Occasional Thoughts on Educational Technology and Life by Judy Brophy

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

You'll know when you get there

I chose a place on the map that looked like a likely spot to have a nice hike, a falls somewhat off the beaten track. I put the name of the falls in my map program and pressed start. As it turned out I didn't really need the map program because helpful brown nature signs were posted along the road at intersections.  

I parked the car off the road and headed down the trail. Soon I could hear water running.  Louder and louder. I could just glimpse water through the bushes and was headed that way when out of the depths of my pocket came a muffled electronic voice, "you have arrived."

At the Hostel

The almost middle aged, middle-eastern looking man with the scruffy beard seemed to be the only other person besides me who used the hostel's common room-kitchen. He fixed himself dinner the first night. The next night he waited until a couple finished cooking their dinner and then asked me, "you cook?" "No thanks, I'm just having tea." 
He puttered in the kitchen as I read in an easy chair. At length he came over and asked "you soap?" As he waved the bowl I understood.  My gratefullness flowed out in a wave. "I'd love some," I said with a wide smile.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

At the Post Office

"What kind stamps would you like?" asked the post mistress. "We have birds and flags and the new Christmas stamps. The madonnas are nice."

The madonnas were nice. Rich reds and glowing golds.  
As I inspected the Christmas stamps, mulling over my choices she added encouragingly, "And none of the parts that shouldn't be showing showing", 
"What parts would that be?" I inquired, thinking of many madonnas with a tennis ball of a breast exposed.

"Oh, in last year's stamp the baby's little thing was dangling.  See how in this year they don't show that lower half of the baby."

Sure enough, Jesus was cropped at the navel.
"I'll take the madonnas," I said.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The University of Texas Sniper and My Journalism Career

AP Photo
Fifty years ago today a man climbed to the top of a tower on the campus of the University of Texas and ended, not only the lives of 14 people, but also my journalism career.

I was working as a copy girl at the Albany Times Union during the summer of my sophomore year in college. My job in the afternoons before the deadline for the evening paper was to carry the copy from the bank of very loud teletype machines to the copy editor. I tore stories off as they were typed and made sure the editor had the latest news stories from the wire services with which to work.

As the story broke the wire services were updating the death count every few minutes. As the deadline for press drew near, the editor told me to just stand in the teletype room and shout the latest number out: ten…. eleven…..   twelve.

I don’t know if we went to press with the final number or not. I do know that my enthusiasm for pursuing a career in journalism died that afternoon as well. This was one of the first mass shootings, surely my first.  It was necessary to put all feelings aside and just report, yell, the numbers.  That evening I decided journalism as a career demanded more than I was willing to give.