Remembering Our Ancestors

Many of you at The SEED have asked where Truett's name came from.  My maternal grandfather was named Truett Gibson Hull, and Yvonne and I liked the name for our child.  Unfortunately, he died when he was very young - just 38 years old, and I never met him.  From all the stories, it sounds like he was very intelligent, caring, and warm.  I wish I had met him.

I was very lucky to know his wife, my grandmother.  Lois Kirkpatrick was one of the smartest people I ever met, and she inspired me to continue learning throughout my life.  She read more than any person I know, and even though we had some political disagreements, I loved her very much.  She passed away in 2014, when I was in Boston, and I still think about her often.  Truett was never able to meet her, but I talk about her a lot.

On our trip to Colorado, we drove through Canyon, Texas, where my parents grew up and met.  It is a pretty small town south of Amarillo.  Both my grandparents are buried there, in a beautiful and peaceful place called Dreamland Cemetery.  On our way to our room in Amarillo, we stopped to visit.  We talked with Truett about who these people were and why they were special.  Of course, she was very sweet and almost seemed to understand how to behave in that place.  (She also loved all the flowers!)  I really want her to understand who these people were, and why they were and are still so important to us.

I was thinking about so many things during this visit.  I was really proud of my daughter, and it was a beautiful moment to share with my mom, too.  I was also thinking about my friends at The SEED, and I wanted to know your thoughts on some things.  I would love it if you would answer the questions in the comments.

1. Are there people that you have lost that were a big influence on you?

2.How do you remember them?  (For example, do you look at pictures, read letters, listen to specific music, sit and be quiet, go to a specific place, etc...)

3. For those of you with children, how do you help your kids "know" the important people who have passed away?

4. I know many people are unable to visit family frequently because they live very far away.  How do you help your kids establish relationships with people who do not live close by?   

I miss everyone, but I'm excited to hear from you!

Cameron and Truett
Salida, Colorado

Happy Birthday Nikki Giovanni!

Friends, today is the birthday of a wonderfully powerful poet and activist, Nikki Giovanni.  I learned about her work when I was studying to become an elementary school teacher.  She wrote a book called Rosa, about Rosa Parks.  You might recognize her name because she was a very important actor in the Civil Rights Movement, specifically for her resistance to racism in the public bus system.  We have this book in our class if you want to read it!  It's also beautifully illustrated.

Read the three poems below (A Summer of Love, My First Memory (of Librarians), and Crutches) and answer the questions.


Clouds float by on a summer sky
I hop scotch over to you
Rainbows arch from ground to gold
I climb over to you
Thunder grumbles, lightning tumbles
And I bounce over to you
Sun beams back and catches me
Smiling over at you


This is my first memory:
A big room with heavy wooden tables that sat on a creaky
wood floor
A line of green shades—bankers' lights—down the center
Heavy oak chairs that were too low or maybe I was simply
too short
For me to sit in and read
So my first book was always big
In the foyer up four steps a semi-circle desk presided
To the left side the card catalogue
On the right newspapers draped over what looked like
a quilt rack
Magazines face out from the wall
The welcoming smile of my librarian
The anticipation in my heart
All those books—another world—just waiting
At my fingertips. 


it's not the crutches we decry
it's the need to move forward
though we haven't the strength

women aren't allowed to need
so they develop rituals
since we all know working hands idle
the devil
women aren't supposed to be strong
so they develop social smiles
and secret drinking problems
and female lovers whom they never touch
except in dreams

men are supposed to be strong
so they have heart attacks
and develop other women
who don't know their weaknesses
and hide their fears
behind male lovers
whom they religiously touch
each saturday morning on the basketball court
it's considered a sign of health doncha know
that they take such good care
of their bodies


1. Which of the poems is most interesting to you?  Why?

2. Are there some new words in the poems?  Write a list of them.

3. Do you have any favorite lines in any of the poems?

Popcorn Fundraiser Feedback

At The SEED, we're always working to make every experience one that can contribute to our learning.  Through our practices, we learn both conventions and uses of the English language, but we also develop our understanding of leadership, collective action, democracy and leveraging our power to make positive change in our community.

Notes from our discussion after the first popcorn sale.

Notes from our discussion after the first popcorn sale.

After our first popcorn sale, using our wonderful new popcorn machine, we had a lot of ideas for doing better in our next sale.  We talked about clarifying schedules for the sale, thinking about smarter pricing, developing a way for teachers to place full class orders, and even the possibility of buying a second machine!  Of course, we won't be able to do everything, and we know we will never be perfect, but it feels great to have some experience to use as educative.