Monday, June 3, 2013
Reminded almost at every turn, people have played an important role in my writings. Whether it
was a speech or paper typed by my Mother, family was instrumental by providing me with
stimulating adventures making journal memories. What fun it has been to relive some of my moments
protected in my words through my journals!
It seems like a magical carpet riding going through these adventures of writing and reading through
my 56 years of discovery! It has been my goal to offer the same type of adventures to my children.
But I think I will begin to encourage them to write in journals now. They can someday create a
blog and find a surprise at the end. Yes, I have been a writer during my life!
Obstacles are only opportunities! It was a wonderful opportunity
to create this blog! I learned how to make a bitstrip, use tagxedo, paste
using HTML and create a blog through losing all sense of time.
It is 2:35 am and I still am enjoying my blog!
Why would my Mother let me spend 2 months backpacking Europe when I was only 20 years old? So glad she did not read my diary!
My blue diary came with me on my wonderful European adventure. As I looked back on my diary in
1999, it was a marvelous reminder of the places and people taking part in the adventure. I traveled
again with my daughter in 1999 visiting some of the same places from my 1977 trip. The writings in
my diary were an inspiration and a path for our trip. Without the diary, we would have missed so
many recreations of places visited in 1977.
Writing in my travel diaries has been my main form of writing my entire life. My Mother had
encouraged me to keep diaries through my daily life. I wish I had done that. Instead I would start a
new travel journal for every special adventure. Some of the facts in the diaries would never be
held as memories without the reminders in my writings.
On both of these adventures we spent several nights sleeping on the trains. When I was 20 years old,
I would write in my journal. As a parent, I spent my nights on guard that no one would come into our
sleeping car. My daugher did write in hers as I watched over her like a mother lion.
I found my diary last night from 1977! All my other diaries are missing in actions. How fun to read
through my days in Europe!
Another of my travel diaries involved a family trip in October 1973 to Columbia. My Father was
President of the Kellogg Foundation and we were visiting some of the programs the foundation was
supporting at the time. My diary focused on two specific events. The first one I will describe
by first posting a letter to the Policeman's horse who I met at the Santana concert in Bogata.
Dear Policeman's horse,
I know that it must have been a very stressful day for you. The Bogata students had been rioting in the
streets for the past 6 days. The police department was using you to control the crowds in the streets.
We had arrived in Bogata the night before and I was still taking in all the smells and noises of the city.
It was arranged that I would attend the Santana concert with a chaperone for the evening. The limo
arrived at the Hilton to pick me up with the chaperone already in the car along with a body guard.
As we arrived at the auditorium venue, there was a long line of people waiting to go into the concert.
We moved to the line noticing the police lined up with guns next to the parking lot.
When we moved into the line, I noticed you for the first time. You were in a line with 10 other
horses and riders. To my left I viewed a group of college students yelling at you. You were
trained to control crowds. You were ready.
As you moved through the crowd, the students moved closer to our concert line. That is when you
went into your work mode. Trying to keep the students from the concert line, you backed up towards
the line. To my surprise, I was right at the spot where you backed up. Further and Further you backed
up, I was pressed against the wall with my body guard standing between your back end and me. With
a slight buck, you moved forward and all was fine.
I am sorry that we met in October of 1973 this way. You were just doing your job and I forgive you.
In 1977 Carlos Santana wore a all white suit to all his concerts!
In addition to my concert experience (first time smelling pot at a concert and running to the limo amid
gun fire and rioting after the concert), we celebrated my mother's 56th birthday at a fancy restaurant the
next night. I wrote in my diary about an obnoxious American women who was attending the birthday
party. My evening was spent in the little bathroom avoiding this obnoxious drunk woman at our table
My diary talked about this event though my Father remembers it differently. He says that I went out to
the car and waited. Since this was an time of kidnappings in Columbia, I believe that my diaries tell
the truth and I hid in the bathroom.
Reviewing my past has been fun and insightful. I did not see myself as a writer prior to
this project. A reader yes, A writer no! Some of the most important memories of my life
were written in travel diaries. Many of these moments changed my life forever. One of my
favorite diaries was about my travels to Haiti when I was 16 years old. A High School friend had
grown up in Haiti and was going back home for the Summer. I am so thankful to Anne Nelson that
she invited me for a month visit.
My future writings involved two situations. The first event happened immediately after our arrival
in Port a Prince, Haiti in 1971. Finding a means of transportation was an event in itself. We went down
to the market place locating a bus traveling to Les Cayes in Southwest Haiti. With a extra dollar
payment, we were allowed to sit in the front seat with the driver. The back of the truck was filled with
haitians traveling to a Tuberculosis clinic in Les Cayes. We traveled for over 8 hours on the bus
stopping in small villages to pick up extra travelers.
Though the trip was rough and uncomfortable, I could not imagine what the trip would offer me
in life lessons. As we traveled through the towns on rough roads, we would stop occasionally in small
villages. Groups of children would run to the bus with the excitement of a group of Justin Bever fans.
As so as they saw two white teenagers in the open front seat, they were immediately trying to climb
onto the bus. They would beg and plead for money until we moved onto the next stop. In the
beginning I would give out pennies in each town. After a few hours, I was out of pennies and thinking
I wish that I had prepared for this trip.
When I was out of dimes and quarters, I knew I was in trouble. That is when my friend told me to
stop! She said, "Karen, you have given enough. Stop!" How was I going to do that? Anne said,
"Turn your back to the door when we come into the villages," explained Anne. "Don't look at their
faces and ignore them!" she added. I will never forget this experience and have used it in my writings
my entire life. In 1995, WMU required you to take a test to enter the School of Education. Part of the
test was an essay to be individually graded. I received a notice in the mail that the essay had received a
superior rating. Even as I continued in school my month in Haiti was part of my writings.
Another part of the trip was part of my diary. I wrote about the amazing sounds and smells of my
trip. At night we could hear the voodoo drums from the local villages. This was a haunting noise and
I can still remember the moment I heard it the first time. I wrote about this moment because it was
a moment that chilled my bones.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
The Classroom of the 1960's depicted in this video was the classroom of my elementary years.
We memorized spelling words, copied our letters in penmanship and wrote on lined paper exactly what
the teacher wrote on the chalkboard. The students were not allowed to express themselves creatively
through writing without upsetting the apple cart.
A very special good-bye gift was given to me at the end of 2nd grade. It was a small blue diary from
Toni Wolf, my 2nd grade friend. The diary was my first step in writing my feelings on paper.
We were moving from East Lansing to Hickory Corners for my Father's new job at the Kellogg
Foundation. It was my first creative writing attempt! In school, we learned spelling words, penmanship
and pat answers to essay questions. This was my first adventure in writing my thoughts which of
course were going in so many different directions in my new home. I remember that I wrote
about my new friends, my new dog and my new room. Exclamation marks were my favorite
punctuation. They still are my favorite!!!!
A squirrel comes to visit my family!
One creative writing piece was assigned in Mrs. Clark's 3rd grade classroom. We had a pet squirrel
who traveled home with each student on the weekend. Our assignment was to write about the
adventures with the squirrel. Everything went smoothly until Monday morning. My older
brother let the squirrel out and it went up into the back of the couch. We could not get it out and
my brother ended up getting bitten. He had to get rabies shots on his stomach. What a great
opportunity for a writing assignment! I never did get to bring the squirrel home again. But
I had one of the best essays in the class. Surely my ability to always exaggerate may have played a role
in the essay. The picture below may reflect the creative touch added to my story!
their friends and passed them with a inconspicuous air. Our third and forth grade teachers ignored it.
Letting friendships grow through notes and ideas is a new tool that I hope to remember. We had a
secret language where we added ob to every word. Our notes were crazy and confusing to adults in our
life. That is exactly how we wanted to share notes in the 5th grade.
As I moved through 5th into 6th grade, my focus was on friendships something that has remained
important my whole life. My memories of 5th grade English in Mrs. Baylor's room are not of English.
Instead, I remember we had a pretend wedding in class with Mike Batson and Marilyn Black. This
memory reminds me that events and activities remain in your mind not textbook time.
Our 6th grade graduation ukulele band entertainment played this wonderful song!
Another long- term memory takes place in sixth grade English class with Mr. Schinderle. His class
at Kellogg Elementary was at the end of the hall. It was our last year before junior high filled with
boy/girl drama, playing "Moonlight bay" on the ukulele as a class for graduation, trading notes,
collecting 45's, talent shows and slumber parties. My 6th grade English class started me on a writing
journey that has added many magic moments to my lifetime.
This will be continued in A Sanguine learns to write a speech.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Writing speeches continued to be an important part of my life. There was not one year from 8th grade
through high school that I did not write a campaign speech for student government. I always said that
my future was in government. When John Engler heard me speak in 1989, he asked if he could meet
with me to discuss my future in government. I choose raising children and am so glad that I did.
One speech did bring a trophy to dust in my old age. I competed in the 1973 Miss Teen Age
Michigan pagent. In my interview speech, they decided that I was the most excited about my leadership
positions. (It was the longest list) So my speech won the Miss Teen Age Leadership award.
Dale Carnegie's teachings were an important part of my high school and college years!
From an early age I was expected to attend endless events where my Father was the guest
speaker. Through hours of wiggling and half listening, I learned that you could make a difference
in the world if you could speak so people really listened to your ideas.
My first speech has been relived through my friend's voices for years. It was emotional for me but
now I sense it was emotional for them since it is locked in their memories. (sorry to say) We were in
Mr. Schinderle's class at Kellogg Elementary ending our 6th grade year. Next year we would move
onto junior high, we were long overdue to learn how to give a book report according to Mr.
My friends and I were so self-conscious in those years. It was an important time, we were
each learning about boys, love songs and going steady (for a day if that long). None of us had kissed
a boy but it was all we talked about at slummer parties.
Mr. Schinderle announced to the class, "Whoever goes first today will get an automatic A!" The only
thing I heard was A! 6th grade book report 1969 To my surprise he called on me. My whole body was
trembling and my mind was racing. With my parent's advice, I had practiced my speech in the
bathroom mirror at least a 100 times. This was different. Mike Earl and Mike Battson, the cutest boys in
the whole 6th grade, were sitting in the front. I slowly walked to the front of the room. By the looks
on my friend's faces they were waiting with
tension for their turn. To this day I do not think anyone heard a word I said due to nerves. Of course
Mr. Schinderle was listening and paying attention. With poise and fake confidence I raced through
my report. As I was nearing my conclusion, the emotions were building inside my mind. Just before the
last sentence, I burst into tears. Sobbing, I finished and went to my seat. But I did get an A!!!
My 6th grade book report was on the following book.
by Maureen Daly
Years later that book report speech has continuously haughted me. Two of my friends, Ella Jane
Bell-Greemam and Julie Lawrence Weingartner have repeated the story for every new boy that came
into my life. My husband and children have heard it so many times and love to use it to put me in my