Tuesday, November 18, 2008

From the archives, Round Oak Table November 19, 1981

Faithful followers, you all know that this site exists because my mom was the ORIGINAL BLOGGER, back before it was even called Blogging. Back before Al Gore invented the internet. Heck, back before e-mail, eBay and YouTube (gasp!). Mom’s weekly column, “From the Round Oak Table” was a lovely little snapshot into our daily lives, and into Mom’s perspective on life. Many, many columns are devoted to political events, encouraging folks toward activism, and even an occasional rant (as we call them today) on people/the government/JPK (Dad)/her lovely children (not me of course) doing one stupid thing or another.

So on Friday, 11/21/08, I will have a very special post for you. I found Mom’s first column ever, and I’ll be posting it Friday… which happens to be the 34th anniversary of the date that first column was published, November 21, 1974. It’s delightful! It’s delicious! It’s de-lovely! Ooo, I digress, sorry. Check back in on Friday for this piece of ROT history.

In the meantime, here’s a quintessential MMK column, from November 19, 1981. Mom talks about her favorite subject, me (just kidding sisters… I know Mom loves you too!), praises our local post office, the recession (THAT one, not THIS one), and offers some great advice on how to dress stylishly without breaking the bank… although the folks at LaCoste might not appreciate it.

As a side note, Mom’s columns often give me insight into things I never knew about her and Dad. There is also a bit in this column about the prison coming to our town. The facility had previously been a juvenile facility for girls, and was later converted into an adult prison. Now in my memory, the prison was not a bad thing, and in fact Dad and Mom volunteered many hours of ministry to the residents there. However, I never knew until exactly today that Mom actually opposed it, initially. I would like to point out that she did not oppose the prison on “not-in-my-backyard” grounds, but rather took the position that more services should be available for youth, to prevent the need for more adult facilities. Good position Mom, I’m proud of you for that one!


Without further ado, ROT Nov 19, 1981:

From the Round Oak Table
November 19, 1981

In an effort to understand
big numbers, the sixth grade
math class taught by Mrs.
Ruth Kerby, Mitchellville Elementary,
is collecting pop
bottle caps. Earlier in the year
the goal was 1,000,000 caps.
That has been shaved to
10,000 which is still quite a
lofty number. At this time
they have approximately 2,000
caps. It was Katie's turn to
count bottle caps the other
night and she involved the
whole family. Two thousand
caps weigh about 12 pounds
and fill a large grocery bag
about three-quarters full. Anyone
interested in contributing
to this math project should
contact a student in Mrs.
Kerby's class.
If you want overnight service
on first class mail, bring it
to Mitchellville. I recently
mailed a letter to Norwalk at
4:45 p.m. one day and it had
arrived at that destination by
10:00 a.m. the next day. In
contrast my folks, who live on
the west side of Des Moines,
were still waiting on Saturday
for a letter that had been
mailed Wednesday from a
friend on the east side of Des
Moines. Perhaps the river was
too high and couldn't be
forded last week . . . I don't
know. Anyhoo, our local P.O.
personnel deserve thanks for
efficient service.
Why a little alligator emblem
sewn on a shirt is so
"necessary" is beyond most
of us, since the cost of these
shirts is so prohibitive to the
ordinary family's budget. But
a group of enterprising young
people have found a way to
beat the cost. They discovered
that a pair of Izod socks is only
$3.00 and each pair sports one
alligator. By carefully removing
that alligator it can be
sewn on a discount store shirt
and thus one has a "preppie,"
"in" shirt at half the cost.
Now who said teens aren't
enterprising and imaginative?
It's hard to believe that this
country is in a recession and
times are hard when a major
department store advertises
women's blouses at $100 and
up. That is scandalous, hard
times or not. In the good old
days, J. C. Penney's in
downtown Des Moines was
the best place to buy blouses.
For $3.00 apiece we could
have an oxford cloth shirt for
every day in the week and if
we really wanted something
special, then $5.00 was the
going rate. By the way, this is
an excellent time to clothes
shop — some stores are
practically giving things away.
But as Katie said on a recent
mall trip as we scoured
through clearance racks
“I can see why these things are
on clearance and I hope
somebody named Clarence
comes along and buys them —
I wouldn't."
Governor Ray gave the best
argument in the world for
maintaining Mitchellville
Training School as a juvenile
facility. In a speech at a crime
conference he cited statistics
showing juveniles were involved
in a large amount of the
crimes committed in this
state. He didn't go far enough
and suggest ways to prevent
these juveniles, from becoming
adult offenders. Certainly closing
Mitchellville and turning it
into an adult facility doesn't
make a lot of sense to some of
us. Why not expand efforts for
kids instead of cutting? It was
nice of the Legislature to set
up a Commission to study the
best use of our facility; it was
nice of the Commission to
study the problem and listen
to citizens, but many of us feel
the futility of the whole effort.
We know that individual legislators
will still coerce and
bargain to protect their own
turf, disregarding what might
be best for the state as a
whole. It will take legislators
with vision to see things
long-range and do something
positive about juvenile criminals
becoming adult criminals/
Did you ever feel that
Iowa's criminal justice system
is similar to the dog that
chased its tail around in a
The big trouble with people
who believe only half they
hear — is that they usually
believe the wrong half.


DiPaola Momma said...

Stopped by from SITS BUT I must say that I'm hooked with the whole Al Gore dig.. so funny, not many people would get that, and that is so sad! I'll be stopping back by.

Pink Ink said...

How wonderful for you!! To have your mom's thoughts distilled in a collection like that.

I freelance, too, and I let my kids read my stuff once in a while. I feel a lot of satisfaction seeing my oldest (she's 13) seem to have a dawn of understanding on her face after reading an essay I've written.

I think writing essays on a regular basis about your family makes one appreciate them more...it does that for me.

Glad you came by my blog today :-)