Tuesday, August 17, 2010

LV 11 = Getting the Job Done

I had to work, of course, and as I related earlier it was a twelve-mile drive to my place of employment. After a year in the elementary school, I transferred to the junior high to teach mathematics. Marie's classroom was across the hall from mine. She taught English to the seventh and eighth graders who were our charges. This lady was the same age as my mother. We worked together for five years until I left the community, and she taught several more years before she retired.

We soon figured out that a good bit of gas (read: money) could be saved if we were to share rides to work, as we lived only three miles apart; and we were both a dozen miles from school. Thus, we alternated weeks, stopping by one another's house to pick up and drop off the passenger.

The farm of Jim Griggs was located along our route to school. The pigster had posted a large yet tastefully done sign at the entry to his property.

-------------Griggs' Pigs------------

----------Hampshire----- Poland China---------

Marie, in her typically pedantic manner, was offended by the sign, for she claimed the apostrophe usage was incorrect, and the sign should read "Griggs's Pigs." I allowed that that would destroy both the rhyme and the lilt, and should therefore read "Griggs's Pigses." Marie was not amused.

There was a saying amongst school people at the time that "every teacher should be an English teacher." But not all English teachers are so willing to share the responsibility. I had occasion, created an occasion, once in a seventh grade math class to assert that "ain't" was a valid word in the language, and that it could be correctly used. "Ain't I" is a contraction for the phrase "am I not" and can be used in a construction as follows: "I am going to town with you, ain't I?" This was reported by my students to the English teacher, who in turn sent a message back to me, telling the kids to tell me that she "will teach English, and Mr. Lacy should stick to arithmetic."

© 2010 David W. Lacy

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jimgrey said...

Even though I was for many years paid to use English correctly, I am with you on Griggses Pigses.

Secondary Roads said...

What Jim Grey said . . .

vanilla said...

Jim, and Chuck-- I do the best I can with the language; but I don't get too bummed when someone points out a flaw. I know my favorite "weakness" is the split infinitive. And I'm not too fond of commas, so I use them quite sparingly... Sometimes I suspect to the detriment of the idea I hope to express.

jimgrey said...

Annnnnnnd Griggs' Pigs is plenty correct if it is meant to say that the pigs belong to the entire Griggs family. Harrumph.

vanilla said...

Jim-- Thanks for the input. Perhaps the Griggs (Griggses, the Griggs family?) will appreciate that. Grammar is so much fun.