That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.
– Aldous Huxley
Back in the 1980s, I was working in Atlanta and was somehow asked to “teach” a suburban high school English class for a day.
The 11th grade scholars of Gwinnett County’s Shiloh High were studying Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic The Scarlet Letter, so I prepared an insightful presentation – sure to promote discussion – about the symbolism used in this American classic: Hester and daughter Pearl, Dimmesdale and Chillingworth. (Dr. Cliff’s notes were invaluable.)
Although the teacher thanked me afterward, I noticed my lesson did not provoke much interest among the youngsters.
I thought of that last week when this same high school was in the news after a teacher got into trouble by asking a class to decide what sort of mascot the German Nazis would have in 1935.
My first reaction was why would you ask anyone to consider what sort of “mascot” a ruthless, death-dealing regime would have?
But … I noticed, three days later, I was still thinking about it. You know, weighing aspects, core beliefs, the social morays of the time. It was much more thought than anyone had put into my discussion of The Scarlet Letter.
I even came up with a mascot – The flying monkeys of the Wizard of Oz. Frightening, but ultimately defeated.
YOUR MAIL: Ed and Rose Kozinsky, of Waynesboro, share a postcard from Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands.
“The birds and sea lions are as docile as advertised,” they write. “You can walk right up to them. The tortoises are huge; bigger than wash tubs!”
Ralph McLain sends another card from the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. “What a wonderful place,” he writes. “Everyone should pay a visit to honor our servicemen.”
Allen and Glenda Hardin, of Thomson, were in Michigan. They saw the Detroit Tigers play (and lose) and visited the Motown Museum. They also sent a second card from Mackinac Island and slipped over to Toronto to see the Blue Jays. They are marking visits to baseball stadiums and all 50 states off their lists as they go.
Norman and Margaret Jewett Taylor, of Evans, sent a card from Memphis where they went to Stax Museum, Sun Studios, Mud Island, Bass pro-shops-Pyramid (“check that out!”), Beale Street, Schwab Drugs and, of course, Graceland. They also saw ducks at the Peabody Hotel.
TODAY’S JOKE: A motorist received a receipt from the police clerk for his traffic fine.
“And just what am I supposed to do with this?” He asked him sarcastically.
“Keep it,” the clerk said calmly. “When you collect two more, you get a bicycle.”
Reach Bill Kirby at email@example.com.