Notes from Jan

Elementary School Lessons for Grown-Ups

November 11, 2016

Back in elementary school to vote last Tuesday.  Veterans’ Memorial Elementary School, my polling place in Gloucester.

The PTA’s usual bake-sale table reminded me that the land of the free, includes gluten free and sugar free.

On the way out, I noticed the school’s mission, partially hidden by the American flag:

“All children and adults at Veterans’ Memorial  School are special.  We respect each other.  We know that everyone’s minds, feelings and bodies are important and we treat them with respect.  We believe in ourselves and work hard everyday to become stronger and smarter.  We feel proud and confident. We love to learn and we always will.  It is important for us to be honest, to care about each other, and to help everyone in our school to learn every day.”

Across the hall, the bulletin board displayed EVERYONE READS AT HOME: Moms, Dads, Kids, Aunts, Uncles, Grandpas, Brothers and  Sisters, and Grandmas.  Envelopes held Family Reading Logs..three choices, representing this diverse town in which I dwell happily: English, Espanol and Portugues.

“The land of the free and the home of the brave.”

This will be tested in the months ahead, as we who live in this country, adjust, resist, celebrate, or resent changes inherent in new leadership, especially following such a polarizing  political campaign.

Change unsettles..

In God We Trust.

Lets hope.

And pray.

Took out the Bible,  given to Jud and me by my Norwegian grandparents.  Inside, Bestemor inscribed their testimony from Psalm 48:14,”For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even unto death.”

Unfailing GPS.

Not everything’s up for rerouting.









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  • Reply Valerie McCoy November 11, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    “…unfailing GPS” for sure!! Love how you turn a phrase, Jan.

    While on vacation these 2 weeks Jan, I have thought of you alot; and in my times of reverie and silence I thanked God for your hands……hands that stroked the handsome face of your beloved Jud, hands that hold a cup o’ tea with your granddaughters, hands that read to your loved ones, hands that have always reached to anothers in pain, and hands that hold a pen to write sincere, poignant, everlasting comfort as they marinate in our hearts. Your missives, now filled with even deeper impact since Jud’s homegoing, are filled with longing, joy, challenge, appropriate sadness, and the greatest of these……love. They are perfect renderings of an artist’s brush- stroke with a pen. Thank you for being able to touch the deepest part of our murmerings.

  • Reply wendy lane November 11, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Holding on to that “unfailing GPS”! We all know that in the hardest times the “best” comes out of a lot of people. Hoping and praying and believing for that in the weeks, months and years ahead.

  • Reply Nancy Mering November 11, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    You and Gloucester Veterans Memorial Elementary School have given us such an important course correction and guide, Jan. Thanks so much for posting this for us. “This God is our God . . .” is one of my all-time favorite phrases for life. So much power and promise in five little words. An eternal, unfailing GPS, indeed. . .

  • Reply Nancy Sheys November 12, 2016 at 12:46 am

    What wonderful and uplifting reading challenges were given to both the children and parents of Gloucester Veterans Memorial Elementary School. My husband, my grown children and myself love to read. Since my days with my wonderful husband are becoming more difficult with each day, your quote from Psalms was quite fitting: “For this God is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even unto death.” My Love is failing after 56 years of marriage. After all of these years, we need no GPS. We are happy and complete just to be together. Sometimes your words hit me just right. Thank you, Jan!!!

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