Merry Christmas 2021

Jan Jesberger Insurance will close at noon on Thursday the 23rd and reopen at 9 am on Monday the 27th

We will also be closing Friday the 31st and reopening Monday January 3rd.

Of Christmas and Mathmagicland

As much as I loved my career as a Middle School teacher, there were always two days highlighted on my new lesson plan book at the start of the year, the last day of school, and the day before Christmas Break.

The last day of school was always choreographed beautifully. During my early years,Canfield, on the last day before summer break, had a magnificent talent show. Featuring lots of great talent (really!), from hula dances to magic, culminated by a concert put on by teachers and directed by Jim Lien and Lane Sumner. I still can’t believe that Judy Drake allowed all of this! In the days before Woodland was built, we had upwards of 900+ kids in the gym, mesmerized by their teachers playing really good music! In later years we would have a cruise on the lake, complete, with a DJ and breakfast. As the doors would finally close on the last tearful 8th grader, the sense of relief as well as accomplishment was tangible through the whole building.

As choreographed as that ending was, the days leading up to Christmas were the opposite. As we reconvened after Thanksgiving the countdown would commence. With each passing day the excitement and angst of the student body would rise as the classroom doors were decorated, the Christmas concert performed, and sugar consumed in ways that only children of that age can eat. In those days, it felt as if we were a very large dysfunctional family had spent way too much time together and needed some space and air.

Which brings me to Donald in Mathmagic Land, this 1959 28-minute movie was my lesson plan for the final day before Christmas break. As a math teacher, it was the only movie that I showed each year. From the Golden Rectangle to Donald competing against the mad Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland, it is a quaint romp through Mathmagic Land. It’s available on YouTube (along a plethora of old educational movies) if you need a walk down memory lane.

In the early years, “Donald” was a 16 mm film, complete with reserved projector and a fully trained member of the AV club, and we always hoped that the projector, film, and speaker would make it through the day, not to mention the ritual of rewinding the film onto the original reel after each showing. That gave way to borrowing a TV with a VCR tape machine, then a DVR and finally in those last years it was a download. I have every line and scene indelibly imprinted in my brain. I will never forget the feeling as that last scene would come on, and I knew it was time to start Christmas break, followed by a fresh start again in the new year.

Sometimes as I stare at the night sky or think too hard about a concept that those much wiser than I have discovered, I remember the last lines of that movie:

Mathematics is the Alphabet

that God used when He created the Universe