Archives For Neil Gaiman

This is Halloween

October 30, 2013 — Leave a comment

Halloween is almost here, and my sister’s going nuts over on the social media sites. The woman apparently loves Halloween almost as much as I do! She and her family live out of state, so I don’t think I’ve ever seen my nieces and nephew in full costume, like…ever, I think? At least not on Halloween. My nephew will occasionally transform into Captain America at the drop of a hat, and one of my nieces likes to impersonate my mother from time to time.

Work is always crazy this time of year, so putting together a good costume can be a real challenge. Today report cards went home, and I had to learn the new online system on my own, so naturally I forgot to enter their “Handwriting” grade. Honestly, I forgot we even bothered with that, since it’s been years since anyone has bothered teaching cursive where I work. And I’ve felt terrible all week again, with my third round of sore throat/hacking cough taking over my life. Went to see my doctor yesterday afternoon and he gave me a tougher antibiotic. Hopefully I can get rid of this before next week when we start parent-teacher conferences.

But enough about my failings as an educator. Since no one wanted to hear me talk about Peter Brook yesterday, let’s check out some Classic Mr. Fauth Halloween costumes!

This is from my first year of teaching, Halloween 1998. 4th grade, East View Elementary. And I went as Groucho Marx in Animal Crackers. Hooray for Captain Spaulding!

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Hello, I must be going.

Can’t talk about that class without mentioning Liz’s fantastic Halloween costumes. Here she is as a basket of dirty laundry.

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That werewolf sure hates neglected laundry!

(I have lots of pics of other former students, and would gladly feature them as long as I knew they approved. Or their parents approved if they’re under 18. Them’s the rules. Liz and I are still close, so I know she’s cool with being practically a supporting character on this site. So if you’re reading this and are itching to be featured in a future post, drop me a line.)

And here is my last East View costume from 2003, ten years ago to the day, practically. When I wore this hardly any of the kids knew who Speed Racer was. I don’t imagine the Wachowski sibling’s film did much to change that.

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The shoes I found were spot-on, but man, did they hurt my feet!

Last year I wasn’t doing anything for Halloween, and the year before I had a just-okay, slapped-together Neil Gaiman costume, since I was reading The Graveyard Book for Read Aloud. Goofy wig and a black suit. Not my best, not my worst.

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This year one of my teammates suggested we all dress in a theme. Usually I just do my own thing, because I’m always looking to do something interesting and original and “clever,” and group costumes rarely go that way. (Expect LOTS of Minions this year…sigh…) But I like this team, and I wanted to make a gesture. So we’re going as the four seasons. (When I mentioned this in class, one of my kids shouted out, “You could be Frankie Valli!!!” Bravo, kid. Bravo.)

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Here’s a sneak peak. I got autumn. But I’m channeling it via Alan Moore. So either the kids will think I look cool, or terrifying.

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Monday Miscellany

October 28, 2013 — Leave a comment

I had an Amazon gift card donated by a parent in my class that HAD to be spent, so I got some new books for the class. Since we’re close to my annual Viking Day event, I thought I would get a couple of books to help with the actual content we’ll be learning. I picked up some other books that they asked for, and of course I had to get a Neil Gaiman book, although this one’s a bit silly for fifth grade. Still, there’s nothing like having a stack of new books to read, and (most) everyone was fighting over who got to read what.
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It’s my mom’s birthday today, so Happy Birthday to my dear Mother. I attribute most of my good qualities to her, whatever they are. Although I wish I had her positivity. She would probably claim to be much more pessimistic, but very rarely do I ever hear her complain or fret and speak ill of others. She’s good people, that lady. Everyone in Dublin was so excited about having her come visit over the Christmas holiday, but then I went and spoiled it all by heading home early. Maybe another time.

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I don’t have very many recent pictures of Mom and I, but here’s one from last Christmas. I brought back a few oddments of European Christmas traditions, so we’re drinking German gluehwein and wearing a paper hat from an English Christmas cracker.

For the past two days I’ve had a sore throat (again), and I’ve been getting headaches for at least three or four days straight. So it’s back to the doctor for me tomorrow afternoon. I’m pretty wiped out, so I’ll keep this entry short. Missed a family gathering this evening due to being sick, but I figured I didn’t need to be around people if I’ve got something nasty.

Leavings and Partings

December 19, 2012 — 1 Comment

There was a passport in his bag, money in his pocket.

For the past few years Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book has been my favorite read-aloud in my classroom. Loosely based on The Jungle Book, it’s a bout a live boy named Bod who’s raised by a family of ghosts in a graveyard. It’s spooky and funny and incredibly touching all at the same time, and the kids usually vote it their favorite as well.

But that last chapter just kills me every time I read it. I won’t spoil any of the plot, but basically it’s about goodbyes, and the main character’s realization that he’s grown up, and that it’s time to leave the graveyard and face the unknown. Perhaps that sounds a bit basic, but it’s written very, very well, and the final moments are well-earned. (You can watch/listen to Gaiman read the entire book for free right here.) The farewell from Silas, and the moment he sees his mother standing at the gate of the graveyard…man…it gets me every time without fail.

I grew up in a small town called Sandwich. Mostly. For a while I thought it was the only town I ever wanted to live in. Eventually I moved away, but it was really just down the road. But ever since I sat and impatiently waited for a shuttle bus that would never come, in London, eleven years ago, I knew that one day I would have to leave my own graveyard.

Bod said, “If I change my mind, can I come back here?” And then he answered his own question. “If I come back, it will be a place, but it won’t be home any longer.”

I head home tomorrow. For the past couple of days I’ve said my farewells to my very, very good friends from Dublin, although tomorrow morning’s will easily be the worst. But my mother will be waiting for me on the other side, and for the first time in my life, I am coming home for Christmas. Those are good things.

It shall remain to be seen whether or not I’ve “gotten it out of my system,” as both Donal and my grandmother have called my desire to leave everything and go live overseas for a while. Sure it was going to be a year instead of six months, but would that have been enough? Or too much? I like to think that my time here was my time here. It was what I got, and that should be enough.

And will I be able to pick up the pieces of an old life? What will be home, and what will just be “a place” now? I think that remains to be seen, although I’m curious what my reaction will be now when I read the final chapter of The Graveyard Book aloud. That might be the true test of whether or not I’ve gotten this business out of my system.

But between now and then there was Life; and Bod walked into it with his eyes and his heart wide open.

This is the 39th post of the 4-T Tales. There will be one more, the 40th, appropriately, and then this part of the story will come to an end. Stay tuned, dear readers…