Yearbook treasures

by Rosemary Ruffenach, 5/18/08 • While May brings thoughts of romance, garden improvements, new fishing gear, or surcease of the primary campaign season to most Minnesotans, for me this year it means the yearbook advising assignment. Now, until recently, I hadn’t paid much heed to these trophies. Back in high school, I made sure my senior photo displayed me to proper advantage and that I was pictured in at least one extra-curricular activity (journalism). I purchased a copy and stored it away; not even my own children have looked at it since. Continue Reading

Great-grandma’s fur coat

by Rosemary Ruffenach, 2/18/08 • As coats made from the pelts of animals go, it probably wasn’t that expensive; it wasn’t mink , beaver, sable or even fox. Rather it came from the sacrifice of brown rabbits, their pelts subsequently dyed black. I inherited it from an aunt three years ago, and until this winter, had only worn it for Christmas Eve service. Even wearing it once a year had elicited protests from my daughter, though she couldn’t threaten not to be seen with me on Christmas—that would be carrying PC too far.

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Two Saturdays

By Rosemary Ruffenach, February 2008 • Rosemary Writes • The lure of a fresh snowfall and reasonable temperatures was irresistible—finally. I hauled out my cross-country skis and began waxing. The last two winters had brought so little snow that my skis had been relegated to a dark corner of the basement to gather cobwebs. With Christmas festivities, work obligations and temps in the polar wax range (white), they remained sulking in the corner this season until that last Saturday in January.

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Waiting for an angelic visit

It was one of the best sermons I ever sat through—and counting myself as a ‘regular church-goer’, I’ve sat through a lot, most not memorable.

Looking out at the blowy snow on Sunday morning, I was tempted to just skip the service. But then I reminded myself that it was the fourth Sunday in Advent, and Advent is my favorite liturgical season. For me it’s all about Mary, maternity, and waiting.

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Class of 1968

1968. The year I grew up.

The November 19, 2007 edition of Newsweek commemorates the year 1968: “The Year that Changed Everything.” In one piece, Evan Thomas narrates “the worst week” of that lacerating year. It began on Sunday, March 31, when Martin Luther King told a packed crowd at the National Cathedral that building gigantic buildings kissing the skies was not enough. The God of history required more: “I was hungry and ye fed me not. I was naked and ye clothed me not…”

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Ancestors Dark and Light

My kids think I’m nuts on the subject of genealogy. They can’t imagine why I spend so much time doing family history research, never mind the money spent visiting Ireland and Austria and who knows how many future locales. I tell them that some day they will appreciate my quest for roots. They’re dubious.

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Why are we reading this?

“Why are we reading this?” demanded Eric. “Why are you asking?” I was tempted to retort. It was hardly as if he had more pressing demands on his time. Reminding myself that patience was the day’s watchword, I resisted an “I’m the teacher, that’s why!” retort. Instead I explained that during this week we were commemorating a very important event in our nation’s civil rights history: the fiftieth anniversary of the Little Rock Nine’s integration of Central High School.

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Fourth grade snots

As kids we used to jump rope on the school playground chanting, “First grade babies/ Second grade tots/ Third grade angels/ Fourth grade snots.” I couldn’t wait to become one of those snots. It sounded so, well, teenagie. I was thinking a lot about fourth grade after this week’s all-district school staff meeting. Usually they are ho-hum affairs. Continue Reading

Baku Wedding Tour

When I announced to my summer school students that I would be abandoning them for a trip to Baku, Azerbaijan, there was silence and blank looks. Were they displeased, pleased, neutral?

“Where’s that?” one finally asked.

Ah ha! They wanted to play Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? I offered clues. “It’s got a lot of oil, and British Petroleum just finished a new pipeline that runs from there to Europe.”

No one ventured a guess.

“It used to be part of the Soviet Union.”

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