Thursday, October 7, 2010


Stopping at Lio's for a pizza to take along.
Who doesn't love "Back to School" night? You get to see your child's "workplace" and hear how wonderful s/he is from the teacher. Oh, it's crowded and hot, and you wore a heavy sweater or coat, and it rained while you were waiting to get in the building, but it's all worth it.

So on Tuesday this week the Box and I drove out to see Cole and Chloe's school in New Brighton and let them show me around. Susanne was in Boston with Matthew, Marylee, and Ian, so I went alone. Papi got the kids all to himself!

It must seem strange to the kids to go back to their school at night. The whole place looks different then. What surprised me was the huge line that formed outside the main door until it was opened. It was encouraging to see all those kids and their parents.
Chloe shows off her desk.
First we looked at Chloe's kindergarten classroom, filled with all sorts of colorful teaching aids and kids' projects covering the walls. She showed us everything and posed prettily at her desk. Meanwhile, Sarah, quaking in her boots, approached the teacher to find out all about Chloe's faults and weaknesses. I stood back so I could call 911 if necessary. I did overhear something about the fifth grade teacher bringing her to her room (where she was supposed to be) one day before school. I wonder what she was up to... Chloe is bright and funny, fearless, and fashion-conscious. A regular girl!

Cole thinking.
Next we went to Cole's room, where pretty much the same scenario took place. Cole sat at this desk and put on his thinking cap, thinking deep thoughts as he posed for his picture. Again, I stayed away from the teacher, so I can only imagine what she had to say. I am pretty sure she was pleased with Coles' performance in reading and math. She probably wondered how Sarah could stand his fidgeting! I say it is because his brain is too big for his head.

We looked at the library and the cafeteria, where they were selling books and other school paraphernalia, including some sort of bear. I don't know what that was all about. I do know that they should have had more than one cashier, as the line was very long and moved very slowly. We skipped the book buying.

By then the kids were ready to head home, get a quick bath, and head off to bed. Early the next morning, I heard them moving around and rushed downstairs to say goodbye before they left for the day care where they stay until the school bus picks them up. Both of them were busy tying their shoes. It was the beginning of another long day for mom and kids alike.

The Box waiting for a donut.
I headed back to Harrisburg on the turnpike, but not before making a stop at famous Oram's Donuts. There I bought some original-recipe cream filled donuts with butter cream icing. Who could drive by without stopping? I swear I heard them calling my name. Unfortunately, the dinner plate sized cinnamon buns were all sold out.

When exiting the turnpike at Harrisburg, I turned south into nearby Highspire and then to the edge of Middletown, where I visited my friend Bob at his sickbed. Bob knows virtually every eatery in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. His many years of traveling for his state jobs led to an encyclopedic knowledge of Pennsylvania cuisine. (Unfortunately, this hunger for knowledge interfered with his official duties, and he accomplished virtually nothing during the many years he was paid. NOT.)

Upon tasting the donut I brought for Bob, he declared it "the best donut I have ever eaten." I had to agree. Of the more than 10,000 donuts (or is it 10,000 dozen?) I have eaten since 1946, Oram's is best!

 What October visit is complete without a hostess pumpkin?

 The turnpike wants you to stop texting.

 South Beach or Beaver Falls?

 Chloe looking quite at home in her classroom.

 Hmm, if I didn't know better, I would
think an ice cream truck came in the door!

 Sarah looks over Chloe's folder. Must be good news!

 Sarah waits patiently to meet Chloe's teacher.

 "Mrs. Darnley, you must be a wonderful
mother. Your daughter is so smart!"

 Chloe poses in front of the bulletin board.

 Cole shows a Hallowe'en spider.

 Mom stops to admire Cole's work.

 "Mrs. Darnley, you must be a wonderful
mother. Your son is so smart!"

 This is the core of the school. It is built
into a hill, so everything is up or down.

 Here's the main entrance to the school.

 The next morning, the kids tie their shoes 
in preparation for another day of learning.

 Approaching the turnpike exit, I spotted this giant
cloud of nuclear gas coming from Three Mile Island.

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