Friday, September 01, 2006

A Breath of Fresh Air

September 1

If you live in or near Fairhope you probably know the reference of today's title. A change in the weather! There is something awe inspiring about the day toward the end of summer in this part of the country when the humidity drops, the temperature hits the low 70's, and all the things you were thinking about doing seem to get easier. You want to go outside, you want to turn off the air conditioner, you want to make those phone calls, and, if you're me you actually want to prepare for that meeting and plan that party.

Today it happened serendipitally on the first day of September.

We know it's just a cool snap, and that this one won't last until noon, but it is worth it just to be reminded of how nice things can be.

And yesterday I met with a group of mothers at the Marietta Johnson School to inform them of the events planned for the rest of the year and the big year coming up, 2007, the hundredth anniversary of the first and longest-lived Progressive school in the U.S. (I may be wrong about that, if you count the John Dewey Lab School in Chicago; but I'm not sure he started his school before 1907, and anyway it has not purported to be Progressive for years. Our school always purported to be, but I must admit there have been years when it wavered from its mission.) That's a confusing sentence, but deal with it. I'm not in the mood to revise today. This is a day to barrel forward. While I'm at it, talking about longevity of schools, Dr. Maria Montessori did found her school in Rome in 1907, and I'm sure they will make some hay about that, as well they should. Mrs. Johnson's theory was more Progressive and less rigid, but the two women must have crossed paths; in fact, they sat on the same dais at an International Education conference in Europe in the 1920's.

You'll be happy to know that one of the events of our Centennial year will be Pancake Day, March 31. If you're in the area I hope you'll mark your calendar. There will also be a Clarence Darrow event, since in 1927 Darrow gave a speech in Fairhope for the benefit of the school. I understand Mr. Darrow (or a reasonable facsimile) will be on hand to commemorate the anniversary of that talk on a date in February.

There will be the usual activities, including folk dancing on the green at every event in which weather permits, and, by the week of Mrs. Johnson's birthday, there will be a huge reunion of all the classes for the last 100 years. I hope the new hotel is built by then, otherwise we'll have to build one.

In the meantime, we've got a lot of preparation to do. Luckily the weather is going our way.


Malcolm Campbell said...

When you awoke to the paper mill's 'perfume' you knew it would be a lovely, clear and cool day because the wind wouuld be from the northwest.
We were in Maine last week, where you can still get the pulpmill smell, and it still makes me feel nostalgic.

Finding Fair Hope said...

Well, I never knew anybody to miss that smell! But the day has been pretty nice in spite of it.

It's great to have a word from an emissary of Old Fairhope, too. Welcome to blogland, Malcolm!

oldphilosopher said...

I ain't smelled that papermill odor in nigh onto 20 years, Miss Finding. Wonder wher at you live!

the chrome nun said...

I live in Fairhope, and have lived here for the past 23 years. My son and daughter both went to Organic. My son graduated 8th grade there, and it was a wonderfilled experience. Sadly, by the time my daughter was going there, it had started to change, and I was not especially happy with the changes. I hope that there are enough people left in the area that remember what Mrs. Johnson really cared about, and that is the children and their own paths of learning through living.

I just discovered your blog (I just bought your book, "Meet Me at the Butterfly Tree")and I have bookmarked it so I can follow along with your daily musings. Thank you for telling our story.