Teacher Tuesday and the FOLK Magazine 2013 Journal Challenge: Inspiration and Reflection

This week’s journal challenge from FOLK Magazine asks us to flip through magazines, cookbooks, or an encyclopedia and reflect on the images or words that catch our attention.
My choice:  an old-school encyclopedia.  Letter A for April or Volume 2, Ameri (through) Assin.  As I remove the Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia (new in 1986) from the shelf, the delicious smell of old books kisses my nostrils.  I L.O.V.E. that smell.  The same one you get when you open an old library book.  Some say musty; I say romantic and timeless.
Okay, let’s open it.  I flip back to front.  There is a two-page relief map of Asia.  There’s the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic.  All one huge country.  Then there is the Kazakh S.S.R. and the Uzbek S.S.R., which are now Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.  I’m sure there are other differences; those two are the ones I notice right off.  I think of the people in those countries who have lived under oppression all their lives.  And we complain when McDonald’s doesn’t get our order right.

Flipping. . .

Arms Control, International.  A photo of a mushroom cloud caused by detonation of a nuclear bomb in the Nevada desert in September 1957.  That’s scary.  It’s a wonder we don’t have people my age walking around looking like aliens with random hands and toes growing out of weird places on their bodies.  I wonder how long it took the desert wildlife to return.  Or if it even has.  What a different world it was then.  Or maybe not.
Then there’s a photo of U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, among others in the United Nations, signing the nuclear test ban treaty of 1963.  Fifty years ago.  I was four.  And we’re all still here.  So it was a good thing, I suppose.
Flipping. . .
Animal behavior.  Appropriate after nuclear weapons.  Humans are animals, after all.  These guys look like my students when they thought I was talking about them to another teacher.  “Huh?”
Flipping. . .
Human anatomy.  American Indians.  I should look through my set of encyclopedias more often.  First, there is that wonderful smell. Then there is the perspective of another time and place, a snapshot of everything the encyclopedia publisher thought was pertinent to a person at the time of publication.  Even, perhaps everything they thought a person would ever want or need to know.  My, my, my.  How things have changed.
Yet,  I think I will hang on to this old set of “Funky” Wagnalls a little longer.  My grandchildren may want to see what the internet was like before computers.

By aencoker

Author, teacher, mom, grandmother, but most of all, Christian.

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