Rusty volunteered to take our granddaughter Sara from Mom’s to Dad’s, via McDonalds, and asked me if I wanted to come along. I hadn’t seen her without her braces; hadn’t seen much of her at all, really, since she became 13 and too cool. So we got fed (No more Asian salad!! So I do the fish deal, on a feast day…does that count against the meat I eat on Friday?) and I was trying to make small talk:
“Doing anything musical?”
“Singing anything interesting?”
“No.” [pause]. “We ‘re singing [List of 2nd rate pop tunes].”
“Wow, you’re right, you aren’t singing anything interesting. Are you reading Harlequin romances in English Lit?”
It takes her a minute to understand what I’m asking. “No”
“Then why do they teach that material in chorus?”
“History is worse. Mr. X never teaches anything; he just has us copy timelines and notes. And he has the answers on the board during the tests.”
And thus goes education in the hometown of President McKinley. I can excuse incompetence; I can’t excuse not caring. This is the sort of thing that gives educators a bad name. There are effective and ineffective ways of teaching, so pedagogy courses aren’t a complete waste of time. But when nobody seems interested in applying what they’ve learned, one is tempted to conclude that it’s just another organized-labor trick to restrict access to the trade.
Afterwards, we check out Severstal (the Mill Formerly Known as WCI, where Rusty used to work). Not a sign of life in the place, except for a few cars around the blast furnace. Hank Rearden probably isn’t in there.
Earlier, after church, I’d stopped at City View, the foreclosed mall. Out at the end were several uncompleted buildings, and then a blocked off road to nowhere, going up a hill. One of the abandoned stores was becoming a dollar store. That’s better than at Randall Park, where there’s a flea market, and “Church ‘n the mall” in the old Lerner’s.
There are bits of hope though, always. A solid 4 story brick building in Warren, which Rusty had had fantasies of renovating, has been bought and is being renovated. Steelyard Commons in downtown Cleveland seems to be doing fine. I was there after church at the Wal-mart, to buy a new coffeepot and some vise-grips (to be stamped with my initials so my wife won’t disappear them). They’re downhill from the barrio, so they stock certain sorts of prepackaged meat for the Hispanic trade (tripe etc.) . I bought 4 lbs of beef heart at $.86/lb, which will make a dandy stew tomorrow.