Week 18

Last week was so busy!  The last two or three months of each school year are always insanely busy.  I think I’ve finally hit that point where I won’t be blogging for a few weeks until all this craziness is over.  I’m proud of the fact that this year I’ve been able to hold off the “no blogging” streak for a month to month and a half longer than normal.  I’m going to cut myself some slack and not have a schedule for the next three weeks or so.  I will blog when I can and I will try to tell a very short story and/or photograph on Sunday rather than provide a schedule.  Hopefully in a month or so I’ll be able to tell some of the stories that were put on hold (like John BATES’ final years).  For now, I’m going to back off because I think any schedule at this point would be too much.

Today’s short story is about one of the earliest tenants at Jasper County Alms House (the “poor farm”) in Carthage, Jasper County, Missouri.  While I was at Joplin researching a couple of weeks ago I spent most of my time looking through a book containing a list of people who stayed there.  One of my strongest thoughts when going through this book was how many of the children who came there ever made it back to their families?  How did they get separated?  What happened when they left there?  I had so many questions.  I’ve found that there isn’t much information online about a lot of the children that came to the home.  For many of them I can’t even find out who their original families were.

The first person on the list was Clarissa YOAS.  Clarissa was born 157 years ago.  She was 14 years old when she was admitted to the alms house in 1875.  She (or whomever brought her there) gave her birth year as 1861 and her birth state as Pennsylvania.  She was single.   Later in the book there is another entry for Clarissa.  It said she was the daughter of Henry YOAS.  She died on 30 December 1942 and was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Galena, Cherokee County, Kansas.  No other family members were admitted with Clarissa.  If she was born in Pennsylvania, how did she get to Missouri?  She had to come with someone.  Why did they leave her at the Alms House?  Did she have any family left?  Do her descendants know about what happened to her?  Does she even have any direct descendants?  So many questions!  So I did a quick search on Ancestry.com, Google, and Newspapers.com for Clarissa.

The majority of records that Clarissa appeared on were census records.  Other than those records, I found her in the alms house record and I found her death certificate.  There were no newspaper articles about her that I could find.  Clarissa’s surname was spelled a variety of ways (YOAS, YOES, YOSE, and YOOS).  Her first name was written as Clarissa, Clarisa, and Clara.  Although the alms house record, death certificate, and some of the census records gave her birth year as 1861, at least one census gave her birth year as 1857 and another as 1851.  Her birth state never varied- it was always Pennsylvania.  Clarissa never married.  She remained at the alms house from age 14 to the end of her life at age 81.  If she ever had a child, it was not recorded in the alms house record and is not in any record I could locate on Ancestry.com.

In the 1880 census, Clarissa was marked as being “idiotic” which would explain her presence at the alms house and would also explain why she never left.  In 1880, the definition of “idiotic” for purposes of the federal census was, “a person the development of whose mental faculties were arrested in infancy or childhood before coming to maturity”.  Additional information found on Genealogy.com about this subject says, “a number of known disabilities would have fallen under this category, including Downs Syndrome”.   Clarissa was also marked as a pauper on this census.  It is interesting to note that in 1880 just across the state line in Lowell, Garden Township, Cherokee County, Kansas (only 5 miles from where Clarissa was buried) is another YOAS family with a son, Francis YOAS, who is listed as “insane”.  He was born in Ohio in 1863.

The alms house went through a number of superintendents in the 67 years that Clarissa lived there.  The earliest superintendent was Benjamin HAMMER along with his wife, Tennie.  In 1900, it was James NALL and his wife, Laura.    In 1910, I couldn’t find Clarissa (nor could I find anyone else I expected to find living at the alms house).  In 1920 George W. MAXWELL was superintendent.  Jud HOWELL and his wife Eva managed the alms house in 1930.  The final available census is 1940.  It was unclear who was managing the alms house in 1940.  In the 1940 census, Clarissa declared she worked 4 hours a week.  At the poor farms, every individual worked at a certain job and the job was tailored to what the individual was able to do.  One additional thing I noticed in these census records is that people living at the poor farm were called “inmates”.

On 30 December 1942, Clarissa died.  Her cause of death was listed as Senility.  Her body was held for 13 months- possibly so family could claim her body if there were any family.  Her death certificate listed her dad as Henry YOAS but did not list her mother.  Clarissa was buried on 31 January 1943 at Oak Hill Cemetery in Galena, Cherokee County, Kansas.

clarissa yoas death cert

I’ve been unable to figure out who Clarissa’s parents and other family members were.  There are several families that I suspect are either parents or are closely related to Clarissa.  The family whose son was “insane” is one of the families I feel is closely related to Clarissa.  They are buried in a cemetery a few miles away from Clarissa (except for the “insane” son who ended up in an insane asylum and is buried in that asylum’s burial ground in Osawatomie, Kansas).  That family is Ernst and Lucy YOAS’ family.  They could be Clarissa’s parents but I don’t think so.  I think Clarissa’s parents may be Henry and Elizabeth YOAS.  Another possibility for her parents are Georg Heinrich and Elizabeth YOAS.  I have messaged a person on Ancestry.com who I think may be able to answer some of my questions about Clarissa.  If I hear back from her I’ll let you know.

Until then,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog






Week 17 Blog Schedule Plus Updates!


I’m going to put this week’s blog schedule right up at the top so that I can get into the updates down below.  If you’re here just for this week’s blog schedule you won’t need to read the updates that way.  The updates are for Bart’s paternal family, and my paternal AND maternal families. 

The schedule for this week is:

Monday:  On 23 April 1874, Bart’s paternal great grandfather, George PAGE, was born.  On Monday we’ll celebrate his life.

Wednesday:  On 25 April 1867, my paternal 3rd great grandparents, Quincy and Elizabeth Emoline (STEPHENSON) BELL, were married.  I’ll be blogging about them on this anniversary date.


This past week I took a day off from work and went to Joplin, Missouri to visit Bart.  He is working there right now and since we both have family from that area, I thought I would go and do some research while he was at work and then visit him in the evenings.  I spent a few hours in the Joplin Public Library on Friday.  I only looked at 3 books but I think I found one of Bart’s relatives in a book entitled, Mine Accidents and Deaths, Jasper County, Missouri, 1868-1906.  If it pans out, I’ll be sure to include a post about it here on the blog.  After the library, I pulled up one of my old blog posts (Small Town- David Alexander Cawyer and Mary S. Case (and Paralee and Emma) and decided to drive to as many of the addresses as I could find from that post.  The map shows the addresses to be close together but driving those short distances really brought home the fact that David lived in a very small area.  I was able to drive to four of the home sites: 218 St. Louis, which connected to 203 St. Charles which connected to 209 Highland and then 1511 Hill St was a few blocks over.  The homes in the area that haven’t had siding put on (or been renovated) show their age.  This seems to be a really old area of town.  The area lies to the West of Northpark Mall.  I also drove around some of the Villa Heights area but I had no exact address for where David lived in Villa Heights.  It was interesting to see the places for myself.  I’m including photos below. 

Above is where I think the Saint Louis street location is. It’s an empty lot right now.

Above is the Highland Street address. It looks like they removed the large tree that was hiding the house when Google last photographed it.

The above two images are of the intersection where the Saint Charles Street home used to stand. Ginger was checking out the walkers. 🙂

The Hill Street home burned down a few years ago and nothing has been rebuilt there.

The Villa Heights area is bounded on one side by 7th Street.

You know you’re in the right area because Villa Heights Christian Church still exists. I’m not sure if this area is marked on current maps but you can find it on historical maps.

Before leaving the area, I visited the closest cemetery, Ozark Memorial Park Cemetery.  I drove around a while but the cemetery is huge.  I gave up and went to the office but it was locked up.

On Saturday, I went to the cemeteries to decorate some of the graves.  I first went out to Reeds, Jasper County, Missouri to Reeds Cemetery.  I decorated the graves of my paternal 3rd great grandfather Jehue BAKER and his second wife, Lillie (LOWERY) BAKER.  My most recent post about Jehue is here.   

Next, I traveled to Peace Church Cemetery- a very old cemetery in Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri.  It’s on the Northeast side of Joplin.  The last time I went was at least 10 years ago and it was very overgrown.  Only a small portion of the cemetery was viewable at that time.  At that time, my mom and I were unable to locate the grave of my maternal 2nd great grandmother, Lucinda (DOW) ALBIN GIBSON JONES GATEWOOD.  Lucinda was the first person I blogged about when I decided to blog more consistently.  You can see that post on the old blog section at Livejournal here

I was surprised that when I arrived on Saturday there was a crew of about 20 or so people cleaning up the cemetery.  There was quite a bit more of the cemetery that was viewable this time as compared to when my mom and I came previously.  I was able to speak with the husband and wife- Jim and Kay BEELER- who organize clean up of the cemetery.  I still didn’t find Lucinda’s grave but I did learn about their clean up efforts and appreciate their doing it.  While there I photographed a young man- Aiden EVANS- who was helping to clean up the cemetery.  He told me he is responsible for cleaning the area where his EVANS ancestors are buried and he showed me a few graves right behind me that he said were his people.  I met his mom, Vonn EVANS, and she told me about their efforts and gave me permission to use Aiden’s photo on the blog.  While I was there someone from a media outlet was there to interview Jim BEELER about the clean up efforts.  I was glad to see them getting some publicity.  In case any of them decide to search for this blog post and read it, I want to say to them- THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

I wish I would have checked my photo of Aiden before leaving. I didn’t realize his eyes were closed. Aiden’s a good kid. I’m proud of him for helping out!

Above is Jim Beeler being interviewed. I didn’t ask anyone to spell their names so I hope I haven’t gotten the names misspelled too badly!

The next stop was Ozark Memorial Park Cemetery.  Their office was still closed and the so I figured I would call them this week and see if they have a list of burials. 

The final cemetery stop was Forest Park Cemetery.  I placed flowers on the graves of James and Martha (my maternal 3rd great uncle and aunt- the son & daughter-in-law of Charles George and Synthia Arrena (FOSTER) SEELY.  James went by Frank and his nephew was Preston SEELY.  I wrote a blog series about Press and it is still one of my favorites.  If you have time, go read about the duel he had with William PETTY over a girl.  The series is entitled “Jealousy and Bad Whiskey, OR Don’t Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight”.  You can find the first post in that series here.  

I only decorated one grave at Forest Park because I ran out of time.  I’ll have to get the others on another day.   For now, I have other things that need to get done.

Until tomorrow,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog.

Belgium Calling…

This week I’m trying to ease back into blogging after a couple of busy weeks.  I’ve had a couple of stories sitting on the back burner waiting on their turn so I’m telling those this week.  (Actually, I have a BUNCH on the back burner!  I’m hoping the summer is less busy so I can get those written and pushed out to you all!)  Today I want to tell you about a sweet person I “met” via email last month.  This guy’s kindness really moved me.

Around the middle of March, I received an email from a man named Koen BOLCKMANS.  Koen lives in Belgium.  This guy is awesome!  Here’s his pic:


So, that’s Koen.  He’s pretty amazing.  That gravestone he’s kneeling next to?  That’s our family.  Let me tell you the story.

I’ve heard that many Europeans adopt the graves of American servicemen (sometimes for that person’s lifetime and then they leave care of the grave to a relative to care for when they’re gone).  I didn’t know anyone who did this but I’d heard stories.  I couldn’t have told you if the stories were true or not but it was a nice “feel good” story.  Then Koen emailed me.  For the last 23 years (plus a little) he’s been taking care of this grave.  The man buried in the grave is Henry CONN- the son of Daniel and Myrtle (BAKER) CONN.  Myrtle was the sister of Mary Anne BAKER.  Mary Anne was married to Ervin Alonzo (“Poppy”) DRAKE and the two of them were my paternal 2nd great grandparents.  Henry CONN is buried at the American War Cemetery in Henri-Chapelle, Belgium.  Henry was a Private in 78th Lightning Infantry Division, 311th Regiment, Company G.


Koen told me that he’s tried to research Henry.  (Just a note: he’s done more than try! He knew a lot about Henry before he ever contacted me!)  Koen said Henry was killed in action on the second day of the assault on Kesternich, Germany inside the village clearing houses on 31 January 1945- the same day Henry’s brother, Ernest, turned 26.  Koen sent me a link to Henry’s online memorial.  I encourage you to go visit it at the Fields of Honor database.  Like I said, I have always heard that Europeans adopted the graves of American service men who died overseas.  I just never thought about them caring for one of our family members.  I think Koen is doing a fabulous job, don’t you?  I do need to mention that his friend, Astrid van Erp, helps him with this endeavor.  Astrid had asked a question on a public forum that I answered prior to Koen’s email so I actually “met” Astrid first.

Henry Aubrey CONN was born 23 July 1914 in Reeds, Jasper County, Missouri.  His parents were Daniel and Myrtle (BAKER) CONN.  Henry was the fourth of six children born to Daniel and Myrtle.

In 1922, when Henry was 7 years old, he wrote a letter to Santa that was published in the Galena, Kansas newspaper:

dear santa letter henry conn week 16

I have had a lot of trouble following the family through the census records but I do know that in 1925, the family was living in Lafayette, Chautauqua County, Kansas.  In 1925, Henry was 10 years old.  He was not attending school and he couldn’t read or write.

On 19 April 1940 when the census enumerator (Benjamin RYBURN) came to the CONN home, the family was living in Beaty, Delaware County, Oklahoma.  Henry was single, still living with his parents, and was working as a mechanic’s helper at a local garage.  In October of that same year he completed his draft card.  He listed his residence at that time as San Leandro, Alameda County, California.  There are several issues with the draft card.  Henry originally listed an Oakland, California address.  That was crossed out in 1941 and the San Leandro address was typed in.  He listed his mom as living in South West City, McDonald County, Missouri.  This is only a small discrepancy because the Beaty area of Delaware County, Oklahoma connects to South West City, McDonald County, Missouri.  Apparently the discrepancy between San Leandro, California and Oakland, California is also minor.  Henry did state that he worked in Oakland for a man named Billy Rose.

henry conn draft card week 16

Just over a year later, in November of 1941, Henry enlisted in the Army and eventually went to war in the European theatre in World War II.

henry conn draft notice week 16

He went missing on his brother Ernest’s birthday – 31 January 1945.  Henry was 31 years old when he went missing.  According to Koen, Henry was “killed in action on the second day of the assault on Kesternich, Germany, inside the village clearing houses on 31 January 1945.”  Henry was awarded the Purple Heart.  He was buried in American War Cemetery in Henri-Chapelle, Belgium.  Koen provided me with this news article giving Henry’s MIA status.

henry conn mia week 16

You can read a detailed account of the battle at Kesternich, Germany in this PDF document:

kesternich germany battle henry conn week 16

The day before and day of Henry’s death is detailed beginning on the report page numbered 14 (on the PDF it is page 15 of 50).

If you’d like the Wikipedia version, go here.  You can also read the historynet.com version at this link.  For some great photos, try the Facebook group.  You can read about the 78th Lightning Infantry Division at Wikipedia here.  A booklet was published about the 78th and you can read that online here.  You can find a photo of GI’s with the 78th here.  There is a lot of information on the internet about the 78th and about Company G.  I encourage you to Google it and take a look at the links.

Before closing, I want to provide this article from The Sarcoxie Record about Koen.  He emailed it to me so I thought I would provide it here so you can learn a little more about Koen.

sarcoxie record page 1 henry conn week 16

sarcoxie record page 2 henry conn week 16

To Koen, I’d like to say thank you for taking care of Henry’s grave and for contacting me to let me know where Henry is buried.  I hope someone returns the favor to you one day.

Until next week,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

Sources for this post include:

Koen Bolckmans & Astrid Van Erp; Newspapers.com; Ancestry.com; Fold3

A Time to Celebrate

This week our daughter-in-law, Melissa, celebrates her anniversary.  I hope she and our son-in-law Ryan enjoy their day!

Melissa and my son Derek married in April of 2011.  They were married about 16 months before Derek died.  The months following were some hard months with lots of time spent in prayer for Melissa and our grandson.  We felt like she was too young to remain unmarried and we wanted for her to have someone who would love both her and our grandson.  Bart and I spent a lot of time in prayer about that.  We had a lot of requirements for this new husband.  He had to love both Melissa and our grandson and treat them well.  We hoped he would be someone who would allow us to remain in our grandson’s life but we – or at least I – braced for the possibility that the new husband wouldn’t want us to be involved.  Now, looking back on that time, there were so many things I wanted that I didn’t even know I wanted during that time.  God, however, knew exactly what we wanted and needed and that’s what we continued to pray for – God’s will above all else – even if it meant we didn’t get what we wanted.  Only God knew what was best for Melissa and our grandson.

blog week 16 pic 2

Above, at Derek and Melissa’s wedding; April, 2011.

Eventually the time came that we were introduced to her current husband, Ryan.  I realized after that initial meeting that we had already met Ryan.  He was a friend of Derek’s during Derek’s college years.  When our grandson spent about 6 weeks in the hospital in Dallas after he was born, Ryan was one of many who cooked us meals and served us so we didn’t have to leave the hospital.  He’d been such a good friend and shown the love of Christ at a time when we needed it.  This time though, we were meeting him as a potential husband to Melissa and father to our grandson.  He didn’t have children of his own when he dated Melissa so I’m sure it was quite an adjustment to learn to care for a rambunctious 2-year-old boy.

Ryan and Melissa married in April of 2014.  At their wedding, Ryan’s mother said that after Ryan had started dating Melissa, Ryan had come to visit her and he told her, “I love them.”  Meaning he loved both Melissa and our grandson.  This is one of many things I love about Ryan.  He recognized Melissa and our grandson as a “package deal” so to speak.  He didn’t try to have Melissa without her child.  He accepted and loved them both, just as we had prayed for.  But that wasn’t all.  God didn’t just take care of Melissa and our grandson when He gave her a new husband.  He took care of Bart and I, too- in so many ways.  God gave us a son-in-law who has his own memories of Derek and who was Derek’s friend before he ever met Melissa.  God gave us a son-in-law who wanted us to be a part of their lives and that means so much.  I’m not sure I could have handled losing both Derek and his son.  Ryan doesn’t mind when our conversations turn to Derek.  He doesn’t feel threatened or jealous and that means a lot to us.  Ryan and Melissa are also making sure that our grandson knows he has two dads.  He lost one dad, but God gave him another.  I appreciate that our grandson will always know how proud my son was of his son and how much Derek loved him.  Ryan and Melissa have a son now, too.  We are so proud to be grandparents to both of these little guys.

blog week 16 pic 3

Above, Ryan and Melissa’s wedding; April, 2014.

blog week 16 pic 4

My son’s son and my daughter’s son dancing at Ryan and Melissa’s wedding; April, 2014.

blog week 16 pic 5

Derek’s son kissing his dad Ryan back when Ryan and Melissa were engaged.

blog week 16 pic 8

Derek and Melissa and their son; February 2012.

blog week 16 pic 7

Bart and I with the three grandsons we had at the time and our daughter; taken at Ryan and Melissa’s wedding, April of 2014.

blog week 16 pic 6

My son’s son and his brother.

Ryan is dad to both of these boys.  He does a great job.  Both Ryan and Melissa do a great job raising our two Texas grandsons.  It still amazes me how well God took care of us when he brought Ryan into our lives.  I just wanted to take this post to wish Ryan and Melissa a happy anniversary.  I hope they have many more years to celebrate together.

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4, 6-8, The Holy Bible:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die…a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance…a time to seek, and a time to lose…a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love…

All my love,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

Week 16 Blog Schedule

So much has happened in the last few weeks!  After spring break, school was back in session for one week.  The two weeks following that one, the teachers were on a walkout and I (along with about 40,000-50,000 fellow teachers from across the state) spent almost all of that week in Oklahoma City at the capitol building talking to legislators about funding for education.  The next week I spent one day at the capital but had to take the rest of the week at home trying to get taxes together, prescriptions filled, bills paid, and all the things that hadn’t gotten done while I was busy in Oklahoma City (and my fellow teachers continued on at the capitol).  This week we’re set to return to school.  I’ll go back to the capital once about every 2 weeks with a delegate committee to continue our business there.  Meanwhile, Bart was in Baytown, Texas from about the end of February through the end of March.  He then went from Baytown, Texas to New Orleans, Louisiana for a week.  I sure wish I could have gone there!  He flew in yesterday evening.  He’ll have about 8 more weeks on his work season and then we can begin summer vacation!  I’m looking forward to finishing the last 5 weeks of school and then taking a break.

I’m going to attempt a couple of short blog posts this week.  Our school days have been extended so that we don’t have to add days to the end of the year which means I won’t have as much time to research or write for the next 5 weeks.  This week’s schedule looks like this:

Tuesday:     A short surprise blog post that I’m not ready to announce yet.

Friday:       Friday I will blog but again, I’m not ready to announce the topic. Sorry!

Any extra blog posts I do will be posts that further the series’ I’ve already started about John BATES or Quincy BELL, or about contact I had recently with a genealogy researcher in Belgium, or about my recent teacher walkout experience.  I can’t wait to write all of these posts for you!

Until then, enjoy your week!

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives

The Revolution

Dear friends (and boys- because I do hope you read these stories when you get older),

I have never been more proud of my profession, my coworkers, my administrators, or my school board. But I am also tired.  I am also sad.  I am also angry.  I am so many emotions I can hardly contain them.  Sun up to sun down every day for over a week now.  But real life is like that, isn’t it?  You hit a brick wall (or maybe just a roadblock, but today feels like a brick wall) and you feel as if you will never get past this moment.  I will get past it.  I know I will but I’m talking about raw emotion right now.  I haven’t written a post since…well, I couldn’t even tell you without looking.  It’s been a crazy couple of weeks.  My life has been turned upside down and I’ve had one singular focus with no extra time for anything else.  But I’m bowing out.  Just for today.  I’m taking a “me day”.  I feel guilty.  I should be sitting in church right now and Lord knows I need to be there but I just couldn’t.  There’s a lot of bitterness and hatred in the world and I’ve felt it was aimed at me (and my friends) this past couple of weeks.  I need a break.

This day’s been a long time coming.  You see, I am a teacher- a librarian, yes, but surprise- librarians teach, too!  I had to get a Masters degree to be a school librarian.  I’ve worked in several different schools and have finally found the right school, the right grade levels, and the right community for me.  For far too long, professionals in teaching positions all across this nation have been paid far too little for all that they do.  We are degreed, certified, professionals.  I could make more money at a QT convenience store than I make to help educate your children.  How sad is that!

In late February, the teachers of West Virginia had had enough.  They weren’t taking it anymore.  They walked out.  Their strike lasted 8 or 9 days.  They got a raised but the funding is questionable.  They are committed to striking again if lawmakers can’t do their jobs.  Their brave actions set off a chain reaction across the nation amongst teachers who were underpaid, overworked, understaffed, and ill-equipped to do their jobs.  My state, Oklahoma, was next in line and Kentucky is right on our heels.  Arizona is fast approaching this point as well.

Good Friday, my first day holding a sign. Jay, OK, 2018. I was taking the photo. Left, Matt Nowlin Oklahoma/Arkansas Carpenters/Millwrights Local 216 #UnionStrong. To the right of Matt are my fellow teachers. #StrongerTogether

Oklahoma teachers walked out April 2nd.  It is April 8th and we will not be going to school next week unless the legislators do their job and provide funding.  We aren’t even asking for all that we should.  We are only asking to be funded at the levels we had 10- TEN- years ago.  We want textbooks that at least include the Obama presidency.  That’s how old our textbooks are- they don’t even include the 8 years of the Obama presidency.  There are so few textbooks left that students can’t even take them home to study.  Teachers are using textbooks that are falling apart- some duct-taped together so they can be used.  Teachers have 200 students and 50 textbooks.  Is this what we want for our children?? Our future??  Chairs are broken.  Our high school library- my little library- has a collection of books with an average copyright date of 1996.  I have books older than me and I’m not talking classics or fairy tales.  Actual novels and NONFICTION books older than me!  Books that were here when I was in high school here 30 years ago.  Books that were here when my children were going to school here in the early 2000’s.  Yet teachers go into this environment every day and we still do our jobs the best we can.  We still educate and care for the students entrusted to us.

I’m not telling you all this so you pity me.  Don’t pity me.  What I want is for you to get angry.  Get angry that legislators have gotten away with telling you that this is how little your children mean to them!  It’s intimidating to call a legislator, much less go visit them.  And they are rude- I get that.  But sometimes we have to do hard things for the people we love.  Teachers have their raises.  We could have stayed in school and forgotten about the fact that your kids still need textbooks and chairs and supplies but we didn’t.  We care too much for our students.  So here we are.  We completed Day 5 of the walkout on Friday.  Day 6 of the walkout is tomorrow.  I’ll be there.  Wouldn’t miss it.  Will you join me?  Yes.  Yes.  I know.  You have jobs.  You have lives. You had bad teachers so you’ll never support us.  I get it.  I do.  But this isn’t for “us”.  We already have our money (provided they will actually FUND the bill they passed).  This is for your children.  You have to make your own decisions and care for your own lives.  I’ll still be going.  Spending my own money on your children (again) and my own time (still) but it would be so much better if you would meet me there.  Those legislators need to see YOUR face.  They need to see YOUR children that they are shafting.  The news is reporting that it’s chaotic and dangerous.  That’s a lie.  The place is crawling with State Troopers (who were also included in our funding request, I might add).  They have been so good at what they do and so good to us.  They have said this is one of the most peaceful (and even enjoyable) rallies they’ve ever seen.  Teachers are polite, courteous, and pick up after themselves.  No big surprise to me.  We’ve been cleaning up after ourselves and your children (and legislators) for years.

I’m tired of being called greedy (and much worse).  I’m tired of the DHS workers (whom we also included in our request for more funding) saying bad things about us.  Saying that we aren’t doing enough when they don’t even show up at a rally designed to get more funding for them too.  We didn’t have to include state workers but we did.  That’s what teachers do- they care.  I’m tired of defending myself, my profession, and my friends.  I’m sick at the thought of how little a few of the community members think of us and how vocal they are compared to our supporters.  My friends have left Facebook. They can’t take the teacher-bashing any more.  They are staying home, trying to rejuvenate going into next week.  You can see I’m sitting here (alone) on my couch writing to you because I’m an introvert and writing makes me feel better.  I won’t quit though.  My students aren’t second class citizens and neither am I.  Even with this raise I won’t be earning a lot of money for a degreed, certified professional.  I don’t do it for the money though so I’ll take what I can get.  It’s been over a decade since teachers got raises.  What degreed professional never gets a raise?  I could drive 20 minutes further into Arkansas and earn $20,000 more and get a lot more respect but I love my little community.  I don’t want to leave.  I love our school board and our administrators who have so graciously backed us up and supported us.  I will not stop defending them because they did not have to support us like this.  I am beginning to wonder whether it’s worth it but I’m going to finish this fight.  That way, if my grandsons should ever move to Oklahoma it will be a better place for them to get an education.

I’m not going to edit this post a lot.  This is raw.  This is how I feel.  I’m going to have a good cry then I’m going to pick myself up, go visit my family and then get a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow, the Women in Black show up at the capitol building.  I wouldn’t miss it for the world.  See you in Oklahoma City tomorrow.


Lisa @ Days of Our Lives