Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Minds are a wonderful thing

I am in decompress mode right now. I finished my final for Algebra and didn't proofread it or even really care enough to take my time. I must have wanted to be done with mathematical terms just that bad. Even so, I got a B on the test with a couple of really dumb mistakes that I should have recognized and the rest, a few letters or numbers off in my calculations but so be it. I'm done.

Our discussion in the class this week is all about how we use math/algebra in everyday life. You know, what our parents and teachers always told us when we were young. There was one student who mentioned how much it will help her with her sewing and that got me to thinking.

When I was growing up, I spent many hours watching my mom and dad. Being the baby of the family I didn't have much else going on in my life....

My mom sewed A LOT when we were younger, you name it she sewed it. She still does on occasion but with age comes stiff joints and eyes that won't cooperate. She sure did love to do it. She worked on all my bridesmaid dresses, altered my wedding dress, made me a winter jacket that to this day she still remains very proud of, she made me a formal gown for a dance and something I still treasure, a quilt that's nothing but rags right now.

Once I moved out she made things for our kids--our oldest was fortunate enough to get a whole nursery set--blanket, sheets including fitted sheets, pillow covers, and a waterproof sheet, cloth diapers...she made them dresses that our second daughter wore thin, she made our third daughter a beautiful baptismal gown...our son, well, he got a stuffed puppy from her she made that he won't give up.

My father on the other hand was handy on so many levels. He fixed cars all the time in between truck routes, made repairs to the house. He remodeled our house... knocked out a wall, built a china cabinet, built docks, decks, sheds, and as he grew older took up the arts and crafts hobby. He made those little wood yard ornaments, some of which I have hanging around our yard. My mom painted them almost as fast as he made them but they didn't go to great lengths to sell them.

For our kids he built our daughter a little tray she could use when she was laid up in a cast, he made me a blue bird house, we have two benches in our dining room which were a one of the last things I think he ever made and something I cherish...There are pieces of both my parents all around me.

By the time my father died, he had a crippled finger and another was lopped off which I distinctly remember him asking Pat and I if we wanted a little extra meat for dinner that night. Ewwwwwww...and I believe I pretty much left the table as he laughed himself to tears.

But my point in all of this is how amazing it always was to me. Both my folks dropped out of school early. My father reached the ninth grade and my mom the fifth...it was more important back then to help around the farm or the house. Here's two people, who were self taught creating some really beautiful things and the only flaws were those their own eyes saw.

My mom coming home with patterns and a piece of fabric and studying that pattern for days or minutes...my dad with his tape measure and tools and that pen behind his ear as he worked out what it was he was going to do. The yardstick and big construction pencil......

All that they did required math of some sort. Things I couldn't figure out even after my classes unless I really tried hard and even then....I told this woman who talked about her sewing that if I told my mom she was actually doing college level algebra when she sewed her jaw would drop to the floor. I never thought of math as some complex tool and just assumed basic skills are those that we all used everyday with nary a thought.

I know, I sound like a student but hey, I am, what can I say. I just think it's really neat to think about how my parents and millions of others out there have been able to master skills above and beyond those couldn't do with pretty much no formal education. The human mind is an amazing thing if you really think about it.

1 comment:

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