Monthly Archives: June 2013

My Daddy


At my wedding – 2005

My Daddy is still with us – at least physically. I spent some time with him recently and I really wish that I could know if he knew me. Dementia is a terrible thing. He has been diagnosed with Lewy Body disease. Ironically, my dad’s name is Lewis and many of his friends called him Lewy. At this point, he is unable to feed himself, has difficulty swallowing food, is not mobile, and is unable to communicate. This is very difficult because he was always such a vibrant, meticulous person.

Daddy exercised regularly, ate well, took vitamins, and was always trying the latest health craze. He was obsessed with health. I remember him trying  Bee Pollen once with some horrendous results. With Daddy, if one dose was beneficial, then two would be even better. He had an atrocious allergic reaction, broke out in hives all over, and had to stay in bed covered with only a sheet, AC turned up cold, and a fan blowing on him. This was bad enough, but it occurred the day before my parents were hosting a very large 4th of July party that was impossible to call off on such short notice!

I learned a great deal about business from my Daddy. He was a very successful State Farm Insurance Agent. After a 4  year stint in the Marines, Daddy went to work for Independent Life Insurance, following in the footsteps of his own father. My brother was born while he was still in the Marines and I followed soon after he began working for Independent Life in Orangeburg, SC. He was approached by a State Farm Manager from Charleston, SC to join the company as an agent. At the time, State Farm was virtually unknown in South Carolina. Daddy took a big risk and moved the family to Charleston. It turned out to be a fantastic decision. With hard work and dedication, he built a business that still serves him today. I often have people that comment on his dedication and personal attention regarding their insurance needs.

Daddy taught me a great deal about business and people. I always admired the fact that his employees were loyal and his workforce stable. He paid people well and treated them with respect. His theory was that an employer should never ask an employee to do something that he was not willing to do himself. He also believed in compensating people for the work that they did. Over the many years that he was in business, he had very little turnover. He knew that training a new person was more expensive than keeping someone that was well trained and dedicated. In the last several years of his working life, I was blessed to work with him. I know that he appreciated the fact that he could trust me and spend time away from the business while I was there, but he also blessed me considerably by being a fair and family oriented employer.

My parents have been apart for 25 years now, but they made an excellent team. Mom worked for Daddy some, but mainly, she took care of our family. She buffered his drive to work and made him realize the importance of family.   Mom basically mandated that Daddy be present for dinner every night and that he spent the better part of his weekend with us. In the early years of my life, I can remember him going out on appointments in the evening and working 1/2 days on Saturday, but eventually, he began working 1/2 days on Fridays and taking the entire family camping on most weekends. Those weekends provide some of my best memories. We generally camped with my grandparents and sometimes with friends and cousins. Daddy loved fishing and his favorite spots were on the Edisto River.

Even though Daddy is still here, I miss him. I miss being able to get advice from him. He was the first person that I would ask when I was trying to make an important decision. He supported me during my divorce and encouraged me to get a Master’s Degree. I think he was quite proud of the fact that I pursued a college education and then a masters. I remember going to him when I was first married because I was having trouble making ends meet. I needed $100 dollars to hold me over until the end of the week. He raised all of us to provide for ourselves and take care of ourselves. It was very hard for me to ask to borrow what I thought was a lot of money. When I did, he just pulled a few bills out of his pocket. I repaid him within 4 days, but I don’t think it was a big deal to him. He loved me and I think that he would do anything for me. But, that said, he also made sure that I developed character and responsibility. I appreciate him for that. I now know that he could have “taken care” of anything I needed, but the fact that he made me be responsible for myself has served me well in life.

So, on this Father’s Day weekend, I want to honor my Daddy. I love you Daddy and I always will. Thank you for helping me to become the person that I am today.


What’s Hot for Girls?


Most girls will read just about anything. I know, as a child, I did! (See Creating Readers) While both boys and girls are excited about the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series, girls are just as excited about the Dork Diaries, Judy Moody, and even Mercy Watson.


judy moodymercywatson








Of course, Judy Moody has a younger brother, Stink, that both girls and boys like to read. The Stink series is a little easier and more for 6-8 year olds. Other characters that are fun (bad) are June B. Jones and Clementine. Why do they always like to read about kids that misbehave?











Girls will also gravitate to more serious subjects, especially if they are sad. Nothing like a good cry. Number the Stars is a holocaust novel that many of our students, especially girls, really enjoyed this year. I would recommend it for ages 10 and up. A Long Walk to Water is another wonderful and heartfelt story about a young girl in Sudan. Found is a Science Fiction series with lots of appeal.The Found series by Haddix has flown off the shelf all year as well.


long walk to waterfound-margaret-peterson-haddix









I was going to add a section on dog books, because many girls love those as well, but I think that’s another whole post. If you have any favorites, please share them with me. Happy summer reading!

Boys Don’t Like to Read


Recently I have talked with many parents of boys who are lamenting the fact that their boys don’t like to read. In general, as a librarian, I find this to be true. I raised three boys myself. One of them is still a reader at age 25. My oldest son loved to read, but was turned off in Middle School by the Accelerated Reader program. The youngest of the three was an excellent reader, but just didn’t like it. Of course, I tried to influence all of them to read, but no matter what, this is not always a battle that can be won.

So how do we get these boys to read? I really believe that it is important to find the right books for them.

My youngest son latched onto books by Gary Paulsen. He loved the adventure he found in the Hatchet series. Thankfully, he had a sixth grade teacher that allowed him to read nothing by Paulsen all year! He even wrote him a letter.

Reading needs to be fun, interesting, and enjoyable. I have found that boys, in general, read boy books. Girls ( subject for a future blog) will read just about anything. So just what will entice boys to read? I’ve thought about this long and hard and come up with the following list:

  • Superheros
  • Underwear
  • Gross subjects
  • Scary books
  • Animal books
  • Sports
  • Survival stories
  • Graphic Novels
  • Humor (especially if it includes underwear)

With this list in mind, here are a few of the favorites in my elementary school library.

ABC Superhero

I can’t keep ABC Superhero in the library. The pictures are appealing to all ages and I use it to teach alliteration. We are on our 3rd copy because the students have literally worn it out! Recommended for ages 5-8.

Captain Underpants

The Captain Underpants series is filled with potty humor. I, personally, don’t see the attraction, but then, I am a girl and a grown-up. 8 – 12 year olds seem to love this series.

Melvin Beederman

Another series involving both underpants and superheros is Melvin Beederman.What could be better? While this series is written on about a 3rd grade level, I find that ages 8-11 love it. Greg Trine is also the author of several other series that will appeal to this age group.

Really Really Gross Jokes

All kids love jokes and these are really really gross. Beware though, children will be making up jokes of their own after reading this and they will not always make any sense. Just laugh…

Scary books for the younger set include these and many others.

therewasanoldmonster dogzilla hiccups




Slightly older boys will enjoy both the Dragonbreath and Bunnicula series.

Don’t worry! As their reading improves, their taste may also, but now that I think about all of the adult men I know….Oh well, boys will be boys!