Tag Archives: life lessons

happy 62nd birthday, twilight zone.


The Changing of the Guard – 1962 

(one of my favorite episodes of one of my favorite shows by one of my favorite writers, rod serling)


OPENING: Professor Ellis Fowler, a gentle, bookish guide to the young, who is about to discover that life still has certain surprises, and that the campus of the Rock Spring School for Boys lies on a direct path to another institution, commonly referred to as the Twilight Zone.

Professor Ellis Fowler is an elderly English literature teacher at the Rock Spring School, a boys’ prep school, who is forced into retirement after teaching for 51 years at the school. Looking through his old yearbooks and reminiscing about his former students, he becomes convinced that all of his lessons have been in vain and that he has accomplished nothing with his life.

Deeply depressed, he prepares to kill himself on the night of Christmas Eve next to a statue of the famous educator Horace Mann, with its quote “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” Before he can follow through, however, he is called back to his classroom by a phantom bell, where he is visited by ghosts of several boys who were his students, all dead, several of whom died heroically.

The boys tell him of how he inspired them to become better men, and the difference he made in their lives. One posthumously received the Medal of Honor for actions at Iwo Jima; another died of leukemia after exposure to X-rays during research into cancer treatments; another died at Pearl Harbor after saving 12 other men. All were inspired by Fowler’s teachings. Moved to tears, Fowler hears the phantom bell again, and his former pupils disappear. Now accepting of his retirement, content that his life is fuller for having enriched the lives of the boys, he listens to his current students caroling outside his home.

Closing: Professor Ellis Fowler, teacher, who discovered rather belatedly something of his own value. A very small scholastic lesson, from the campus of the Twilight Zone.



credits: imdb, twilight zone

unsung hero.


got a call from ‘h’ daughter number three

suddenly looking for solar eclipse glasses

we both called all of our possible sources

everyone was sold out


my last call

to the 7-11 store

right downtown

in the heart of the student area

the woman on the phone whispered

“the truck just came in with a shipment”

 felt like i was in a mob movie

this was magic to my ears

 the boys jumped barefoot into my car

we zoomed a few blocks to downtown

quickly pulled into an expired parking space

somewhat close to the store

(disclaimer: all of this was done safely, mom and dad,

so i’m not banned from future care taking)

just as i got out of my car

i spied a meter maid 3 cars ahead

intense and on a mission 

the boys would try to talk her out of it

if she wanted to ticket us

just then

the police arrived to have a discussion

with a group of people and their dogs

who had gathered across the street

enough to distract and delay the meter maid hopefully

ran to the store

and straight into a dead stop

right at the back of a giant line

of students ordering up grilled food

paying with change

moving slowly

apparently not needing to be anywhere

found a friendly worker

asked her if they still had the glasses

she was reluctant and nervous at first

looked around

over her shoulder

 said she could only sell me one

when i asked her

to please sell me a few more

the godfather/district manager

who happened to be in the store

 overheard and stepped in

giving her the nod/authorizing her

to sell me what i needed

she moved me up to her register

rang me up 

she was giggling and happy and smiling with the glasses in hand

my unsung hero

who worked small miracles on this day

i knew i had to sprint back to the car

but while i was in there

negotiating my deal

cement workers had arrived

and closed off the sidewalk

took a detour

made it to the car in time

with all the glasses i needed

no harm no foul

the stars had aligned

happy to have pulled off this caper

boys having learned some real life skills

 no ticket

so glad to have met a person

who went the extra mile to help

that i gave her a tip

and wrote her a haiku in gratitude.

hero haiku

here’s to you hero
big gulp lotto chips seller
you make people smile

 “for a true hero isn’t measured by the size of his strength,

but by the strength of his heart.”

(or her)

-zeus (from hercules)

big things i learned from my tiny kinders today while creating with them.



“this color smells like love.”


“if i put this red piece of tape here it might keep all of this stuff from falling off my plate.”

“the good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.”

-bertrand russell

holy toledo batman!!!




  life experiences, good, bad, and otherwise, during a whirlwind weekend, helping my  niece find a house to rent for her upcoming grad school stint in toledo, ohio.

  • even though it is located less than 1 hour away, it is in another state and i know nothing about the city except: it has an amazing minor league baseball team – the mud hens, has a great zoo, is known as ‘glass city’ for it’s artists, and is different than toledo, spain. 
  • even though it is pretty much a straight shot down the highway from where i live, i have an incredibly horrendous sense of direction, leading us to experience many other places along the way. niece casually asks if i have gps on my phone. 

–  ‘siri’ on my phone gets testy, and says, ‘i don’t know what you are asking, do you want me to look that up for you?’, and know we will have to sweet-talk her from here on out. 

–  our day begins in toledo with a stop at a local breakfast spot to meet a kind friend to give us neighborhood advice, and we get to choose between such selections as: ‘uncle moose’s manhandler’ and a ‘bounty of the sea’ breakfast crepe,  and you just know it is going to be a wonderful day. 

  • when the first house we look at and a woman who claims to be a local ‘realtor’ does the following: dresses as a burnt out drag queen, fishes into her ample cleavage to pull her purple cell phone out of her bra to take a call, says she ‘is not allowed’ to tell us how the neighborhood is, has to stay back to ‘reset the alarm’, and does not have any business cards, it is going to be a special day.

– when my niece, being from sweet, small towns in arizona begins to understand that we are in a city, and can base our ‘good and bad neighborhoods’ decision on how many people are out on the streets and not working, or perhaps making deals on the street, it will be a life-lesson kind of day.

  • when we decide to do ‘drive-bys’ of the many other potential homes, to eliminate those  not close to school or safe in any way, we eliminate the majority of them and stop for a break at a local coney spot. 
  • when the family-run coney spot waitress snaps and yells out, ‘i am not delivering any more food, i have to ring up at the register, he can damn well do it himself!,’ and yells at my niece to plug my phone in for a recharge under the table and we unplug their neon ‘open’ sign, it is the lunch experience of a lifetime. 
  • after the lunch experience we have 4 more places to look at, have a graduation party to attend back at home, and my car, ‘the red devil’ begins to get hot, it is a moment of truth. 
  • we find a random auto shop to check the red devil before she blows and the highlight of the day and our adventure continues. 
  • we pull into Toledo Motor Sports at 4154 Monroe Street, and the owner, ali, takes a look under the hood. he and his mechanic determine it will need some new heating and cooling thingamajigs. we are a captive audience, completely at their mercy at this point, and i can certainly appreciate their honesty and fair pricing. of course one part is located in a hard to get to, bizarre place in the car. the time estimate is 2 hours. 
  • as time winds on, we reschedule the rest of our appointments for the next day, visit with another customer, jump in and offer her my unsolicited auto repair advice, swap stories and 6 degrees of separation family connections, tell jokes, recharge my phone again, use their computer to look up addresses, laugh a lot, get neighborhood advice, share pictures, and we continue on that way all afternoon, as we find out more bad news about the car. even though we are treated like important business guests at an out of town marriott, you know it is going to be a long day.  4 hours later, after the very generous owner walks to a gas station to buy us water and a bag of junk food to sustain us, (we must appear quite sweaty and pathetic at this point), the red devil is ready to go back on the road again. we have found the best repair shop in the city and i would recommend them to anyone. 
  • we drive back and make it to the grad party and sleep for 12 hours.
  • day 2 and back to toledo – we meet incredible landlords, also honest and fair and generous. it is as if we have landed in a whole new housing market. 

– we see a random sign for a house on a pretty street and are met there by miss lillian, an 86 year old firecracker, dressed in flowered pants and full of life. this house is a jewel on a beautiful street, safe and calm and a bike ride to school. we do a 30 second drive by tour of the campus and it is lovely and the sun is shining.after we take care of 657 other details, like where are we going to get the money, we make a deal and head back to a surprise party that i’ve planned but will now be very late for. it has been a weekend filled many special moments. 


 where we spent our lovely spring afternoon in toledo, ohio – even the owner is laughing