May 13, 2020

Many of my readers are middle aged, some are even older, like me.  I’m 71 years old.  Some of you remember the title of this post as being from a Bob Dylan song.

The song’s first release was in an album which debuted on Jan. 13, 1964.  It wasn’t released as a single until May 8, 1965, and that was in the U.K. only.

However, it was already getting a lot of air-play on radios in the USA. I was never a big Bob Dylan fan, but that song has a big significance to Sandra and me, because it was being announced all over the radio that the song was being released as a single in the U.K., and it was hoped it would be in USA soon. That day, being May 8th, 1965, was the date of mine and Sandra’s first date. That was 55 years ago last Friday.

So, for that special day, I decided to surprise Sandra.  I always got her a special anniversary card for that day, but this year I really wanted to surprise her big time.

I had been looking through a big box of family photos I was trying to organize and found a 3 1/2 by 5 single 35 MM photo I had taken of Sandra in the spring of 1996.  It was a beautiful photo of her out in front of our house where our azaleas were in full bloom.

Without Sandra knowing about it, I took the photo to a photo shop and had it enlarged into an 8″x10″ photo.  When I got the enlargement the next day, I took it to a custom framing shop and had it put into a beautiful frame. We had a special meal that day for what she thought was an early Mother’s Day meal, because our son, John Paul and his wife, Jennifer, were down for a few days visit and had to leave early on Mother’s Day.  And Rachel, our daughter,  had to work Mother’s Day.

When we all brought the gifts to present to Rachel and Sandra for Mother’s day, Sandra was very surprised that I had her two gifts – one for Mother’s day and the other on for the anniversary of our first date. When Sandra opened that photo and saw it, she said, “I’ve always loved this photo, but thought it had been lost.  I’m going to put it on the fireplace mantle.”  And we did.  It was a great day.

And that gets me back to the title of Bob Dylan’s song – The Times They Are A Changin’. 

Recently I wrote a post titled “”What Was The Greatest Invention?”
People wrote me and replied what THEY though was the best invention..I heard of everything imaginable.  If you didn’t get to read that post it was very interesting. You can still read it in my archived posts.

Just in my lifetime, I have seen so many changes. And not just in inventions and technology.  I’m sure the youngsters, those under their 30’s, have seen many changes too. Look back at your life and note the changes you’ve seen since you could first remember.  And here’s some wisdom from an old man: some of the changes I’ve seen were good for society, but many were not.  Perhaps you see things differently than I do as to which changes were good and which were bad.  But I am sure we agree on this:  there have been many changes.

I’ll just cite one of my gripes about change that has not been good.  And I know I will receive a lot of criticism for this, but I’m not the only one with this opinion.

It’s our education system in America. I’m talking about all the way from kindergarten through advanced degrees in college – if any federal dollars are given to the school.  The feds require certain things to be taught and certain things which shall not be taught.

I was fortunate enough to get to serve ten years on a local school board while my children were in school.  Our superintendent told the board members a story he had once heard that was a true event.  A candidate for a teaching position was being interviewed by the board.  One member asked this man, “Some people teach that the earth is round and others teach that it’s flat.  How do you teach on that topic?”
The candidate replied,”Well, how do you want me to teach it?”

What he was admitting was that he would teach whatever he was told to teach to get the job and keep it.

That’s a reality all over the USA today. Don’t get me wrong on this.  I know there are many brilliant teachers today in every level of education who would love to teach what is best for their students.  But many of them don’t have that freedom, if in public-funded schools.  I have had many teachers in my family and they tell me of their frustration.

Frankly, I do not believe most public education is as good as it was 100 years ago.  That can easily be proven by doing a little research on the internet.  It won’t take you long to look up what was required by an 8th-grade student to know before he/she could  be passed to the next grade.  A graduate of schools 100 years ago knew as much as most college graduates know today.

There is so much evidence of that really easily found.  My Daddy and my Mother only had seventh-grade educations. It was in 1932 that they were in school and we’re taught in a one room building along with all ages mixed together.  They were both equivelant to high school graduates today.  My Daddy could have been a mechanical engineer according to many things I saw him build by himself in his shop building.

I could go on and on at length, but I won’t.  Just look around yourself and see what changes you’ve seen. If they are not good, work your fanny off trying to get them changed.

God Bless You,
Spencer Plumley

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