Popular Posts

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Bringing you newly updated questions and answers daily from extremely quirky and zany real people.

Dear Helga,

I am having a hard tim posting comments on facebook.

And when I do, no one will look at thim.

Any advis? Bringing you newly updated questions and answers daily from extremely quirky and zany real people.

Dear Helga,

I am having a hard tim posting comments on facebook.

And when I do, no one will look at thim.

Any advis?

Lisa In Alaska


Dear Lisa, apparently your problem is that you need to learn to spell.

Why don't you stay offline and take up reading your dictionary for a while?

That might be the best answer for now.


Dear Helga,

My boyfriend looks at other women and it is really making me upset!

What should I do?

Shirley in Seattle


Shirley, when is your boyfriend looking at other women?

Is it when he is with you?

Is it when he is looking at his phone?

Or is it when he is at his computer?

You need to be explicit in telling me but as for now, if I were you, I'd be looking at other men.


Dear Helga,

My parents want me to move out of the house! I am way upset. I don't want to leave but they are making me. What can I do?



First of all, Missy, I need to know more information.

Could you write back and tell me how old you are and if you have a job?

Reply back from Missy.

Dear Helga,

I had written to you about my parents making me move out of our house.

And I told you I was upset. I am 48 years old and work at a store.



Dear Missy. Move out now! For heavens sake, you are not 16 years old.

Get out and get a life. Your parents will love you for it. Oh and by the way, you are too old to be living with your parents. Get a grip!

Dear Helga,

I have this problem which I really don't want to write about but I have to.

I wrote a book and no one will read it! I spent forever writing it and am so hurt!



Dear Cindy: What is the name of your book? Maybe I have read it. If so, I could pass on some thoughts to you as to why no one will read it. Please write back and let me know the title of your book.

Reply from Cindy.

Dear Helga,

I had written to you about my book and the fact that no one will read it.

You asked for the title and here it is: "I Hate You!"



Dear Cindy [again,]

No wonder no one will read your book! What a horrible title.


Find something else to do as fast as you can.

Lisa In Alaska


Dear Lisa, apparently your problem is that you need to learn to spell.

Why don't you stay offline and take up reading your dictionary for a while?

That might be the best answer for now.

Sherry Hill

Friday, February 25, 2011


“Been There, Worn That—Hat!”

While watching an old movie the other day, something jogged my mind about the many hats I’ve worn up to this point in my lifetime. A lot of them were forced upon me to wear, whereas others were worn out of pride or pure fashion.

As a baby, I had the typical baby hats put on me: I don’t remember them but have seen the pictures. As a young dancing student at the age of three, I wore a “blue bird hat” and more strange hats connected to dancing for a long while. But around the age of five and onward, I definitely remember having to wear a beret and at Easter, the proverbial “girl” hat that every girl despised.

In grade school, I wore a Girl Scout hat with pride: back then, every girl in scouts got to wear the entire uniform, hat and all once a month to school. When I was in the sixth grade, I was a patrol and when we went to Washington, D.C. for the patrol parade, all girls and boys wore white sailor hats. I thought I was something marching down Pennsylvania Avenue---even if I was scared to death with thousands of kids all around me.

Back home that year, I remember getting my own “Davy Crockett” coonskin hat: I didn’t wear it to school but after school when all the kids in my St. Albans neighborhood wore them. Cool? Of course!

Junior high seems to have been hatless for me except for the dreaded Easter hat which was forced upon me yearly.

But ah, in high school, I definitely remember getting to choose my own hat: It was one of those feather creations that was like a big headband. The only difference was that the feathers curved right into your eyes. Didn’t matter if I could see well or not, I knew it was pure fashion and my girlfriends and I would wear them downtown knowing full-well that we caught attention. On my part, it was probably the stumbling around but no matter, I felt so fashionable.

Easters became much more pleasurable, as I got to choose my own hat and trust me, they were never small or pitiful: They were big and usually had a ton of flowers on them. It was the “thing” to wear at that time.

Forward to my first year at Marshall and I had to wear a hat which I despised probably more than the foisted-upon child Easter hat: It was a green beanie. The purpose of having freshmen, male or female, wear one was to stick out in the crowd and also to be picked upon by upper classmen. Luck was with me for I never got picked upon and was so thankful when my freshman year was over.

In my sophomore year and later, I wore a madras scarf tied around my head: It had to match my madras skirt. All girls were snared into this fashion trap but at that time, it seemed cool.

Jackie Kennedy’s pill box hat changed my mind drastically as it did every woman—young or old. And of course, I had my own pill box hat which made me feel glamourous. After all, Jackie was just that.

When the movie, “Love Story,” came out, I just had to have a crocheted toboggan like Ali McGraw who played the lead in that movie. All I can say about that hat was that it was warm but mashed my hair flatter than flat.

Although I became a teacher, I was still influenced by hats.

When I saw Debra Winger wearing a cowboy hat in “Urban Cowboy,” I just had to have one. And I remember wearing it while driving my sons around: luckily, my sons were young at that time or they would have been moritified. There was something about wearing that cowboy hat that seemed to make me feel more alive than anything I had worn in the past.

Maybe it was a break from the norm. Whatever it was, it was “Yahoo!!”

And yet during this period of motherhood and being a teacher, I wore a blue bandana tied around my head: It was knotted in the back. Why did I wear that? Because everyone else did; it wasn’t comfortable and like the “Ali McGraw Hat,” it mashed my hair flat. Course it did have its good points: If you had a bad hair day, the bandana worked wonders.

When I became a model first for the Diamond and later for Peck’s, I got to wear many different types of hats. Some were so special that I bought them and carried them along with me to my teaching job.

During the course of being a mother, I have worn many unseen hats, as all mothers have: A nurse hat, an arbitrator hat, a chef hat and on and on.

As a teacher, I wore basically the same unseen hats except for the chef hat: The cooks took care of that one for me.

I still love to wear hats and usually keep a stack in my car for summer or winter. But I have found that my eleven- year old granddaughter has worn my hats far more than I have, for she either looks for them in my house or my car. And as I used to do, she wears them with that flash of glamour. If you’re asking if one of them is a cowboy hat, yes it is.

Who doesn’t like to feel like “Yahoo!!”

The hat torch has been passed to yet another generation.

Luckily, she doesn’t have a horrid Easter hat foisted upon her as I did. And she has a choice of what type hat to wear---whenever.

But for a cowboy hat? Well, you never know because I still have mine. And when I put it on, I can scream and yet look semi-sane. Long live hats!!!!

This article was published in the Charleston Gazette [WV]

Thursday, February 24, 2011



Definition: On the Ides of March (or March 15), 44 B.C., Julius Caesar was assassinated, at the foot of a statue of Pompey where the Senate was meeting. And a soothsayer warned him prior by saying, “Beware the Ides of March!”

Obviously, Caesar disregarded the soothsayer’s words. One of Caesar’s best friends, Brutus, stabbed him many times; while Caesar was still breathing, his last words were, “Et tu Brute?” Those three words meant: “You too Brutus?” As many as sixty senate members helped in the killing of Caesar.

Down through two thousand years plus, The Ides of March has come to mean a day of being cautious for something bad may happen. Some believe that while others shrug off the notion.

I am not one of them for too many bad things have happened to me on March 15th every single year. You name it and it has happened. Once I fell down a long staircase and a friend was on the other side of the door: I could not get up for a long time. Another time, I had been feeling just fine the night before only to wake up with a high temperature and the flu.

And on and on went the terrible happenstances every year on The Ides of March! Of course when I was teaching, I had to go to work but was always fearful of what might happen. And as always, something would happen—trite or major and not in a good way either.

Last year, on March 15th, I opened up my front door to go outside: The weather was unusually warm and sunny. As I approached my sidewalk, I saw a man parked over from my house: He was in a truck. And he said, “Just stay there pretty girl!” I looked at him and he looked over towards me and repeated that again. No way was I going near him and so I just stood on the sidewalk wondering what he was doing. Several minutes later he left.

Curious me just had to go over past my car to see if he were parked down the hill. I looked down that direction and there was no truck. But when I started back towards my sidewalk, sitting right beside my car was a huge tan pit bull. Brain clicked in that the man was referring to the dog and my brain told me not to run for I knew that dog would pounce on me with incredible ferocity! Walking at a snail’s pace from my car to my front door seemed like it took days. My heart was ready to jump out of me. Somehow, I got inside and breathed a sigh of relief. And told myself that there was no way I was going to leave the house the entire day or night.

And I didn’t. But come the dark, a one-eyed possum appeared in my front yard: You just don’t see those all of the time. In fact, I’ve never seen a possum with one eye—ever. I saw him through my front locked storm door.

I hadn’t eaten dinner for frankly, I had forgotten about it with the pit bull and the possum and so I decided to fry a steak. And what would happen but the skillet caught on fire somehow [no doubt neglect on my part.] Grabbing the seared steak out of the smoking skillet, I managed to get the skillet into the sink and turn on the water. And then the smoke alarm went off!

After controlling the smoke alarm, I put the seared steak on a plate and put it in the refrigerator. And I went to bed having had no dinner but way too much excitement for the day—I just knew that it was going to be bad to begin with and it far exceeded my obvious expectations.

March 15th is not too far away. And trust me, you can be sure that I am not leaving my house, not going outside and no way cooking a steak. I am taking to my bed!

Sherry Hill

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


"Bread and Butter"

Several months ago, some neighbors invited me over for dinner. It was an unexpected treat as I sat down to a plate with stuffed peppers, mashed potatoes and green beans.

My neighbor's daughter went back into the kitchen and came out with a plate of buttered sliced bread and set it on the table.

Although I was engrossed with my stuffed peppers, I took one look at the buttered bread and so many memories flooded over me.

It had been ages since I'd eaten buttered bread with dinner, and yet it was on the table every night from the time I was a child well into my adult years, and my grown sons would serve sliced bread with butter for dinner nightly. But somehow, over the past few years, we've all switched to rolls, flat breads, or the like, instead of the basic staple of sliced buttered bread. And it's just not the same.

When I was little, the only time we had rolls was on Sundays or special occasions, and I continued that practice as an adult.

Bread has been a human staple for thousands of years, and it's available in so many forms. It's sad that the practice of removing fresh, sliced bread from its wrapper, buttering it, and serving it with dinner seems to have gone by the wayside. Is it simply not haute cuisine anymore?

Progress and commercialism has helped us in so many ways, yet sometimes we forget to appreciate the simplicity of certain foods. Don't get me wrong--I love trying new things and have enjoyed much haute cuisine in my life. But as I sat at my neighbor's dinner table, eating a slice of buttered bread, I savored how good something so basic could taste.

Bread is one of life's staples. Just as wonderful in its most humble forms as it can be as a gussied up dinner roll.

I'm grateful to my neighbors for reintroducing me to something that was such a longstanding part of my life, for reintroducing something I had been missing-simplicity.

This coming Thanksgiving, when everyone sits down to eat their big meal and give thanks for all that we have, let's not forget that it is the simple things in life for which we should be grateful.

Sherry Hill

This was published in the WV Gazette

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


About ten years ago, I was very sick with bronchitis; so sick that I could scarcely get out of bed. As the saying goes, “The weather outside was frightful” and it took its revenge upon me.

Days went by with my taking an antibiotic, smearing Vick’s Vapor Rub on my chest so I could breathe and burning up with a temperature and then freezing. If you’ve ever had bronchitis, you know it is not fun. Not fun at all.

When I was out of bed I could have been mistaken for Tim Conway in one of his skits with Carol Burnett: I walked just like he did, all bent over and trembling.

By the fourth day I knew I had to take a bath. Even though the sheer thought of it would equivocate to climbing Mount Everest, I managed to half walk and half crawl into the bathroom while thinking to myself that this was the right thing to do. In a crumpled form, I turned on the hot water and poured in way too much bubble bath and waited for the tub to fill up.

Meanwhile, I had forgotten that the newly put on tub surround was not glued very well to the tile; in fact, the surround was put up over a big hole that once had been tile covered. It was the farthest thought out of my mind and oh, I wish it hadn’t been.

By some spirit that seemed to move me, I placed one foot over the tub and then the other and got on my knees in the deep hot water that was full to the top with bubbles. There was no way I could sit down for I was in too much pain so I stayed in that position hanging onto the spigot for dear life while soaking in the bubbles.

Out of the corner of my left eye I saw something long and black slither down into the tub. Before I knew it, whatever it was, was slithering around the back of my legs and I was hysterical! I think I almost pulled the spigot off the wall attempting to get out of the tub while the black thing was slinking around in the bubbles. I screamed out to my then husband who thought I had gotten scalded: he came running in and I told him that there was a snake in the tub. He couldn’t see anything till this creature, that was submerged in the bubbles, reared its head and then its feet were visible: I knew then it wasn’t a snake but a lizard. Just the thought of that thing being in the bath with me sent me into fear overdrive for it had been all over the back of my legs.

My then husband told me to go in the kitchen and get a knife to kill the thing. There was no way I could even walk that far being so sick and also now freezing as I was dripping wet with a big towel around me. Eventually, he went and got the knife, jerked the lizard up out of the bubbly tub water and threw it into the bathroom sink. It lay there wriggling its feet and it was ghastly just to look at it. He cut up the lizard into a gazillion pieces and promptly picked them up and flushed them down the commode.

After drying off, I was back to my “Tim Conway” way of walking and somehow managed to get back into bed where I think I must have passed out from not being sick but from fear.

Days passed and I would not go into that bathroom: I even went so far as to put a towel under the shut door from the outside when I was alone. During those days I used the master bath for I had always heard that where there’s one lizard, there’s another.

Well, another did not appear but it took much longer for me to recover from bronchitis and lizard fear. I would strongly advise anyone is very sick to never take a bubble bath ever. You never know what might crawl into the tub with you and like me, you just might get the shock of your life.

In the summer, fall and spring I will not touch the ivy that surrounds my house for I know that lizards are lurking somewhere in there----just waiting to terrorize me all over again! Like “Adrian Monk,” I suffer from a phobia too only mine is not on his list. Mine is called “Lizarditis.” Thankfully, the tub surround has been long gone, new tile adorns the walls all around the tub area and at least if a lizard decides to enter the bathroom, it isn’t going to crawl down the wall.

And I don’t think about that specific incident until I start pouring bubble bath into the bath water----and then it all comes rushing back into my mind. Popeye said it best: “Shiver me timbers!” And no thank you, I don’t care for a lizard with my bath.

Sherry Hill



I go out many nights and stare at the stars

And search as hard as I can

For I am searching for what was

And what was can never be again.

It could have been if I let myself get engulfed again

In him but no, I did not want to let that happen.

He tried to take my very soul.

He tried to break me into a million pieces.

And he almost succeeded.

I often wonder if someone else is searching

At the very same time I am.

And I wonder if he knows that I have a lot to give

And a lot of me that is so wounded.

Sometimes I feel like a pair of scissors with one

Side missing—where is the other side?

I may never find it ever again.

It is hard to search with tears in your eyes

For it clouds up what might be right in front of you.

And you miss it.

The searching goes on but not as much as before

I have let myself slow down this search

And I know the reason why.

My heart was shattered and flung into a place

That is so deep I have quit looking.

I know it is still there for I feel it.

I know it is still there for it is still hurt.

And I know that there is another he

Who can fix it—for it needs fixed and put back

Like a jigsaw puzzle.

I can only hope that if he is looking at the same

Star at the very same time that he will find me.

Find me and stop my searching.

But beware that almost once my very soul was

Gone and retrieved.

And that trust is a fragile thing—fragile as tissue paper.

But if ever, I can be strong once again and end this

Quest for no one wants to keep on searching forever.

Sherry Hill

Monday, February 21, 2011


The Day That The Magician Did Me In!

The first birthday party that I remember was when I was five.

Since I had started dancing classes when I was three, I knew all of the girls in my class. And as my mother worked, my grandmother planned the party. It was held in the same room where we all took dancing. I remember that I had on a blue velvet dress [my birthday is in January] and had a blue velvet ribbon in my hair. But I sure was shocked to see a magician appear right before us!

All of us sat there spellbound. It was my very first time seeing a magician and my eyes must have burned holes in him. Hypnotized was I as I watched him take a pile of newspapers and proceed to cut them into a million strips. He then produced a large kettle and threw the strips of paper into it, covered it with a lid and waved his magic wand three times over that kettle. What was happening I wondered?

After that third waving of the wand, he took off the lid and pulled out a white rabbit! I was enthralled. I was in disbelief! How did he do that? Of course there was no way he was going to tell an audience of five year olds how he did this trick nor any adults present. He did several more not memorable tricks and then he left.

My birthday cake was brought out as well as drinks for everyone.

We ate, laughed and I opened my presents. And thought it was the best time ever—that is till I got back to my grandparents’ home.

That magician couldn’t be the only one to perform such a trick; I just knew it. Still dressed up but still reflecting on that trick and the rabbit, I got the newspaper and the scissors. My grandmother knew what I was up to but didn’t say a word. She went on cooking dinner pretending not to notice me. I cut strip after strip of paper and got her big kettle and lid [I knew where she kept it] and must have put tons of paper strips in the kettle.

I had no magic wand! What to do? I got a big wooden cooking spoon, waved it over the kettle that had on its lid and those tons of paper strips inside. Waved that spoon three times just like the magician had, took the lid off the kettle and…all I saw was paper strips!

My heart sunk. I go that sick in the gut feeling and just knew I had done something wrong. Where was the rabbit?

I repeated all of the above again, only to find those crummy paper strips and no rabbit. If my grandmother were looking, I didn’t notice for I was intent on producing a rabbit! And once again, I got that sick in the gut feeling and gave up.

I remember asking her why I couldn’t get a rabbit to come out of the kettle and she replied, “Guess you’ll just have to learn more magic!”

Well, I never did but by the time I was seven, I knew that the magician had tricked not only me but all of the other girls at that party. And he had done me in! I never did try any more magic tricks that involved cutting up paper strips ever in my life. But I have been known to “pull a few rabbits out of a hat” as a teacher and that was a lot easier than using a kettle!

Sherry Hill



2 pounds of ground chuck

1 pound of freshly ground pork [I use 1/4th]

1 egg

Cracker meal

½ cut up green pepper [save the other half for topping]


1 onion cut fine [or onion powder]



I dash of Worcestershire sauce

********* TOPPING: Ketchup for topping

3 pieces of uncooked bacon for topping

Other half of green pepper, sliced lengthwise for topping

Mix all of the above ingredients together adding enough cracker meal and milk to make the meatloaf firm. Put the meatloaf in a large baking pan [that has a cover] and pour about water around the meatloaf so that is about 1/4th the size of the meatloaf.

• TOPPING: Squeeze ketchup on top in rows, put on bacon and arrange the strips of green pepper into a flower shape.

• Cover the meatloaf and bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours, during which time pour off excess liquid and recover.

• After 2 hours of cooking, remove lid, again pour off excess liquid leaving some in and turn heat to 350 degrees for 30 minutes [or less] to brown the top of the meatloaf.

Remove the meatloaf from the pan and drippings.

And enjoy!

*I'm sure that this is not health-concious but it is an old southern recipe that never has failed me yet.


The darkness is gone. Disappeared. Seems like its absence crept upon us like a cat stalking a bird: quickly and quietly. And we did not even notice this event happening at such a fast pace. As I write late at night, it’s light outside. No, not natural light but man-made light: street lights and security lights illuminate the house like a cold winter night does when the moon is reflected on the snow. The house glows on all four sides. I blame society for this.

Fear and the fear of crime are the thieves who stole the darkness. And probably it will never return. We are afraid of it in these troubled times because of what we see and hear and read about. Yet, we need the darkness.

Longing in every person is a desire to hide in its cloak—to be enveloped in it so that we can become invisible to the outside world. It helps one to escape from the bluntness of life and it is a place to empty one’s soul and to think. A dark room can ease pain and suffering. A dark yard can let one gaze at the stars above and let the imagination go wild! Staring at darkness outside enables the viewer to see insects, owls, and other nocturnal animals. What will happen to them in the future? What will happen to the plants, flowers and trees that require darkness for a resting period? How can they live in twenty-four hour light? Will all become malformed? We will be ultimately be responsible for the “domino theory” that will affect the food chain—from the plants to the animals.

As a child, I shared a love-hate relationship with the darkness and I suppose that I still do.(Don’t get me wrong: I love daylight.) In the summers which seemed to be days of eternity, all of the neighborhood children would play either in yards or the sidewalk at night. We would play “Red light, green light,” catch lightning bugs or sit on porches and gaze up at the miracle of the millions of stars. And we would wonder. A thunderstorm in the darkness was scary but spectacular viewed from my grandparent’s front porch and I loved it—when they were with me. I hated the darkness in my bedroom at night: it made me see witches on the walls and turned familiar objects into unfamiliar and frightening ones. Nightlights were not common then. One had a choice: lights off or lights on and parents always made kids sleep in the pitch dark. And there were absolutely no security lights then: there wasn’t crime. We could sleep with our front door unlocked and not be afraid of criminals. Couples sat on front porches. Lovers sat in cars on dark streets hoping not to be seen. That was then. This is now.

Darkness is even gone inside the house. The kitchen is far from dark even with the lights off. The microwave, digital clocks as well as the television box all emit red or green lights that resemble the glow of a neon Christmas tree. Same for the bedroom—the clock emits the same glow. And the bathroom isn’t dark anymore either. The darkness is quickly leaving our houses as well. No doubt, it will disappear from them also.

To not have darkness also affects our pocketbooks. It cost money to use that much electricity that we are using inside and outside of our houses. We’ve come a long way from having just a Christmas tree shining through the front window to huge Halloween and Christmas light displays. And we pay the price: figuratively and literally.

The price is our lives. We all want to feel safe and we should be safe. But the darkness can hide us too. Light can make one visible when maybe one doesn’t want to be seen—not for criminal reasons but to be left alone. And we are quickly running out of places to be left alone. The light shows all—“The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.” The darkness is soothing and calming to the spirit.

What will happen in the future to earth’s inhabitants—people and animals? The people will become more enraged and angered due to lack of darkness’ comfort and the nocturnal animals, insects and birds will become extinct. And the plants and trees need a resting period. And we will be responsible. Crime and the fear of crime are the culprits. It was not prevalent when I was a child, My children knew the darkness and loved playing outside at night. My grandchildren are afraid. And now I fear it also, but miss it terribly. To people living in the city it has become a memory.

Laws must be turned around so that people can be safe. People control the laws and create them. Would it not be wonderful if the darkness could return? Without it imagination and creativity are going out the door.

Darkness softens. Darkness soothes. Darkness provides tranquility. Darkness is an avenue on which all people and animals need to travel. It’s strong and turns harsh objects into things of wonder (unless one is little and in his or her bedroom). It enables us to sleep and to dream.

In an age of computerized everything, there still must be one factor: intelligence. No doubt surveys have been made, numbers calculated and much data recorded. But the human soul can not be measured nor can inner peace. Intelligence can be measured. And the question is not really “Who stole the darkness?” but “Why did we let the darkness disappear?” Are we not intelligent enough to figure out the answer? Or, are we afraid of the answer?

“Sherlock Holmes” would be aghast! There would have been no “Arabian Nights” and Galileo would not have seen a thing had it been now instead of then. Robert Frost wrote in his poem “Stopping By The Woods On A Snowy Evening:” “The woods are lovely, dark and deep and I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep…”In these days the woods are aglow with security lights.

We cannot go back. But we need to observe our times and not let the darkness disappear.We want our children safe and our families to be safe. But to lose the darkness is to lose a major part of ourselves. Maybe this is how it is supposed to be—like one of those futuristic cities that one sees in the movies. Maybe this is how it will be. But every person should be able to live without fear and to have the darkness back as a part of our lives. It should not just be a memory.

Sherry Hill

Sunday, February 20, 2011


My older son's birthday is near the end of April. He's a grown man now but when he was seven, he wanted to have his birthday party outside. That idea seemed great to me for he had invited about twenty boys the same age as him and his younger brother would be there. Although I was teaching at the time and managing to keep thirty students in tow, there was nothing worse than having twenty-plus little boys inside the house!

The cake had been bought the day before the party as had the ice cream, paper plates, plastic cups and the usual birthday party things.

The day of his birthday party was a beautiful sunny and warm one. And the mothers or fathers of the boys,who had been invited, came dropping them off ; soon the front yard was full of little boys everywhere.
I had set up some tables out in the yard and on the carport, a friend [I was lucky to have had some reinforcement help!] and I nailed a big plastic "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" to the wall of the house.

The boys were playing the usual games that are played at birthday parties when all of a sudden a huge wind came blowing around: It was so windy that the "Donkey" blew down the street, never to be seen again.
Not only did the gutsy wind prevail but then came torrents of rain--it came down in sheets! What to do?
There was only one answer: Bring all of the boys, my sons included, and take them downstairs to the recroom. Picture the sight of twenty-two boys and two women in charge: It was mayhem! It was chaos!
Turning on the tv didn't help matters one bit. These boys wanted to party.

The cake, ice cream and all of the other things were taken downstairs by my girlfriend and me in shifts.
Then the "teacher-mode" struck me: I had to plan something to get these boys settled down.. But what?
My mind was in a whir till I remembered that there was an older boy who lived down the street: Not only was he a frequent visitor in my house but he also knew magic tricks! Thank heavens he answered the phone when I called him. He could sense my hysterics. And yes, he came up in the torrential rain and was loaded up with his things he used for the magic tricks.

When he and I went downstairs, I announced that he would be doing magic tricks. All of the little boys were wowed and when he started his magic tricks, a hush fell over the room. He had saved the day!
I don't think I had ever been so thankful in my life.

Every year on my older son's birthday, I think back to that time of chaos and a miracle.
As for the "donkey," he was never seen again as I had stated. I chose the above picture for I'm sure that's how that donkey felt. But he was released from the blindfold and the ropes and was flung into oblivion.

Sherry Hill

Picture from Parsons Family Design Studio


Irises are a thing of beauty. When they bloom they don't last long but oh what a sight to behold.
Every color just plain amazes me and when I see them, they make me think of not only that it's spring but also how fleeting their beauty truly is.

But there was a time when I hated irises believe it or not.
Maybe it was some childhood thing but way into my adult years, I simply couldn't stand them.
I remember a next door neighbor had a huge row of irises that always came up every year: They were purple and majestic. But I didn't see them as majestic at all. And I couldn't look at them for I found them disgusting.

Within the last fifteen years or so, I have developed a love affair with irises: I can't get enough of them.
They are planted all over areas in my yard. Isn't it odd that a simple flower can evoke one strong emotion and then completely make you change your mind?

I'll gladly welcome any irist that blooms! And no matter what the color, I will love seeing it bloom and stand there in all of its majesty. Should mine not bloom, I always no where I can get some really fast: Right down the hill from me where they grow unattended and unnoticed--but not by me!

Sherry Hill

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Over the years, I have come in contact with people from every walk of life--rich, poor, middle class and low class. What matters to me? None of those classes matters: What matters is how that person acts and treats others. And to me, uppity people are the worst whether they are rich or poor. Putting on airs or as some would call it "being fakey" is so pretentious! Really wealthy people or classy people [any class included here] do not put on airs.

About twenty years ago or more, I was getting ready to do a big style show in town: It was for a big cause that raised money for something here. Not only did I have to find the clothes and accessories to the women to model but also for me, for I had two roles--that of being the coordinator and also modeling an outfit. I was doing this show in conjunction with an organization I belonged to. And whenever we did these style shows, we charged a fee. The fee which was minimal was given back to the organization for usage.

 The woman in charge of the even bigger style show that combined about eight stores and a couple of organizations had contacted me. I told her about the price and she said that was fine. And "Oh," she said, " We will be serving finger foods afterwards, so please let the models know so that they can eat. We'd just love to share that with you." And so, we were a part of all of these stores who had models represented as well as their own speakers.

The day arrived and it was mid-summer, hot and humid. I had also asked some of my friends who were going to model if their daughters would like to be in the show; they did  and they were there--ready and waiting. As we all walked into this giant well-known building in town, there was a lovely table set up complete with flowers, drinks and finger foods. And behind the table was standing the woman with whom I had to talked to on the phone. She greeted me and handed me the check that I had to have and she was so uppity: She wanted to be so superior and she acted out her part well. The others proceeded to go on into the auditorium and I followed them.

Table after table was filled with elderly women, younger women and girls. And all of them were having their luncheon served.
We had to walk past them to the front of the room and go up steps behind the stage curtains: It was there that we had to change our clothes and be prepared for the show. Luckily, my friend was going to narrate. But a good friend of mine who owned a store in town, came running through those curtains and was hysterical! She couldn't stay for the show and would I coordinate her models as well? I told her I would and  the show went on...and on.

Somehow my friend who was narrating had the sharp wits to combine that store along with us.
The entire style show was a huge success for the audience was so appreciative. All of us had to wait till the audience cleared out before we could leave.
After everything was packed up, picked up and put away, I was the first to head to the main front doors where that table was set up.
None of us in my group or the store group hadn't eaten or drunk anything  prior to the start of the show.
You can imagine that after a two hour show and the talking, etc. how we were: We felt like we had been out in the desert.

The two young girls who had modeled for me ran to the table and asked for a drink. The uppity woman looked at them as if they had snakes in their hair! "Absolutely not!" she roared. A minute later, the mothers of those two girls descended upon the uppity woman and I can't write what they said. But the girls and their mothers went flying out the double doors and left.

And here I was with my friend, the narrator, and the models at the front table. Just as one woman reached for a plate on which to put some finger sandwiches, the uppity woman looked over at me and said, "Well!
Do you think that all of you can have food and drinks after you charged me to be in the show? Absolutely not!" I was plain out dumbfounded. Everyone left except my friend, the narrator and me; we were waiting on my then-husband to pick us up. As we approached the double doors to go outside, we could see that it was pouring down the rain in sheets. We were stuck in there for what seemed like an eternity. Meanwhile, I glanced back at the table where finger sandwiches and drinks still sat--that is till the uppity woman grabbed a huge cloth napkin and covered up a huge stack of sandwiches and shoved them into her huge pocketbook.
Oh but my eyes met hers. Caught! She looked like the cat that swallowed the canary. Tacky!
I said nothing.

When my then-husband arrived to pick up my friend and me, we dashed out into the rain, got in the car and had him take us to the quickest place he could find so that we could get something--anything--to drink. My friend and I told him what had happened and none of us could get over the uppity woman's behavior, much less her cramming food into her pocketbook.

If you think that I just let this go, I didn't. For the more I thought about it, the more furious I got: Not for me but for the little girls and the friends of mine who had done this for me and were met with her repugnance.
A week later I contacted the man for whom the luncheon had been held. He was the head of the organization. As I politely told him what the uppity woman had done, he was aghast. Of course, what could he do? The damage had already been done.

The uppity woman continued acting out her part for a long time in town. She might have had followers but she didn't impress me nor my friends. Besides being wealthy, she was a fake. And whenever I did see her off and on, I chose to ignore her. You don't have to be wealthy to have class or manners: It's not a requirement at all.  It is something that is learned.  Give me plain honest people any day for uppity people really get to me!

Sherry Hill
P.S. I do have some very wealthy friends. But if you were to meet them, you'd never know it for they don't  put on airs and don't act the part, thankfully. And I have middle class friends and poor class friends. All of them have class. You can't buy it!

If  you want to read another story written  about class check out my friend's posthttp://www.pegylu.com/2011/02/class.html?spref=fb


A Kentucky senior citizen drove his brand new Corvette convertible out of the dealership. Taking off down the road, he pushed it to 80 mph, enjoying the wind blowing through what little hair he had left.

"Amazing," he thought as he flew down I-75, pushing the pedal even more.

Looking in his rear view mirror, he saw a Kentucky State Trooper, blue lights flashing and siren blaring. He floored it to 100 mph, then 110, then 120. Suddenly he thought, "What am I doing? I'm too old for this!" and pulled over to await the trooper's arrival.

Pulling in behind him, the trooper got out of his vehicle and walked up to the Corvette. He looked at his watch, then said, "Sir, my shift ends in 30 minutes. Today is Friday. If you can give me a new reason for speeding--a reason I've never before heard -- I'll let you go."

The old gentleman paused then said: "Three years ago, my wife ran off with a Kentucky State Trooper. I thought you were bringing her back.

"Have a good day, Sir," replied the trooper.


And now we come to part three of what kids have said to me in my classroom: You know that this could be neverending but there will be a final destination--or will there be? As for now, enjoy!

*I had read the book, "The Boxcar Children," every year to my students. It was my favorite book when I was in grade school. And year after year, the kids hung onto every single word and loved that book.
One specific time after reading a chapter, I told the kids that when I was little, I could sleep out on my front porch all night with friends and no one bothered us. Told them I had seen hobos [they had no idea what they were,] and that I could actually drink water out of a creek. The kids were sitting there mesmorized until a little girl asked, "Was Ben Franklin alive when you were little?"
Oh my no

*It was February and if there is one month out of  the school year when kids get more excited than ever, it would have to be December. But February ruled--always.
Reason? Valentine's Day. And the ritual of passing out valentines always brought out the "love part" on behalf of the kids. I had this one boy who had a huge crush on me and it was evident!  And it was about a week before Valentine's Day that he came up to me during recess and said the following: "You know, my parents took me to the mall and we got you something you are really going to love! We got it at a place called "THE BRUSSELL SPROUT!"  "Brussel Sprout?" I asked. He said, That's the name of the place!" I knew the mall well [THIS WAS MORE THAN 20 YEARS AGO] and there was no store in there named that. All of a sudden it hit me! "Do you mean Russell Stover?" "That's it!," he said. I laughed the rest of the day to myself.
And called his parents to tell them this. They laughed till they cried. And sure enough, come Valentine's Day, I got a huge red heart-shaped box of chocolate candy from Russell Stover--and him.
And to this day he hasn't lived that down
Too cute!

*One day during reading class, I opted to read the week's story aloud to my class. They sat there really listening with intent. The story was about a mother who worked and she got transferred to another state.
And she had a little daughter about eight. When they got moved to the other state, the little girl was enrolled in a new school and the mother started her new job [there was no mention of the husband/father in this story]: The little girl came home after school, told her mother that she didn't like the school or kids and wanted to move back home. The mother told her that she didn't really like her job either but that both of them would eventually adjust. After a couple of weeks went by, the little girl adjusted but the mother just hated her new job. I stopped at this point and asked, "What could the mother do?" A girl in my class said,"Well, I can tell you what she can do! She can quit her job and go on WELFARE!" The rest of the class just sat there saying nothing. "What's welfare?" asked a boy. None of them knew what it was but I did!
So she proceeded to tell them.  I knew how she knew that word: Her dad was a lawyer! 
She became the owner of a very successful business
NoWELFARE for her!

*I had this brainstorm to show the kids during science class to bring in packets of yeast and some sugar: We  would do an experiment the nexd day that would wow them. "How many of you can bring in some yeast?" I asked. Everyone raised their hands till one boy asked, "What's yeast?" I went on to explain that yeast is really tiny little  live organisms that come in a packet at any grocery store in the dairy section.  And I told them that when these little organisms are added to a mixture that has sugar in it, the yeast will eat the sugar. And that yeast was used to make bread and told them that when they smelled freshly baked bread, it was the yeast that they were smelling. It was making that statement that a lot of hands went down really fast! That evening I got packets of yeast and a box of sugar at the store; next morning, here came several kids bringing in packets of yeast with the exception of one little girl who had been so determined to bring yeast. I looked at her and said, "What happened to the yeast you were going to bring?" I had my mom get my lunch out of the refrigerator and that YEAST was in there right beside it. I think it ate my lunch!" And she bought her lunch that day!
Things scare kids

*Kids love to sing! But when they are looking out of a book and singing as well, some had a hard time.
During music class, I told the kids to get out their music books and that someone could choose a song for us to sing. One little boy raised his hand and said, "Can I pick a song?" "Sure," I told him. They were all singing and so was I--until one boy said, "You sing like BOXCAR WILLIE!" I was mortified [although I know I have a low voice and lower when I sing] and quit singing. All of them knew who Boxcar Willie was!
Google his name and howl!
Silence can be a good thing

*Back to the above semi-blotched yeast/sugar science experiment: I got warm water and put it in a glass.
And I let some kids pour yeast into it [some kids went overboard and threw in the entire packet--not bad but more than one kid threw in packet!] and then I had another kid pour in sugar. And I stirred up this concoction to show them that the yeast would eat the sugar and it would foam up all over the glass and run down over it.  Experiment failed! Too much yeast! So we did this over and over till it finally worked: Big foam appeared and spilled out over the glass! SUCCESS! The kids were loving that. And the yeast smell was really strong. One boy said, "I know that smell! It's BEER. My dad drinks it day and night!"

*Every year, I had my students learn how to use a dictionary for not only was it important but it was a second grade skill that had to be taught. I started out by writing five words on the board and the page number for each; Each child had to look up the word, write the entire entry and put the page number down on paper. As the year progressed, the kids were up to the maximum of twenty words. And they hated doing Dictionary Skills! I well remember one boy asking, "Who made this book?" I answered, "PUBLISHERS."
And went on to say that the publishers had to look up every single word before putting them in this book.
That boy replied, "Well, I know what I am not going to be when I grow up! Not a publisher!!"
He didn't become one. He became a lawyer
Oh my

*I loved letting kids do PLAYS in my room when we were studying something that was relevant.
We were doing a unit on fairy tales and I asked them if they would like to do a play about "Rumplestilskin?"
They were wowed! And so I dragged in tons of hats, gloves, old coats, capes and on and on from my house. I asked the girls who would be in the play to bring in their own makeup. And I brought a brand new eyebrow pencil for making moustaches for the boys. We rehearsed and rehearsed and this was done without any props--such as the above-mentioned clothing and the makeup.
Came the day for the first presentation and the kids were beside themselves with excitement! The girls got their specific clothes and hats and went into the girls bathroom [supervised by a willing volunteer parent!] and the boys stayed with me along with the rest of the kids. Every single boy who was in the play wanted a moustache drawn on his face! And so I did. The play was hilarious! And it was almost lunch time. I told the girls to go in and change their clothes and the volunteer parent went with them.
And I  told the boys to go into the boys bathroom and wash off those eyebrown-drawn moustaches!
The girls and the boys came back and had minded what I said with the exception of the boys: Every single one of them were still sporting those moustaches! "Why didn't you wash those off?" I asked.
Each boy looked at each other and the bravest one said, "We want to look SEXY at lunch."
So, I let them wear those moustaches into the cafeteria and the minute the other kids saw them, they were howling with laughter. Lesson learned. Or was it?
What to do

Sherry Hill
Part Three

Friday, February 18, 2011


And so, there just has to be a part two for if you read part one, you knew that there were many more things I heard from my students over those many long years. Again, these were from second graders. Enjoy!

*My students and I were making a long long list of things that Columbus' crew would have taken with them on that first voyage. I had to explain that this happened way over six hundred years ago and they didn't have access to fast food or many things we have today. As I went on to explain this, I told the kids that during Columbus' time, people either drank water or wine. I could tell that they had their thinking hats on for they were all quiet. One boy said, "Well, they would have to take barrels of water and more barrels of wine with them." And so I wrote that down and asked how many? A lot was the answer. The boy who had spoken before said, "I'm not sure but I'm glad I didn't go on that ship with a bunch of drunks!"
Oh dear 

*If you knew me, you would know that I never wore the same thing to school for a couple of weeks. I just had to coordinate! One morning I had overslept, grabbed the first thing I could find and made it to school on time. As I was taking attendance, a girl in my class shouted out: "You wore that same outfit yesterday!"

*We were on a field trip to the airport in Charleston. At that time, we could also see the C130 huge aircrafts  and the kids got to go on one and check out all the gear with a supervised serviceman. All of were amazed but one boy more than others. I couldn't get him to come out of the carrier. Urging him to come out, for all were waiting, I told him that we had to go. "Where are we going? My mom's not here and I don't have my stuff!" I had to tell him that the only place we were going was back to school. He was heartbroken. "I'll just stay here and the guy can fly me back; I'll get there faster than you will!"

*I had taken my class on a trip the Valley Bell: The Valley Bell used to encourage teachers to bring their students to take a tour and always afterwards, each child received a real bell. [I still have several of mine!]
We went  upstairs and watched milk being moved from one huge container to another. Then we watched men making ice cream and the kids went wild. But when we got to the place where they were making cottage cheese [Does any  kid like that?,] one girl said, " That is the grossest stuff I've ever seen. Never ate it and now I know I won't in my whole life! It looks like it's alive--all shaky!" And her statement made all the rest of the kids gag right there. We couldn't get out of there fast enough!

*The worst times at school were the times when a kid threw up. All the kids would get gaggy and it never failed that someone else threw up too! Then we'd have to leave the room while the janitor came into our classroom with that bag of shaky reddish-stuff: He  would pour it all over the stuff. That smell permeated out into the hall where we were sitting on the floor and gasping for air. It made me sick as well. One boy who was holding his face blurted out, " I am never going to be a janitor and have to do that!" [I prayed that the janitor never got sick because I couldn't handle doing that either!]

*One day there was a substitute janitor and guess what?  Another kid in my classroom threw up all over the place. It was more than awful! I had a kid go and get the janitor [TOOK A LOT OF EXPLAINING WHERE HE MIGHT BE,] and in came this man with that familiar bag of shaky reddish-stuff. But before he threw it on the floor, he looked at me and the kids and screamed, "See what I have to do! This is what you have to do when you don't have an education. You have to clean up other people's messes!" They sat there like they had been frozen in place. I looked at this man with a discerning look and said, "You didn't need to say that did you?" He was never seen back at the school again.

*The school had a contest called "Pennies for Pasta:" It was sponsored by the Olive Garden [LOVE THAT PLACE] and the way the contest went was that the class with the most pennies won a free lunch at the Olive Garden. Guess what? My class won! Buses came to pick us up, we got to the restaurant, got seated and the waitress greeted us. And she started bringing breadsticks and the kids ate them. Then she brought more and more and more. The kids had been looking forward to a dinner of spaghetti [which would arrive late on] and were starved; now they were full of bread.  I saw one girl get up and go to the back of the room in which we were in; I went to her and asked her what was wrong and she replied, "That sure was a crappy lunch!" She never ate her spaghetti!

*One day a man walked into my room: He had on a two-piece turquoise silk outfit. Just seeing him was strange. He explained to me that he was the boyfriend of a boy's mother and yes, that boy was in my room.
The kids couldn't keep their eyes off of him and neither could I. And the man knew it too: He thought he was way swank! They kept staring and staring at him till finally a boy blurted out, "My mom has pajamas just like you have on!" Where could I hide?

*I always encouraged kids' parents to come to the classroom and share if they wanted to. One night I got a phone call from a girl's mother, whom I knew--but I didn't know enough! She said she'd like to come the next day and could we all meet in the library upstairs? Sure I told her and I invited my co-teacher and her class as well when she arrived the next day: The kids were sitting very quietly on the carpeted floor and my co-teacher and I were standing behind a big bookcase--but we could well see over it. The mother proceeded to pull up a huge burlap bag and set it on top of the very bookcase where we were standing. I looked at the bag and things were moving around in it! All of a sudden, she pulled out two huge snakes!
Said they were their family's pets and I ran out of the library. Meanwhile, the brave kids were interested and I could see them touching them and some even let them crawl all over them! [I HATE SNAKES!]
Always ask what a parent is bringing to school...

Sherry Hill
End of Part II


Any teacher or former teacher has heard so many things out of the mouths of kids that if all of us combined them into a book, that book would be as big as the earth.
The list I am writing is only a partial list for it would take me a long time to sit down and think what was said during thirty five years of teaching. I chose the above picture for it shows the innocence that my students used to have. And trust me when I say that, not all of them were angels either. But what came out of their mouths at times was so hilarious.  The following was said by second graders.

*I was teaching a unit about homes. And we talked about different types of homes. The next day, I brought in a book about Biltmore, the Vanderbilt castle in North Carolina. As I kept turning the pages, the kids were really interested in looking at the pictures. But all of the pictures in the book were in black and white. All of a sudden a boy said he had a question. He looked straight at me and said, "Were people gray back then?" Thought I would lose it. Had to explain that a long time ago there were only black and white photos but people were different colors just like we are. He still was confused.

*We had just seen the movie, The Wizard of Oz: I made a list of the characters and animals on the board.
The idea was to have the kids help me count how many of each. Things went well until we came to the flying monkeys. A boy raised his hand and said, "I know! Too many!" Had to agree plus when I was a kid, they scared me and no way did I want to count them either.

*I had given the kids chewing gum and told them that if the principal came into the room, to either keep the gum in their mouths or to spit it out and put it in a piece of paper. Lo and behold, right after I said that, in walked the principal! She had wanted to talk to me about something but I saw her eyes rest on one boy.
When I saw her glance, I was mortified for this boy had a giant wad of gum stuck right on top of his head!
I was guilty [she hated kids with gum] and he was plain out guilty. I asked him right there and then, "Why did you do that?" His reply: "I don't know!" Next day he came to school with the front top of his hair gone; his mother had to cut it off in a semi-circle. Oh my.

*One little girl was obsessed with checking my bracelets. She looked at them all of the time. I asked her what she was doing and she said, "I'm looking to see if you lost any stones." From then on, she became my  bracelet checker the rest of the year.

*One day I came in with my long hair pulled back into a ponytail. Kids watch and look at everything a teacher does. A little girl burst out, "Your hair doesn't look good that way!" A few minutes later, I took out the rubber band and my hair went every which way but loose. I heard her say, "Put your hair back in a ponytail. It looks awful!"

*I always wore high heels to school. Always. One girl at the first of school came up to me and said, "I know why your name is Mrs. Heels! It's because you wear high heels." I looked at her and said, "That is not my name.

*One morning during reading, an impatient boy rushed over to me. Said he didn't sleep well the night before. I asked him why and he replied, "My dad was out of town and my mom's boyfriend slept on the couch with her." I had to turn my head. And pray that none of the kids took that story home.

*It was in May of one year and so hot in the classroom. The kids were sweltering and so was I. One boy started to take off his shirt right there and then. I had to tell him that he couldn't do that in the classroom.
He said, "Why not? My mom does it!"

*We  were outside during recess and some kids were just sitting on a bench. One boy looked at me and asked, "Are you married?" I said yes and he said, "That's a shame. I was going to marry you. And so was my dad."

* One morning as I was putting the morning work on the board, an excited boy got out of his seat and came rushing up front to me. "Why are you putting all of that stuff on the board? I am too tired to do it!"

*I had one of those problem kids who wanted all the attention. He would distract, distract, distract! After several days of this, I told him that I would put him on a double dare: If he were good for a week, I'd take him to eat at a fast food restaurant [you could do that then] and he had a shock look. The week went by and he was as good as gold! And after asking his mother and my principal, I took him out to eat. "This is so cool!" he said. "I'm going to act up more so we can do this again."

*It was the first day of school. I was going over the rules of the room when a blonde haired boy raised his hand and said, "Can I move up front all by myself?" I asked him if something was wrong or if someone was bothering him. "Nope!," he said. "I just don't want to get in trouble."

*A little girl came up to me when everyone else was doing math. She got real close and whispered in my ear, "I hate math you know! Can I just sit here with you? That way I won't have to do it."

*I was checking to see who had their homework; all but two raised their hands. One girl said, "I had to go to church and then when we got home, I had to do other stuff." I told her that she could make it up and she was fine. But the other child, a boy, told me, " I just didn't want to do it!" I had to explain that he had to and that everyone else had except the girl. "Well, I'll think about it." He never made it out of second grade that year.

End of part one.

Sherry Hill