Friday, January 29, 2016

What Happens in Flint

My daughter accuses me of making things up.  Actually, she accuses me of having lied shamelessly to her throughout her childhood.  I try to convince her that I am merely talented at speaking metaphorically.

 I don't know.  I find myself asking myself, "Did that actually happen or did I make it up?"  Let's just say I have complete empathy for Brian Williams and his suspension for exaggerated stories of his ride in a helicopter.

But I do think this is a real memory.  Why would I possibly make this up?  I think the news about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, stirred up a memory of an old grammar book from elementary school days in the late 1950's.  Because I had the feeling I had experience with the place but I don't believe I have ever actually been there.   I remember writing letters--lessons about proper form, etc.--to people and businesses with  Flint, Michigan, addresses.  I remember writing and punctuation sentences about things going on in the daily lives of sixth graders in Flint.

Does anybody else remember something like this or have I made it up?

In any case, it was in some ways a very different world then because it seems to me the point was that '50's Flint was just the embodiment of the American dream.  But then, in other ways, it is not such a different world, because then as now, no one would have gotten away with poisoning the entire water supply of a prosperous, predominantly white city.


12 comments:

  1. I don't remember writing about Flint specifically, but I certainly do remember having to such exercises as you describe. I wonder if the assignments came from our Weekly Readers. Do you remember those? Perhaps, there was an article about Flint and we were asked to respond as if we were writing a formal letter.

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  2. I have no memory of anything related to Flint, Mi. I think I understand your daughter's thinking. I can't handle metaphorical. As much as I hate it I'm extremely black and white, either Brian flew in that helicopter or he didn't.

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    1. I am more gray than black and white, but if you break the letter of the law I am less willing to look the other way. I am sure that stuff almost as bad happened back in the 50's and what was not hidden well does come out. There are always crooks.

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  3. Sally hit it on the head - it must have been a Weekly Reader exercise. I still remember Dick and Jane and Spot!

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  4. I'm going with Sally. Gosh I loved the Weekly Reader. I'll have to Google to see if it is still published.

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  5. It is terrible what happened to the water supply in Flint. No lies there.

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  6. I grew up in Michigan so I think I would have remembered Flint being in the Weekly Reader and I don't. I do remember going there many times back in the 50s and my heart hurts for those people. Most of whom are very low income and can't afford to just leave. How awful for them.

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  7. I did not know where this post was going, but in the end it packed quite a punch. Flint without the auto industry is just another forgotten ghetto.

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  8. My children and siblings accuse me always of making up stories that I recount true. For instance I once heard a story on the radio about a man who cut off his head with a chain saw while cutting down a tree. He held his head on and got his his truck and drove for help. He survived the incident. Later I read an account of that same story in Reader's Digest but still no one would believe me. Guess I can google it now. Meanwhile now every time I tell a strange story my family will all say, "like the man who cut off his head with a chainsaw?"

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    1. OMG, Annie, you have me beat! I laughed til tears came. Definitely gonna tell my daughter to read your comment!

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  9. I remember the Weekly Reader, but I don't remember doing any kind of exercises in them. Perhaps that was for the cardinals (excellent advanced readers) or the blue birds (good readers in the grade level). I was in the starlings and I guess if we bothered to show up for school that was good enough. I do remember ordering books for summer reading though.

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    1. Nobody believes you were a starling, Sextant.

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I appreciate readers' comments so much. You don't even always have to agree with me.