6-pack of Woodchuck Cider in lieu of an apple any ol' day.
     Gourmet claims that giving a teacher an apple spread in the 1920's South, during the Great Depression.  Apparently with the thought of keeping their teachers in health in order to continue teaching, during the trying times.  Evidently holding on to the thought of "An apple a day keeps the doctor away,"  which according to How Stuff Works,  this idea first appeared in an 1866 issue of "Notes and Queries."  Gotta hand it to the crooner Bing Crosby, for giving the whole idea another spin.
     Over at Why Guides, it is suggested that since children come in all the variety of apples, that like an apple, only with love and support can they grow and flourish.  It is no easy task.
     So, not to be an "apple polisher", (as that is for another post) but allow me to wish all a good school year.
     And to thank the educators (of yesteryear, today, and the future) for all of their valiant efforts. 

You will never be thanked enough.

**UPDATE: PLEASE WATCH THIS GREAT VIDEO BY ONE OF AMERICA'S FINEST EDUCATORS  CLICK :  Rita F. Pierson


*This book caused me to post this later than intended; intrigued me to the point of ordering and I will share what I think later on down the road.

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