RSS

Tag Archives: Lloyd Lofthouse

The Raptor and the Rats

One of the raptors ratted me out, and Grendel called me to his office to sizzle me in his hot seat. He yelled at me for going against Sauron’s orders. He moved closer until I could smell the dead flesh of vulchers and cigarettes on his breath.  He demanded that I admit guilt. I suspected the motive was grade inflation.

I stared at his jugular wondering how fast it would take to tear it out with my teeth. Like Beowulf, I wanted to destroy the monster. To my dismay, as my PTSD was getting ready to launch, the VP, who was there to witness this interrogation, stepped forward and stopped us. 

I think she saw the hunger in my eyes.

After school, she came into the teacher’s lounge, as I was getting ready to leave campus.  We were alone.  She looked around with a tense expression and made sure the hall leading to the staff lounge was empty.

Then she leaned closer and whispered. “You were right.”  And she quit a few weeks later to accept a position in another school district abandoning us to the beast.

Damn! Talk about the rats leaving the ship. Soon, teachers started clambering down the ropes to escape.

Part three of three
Back to part one

See more about Grendel here.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart.

 

Tags: , , ,

Teaching or Writing with Pain, Pollution and People – Part 1/4

It’s difficult to teach or write when I’m gasping for air and exploding my sinus.

When I was still teaching (1975 – 2005) there were years when walking into the empty classroom in the morning made me sick—and no, I wasn’t allergic to my students.

Then I retired from teaching (but not from life), and I have been free of wheezy lungs and sinus infections that always arrived with the start of each school year when I worked in those old buildings at the high school where I taught. Have you heard of sick building syndrome?

I lived it.

This new, peaceful world changed when workers came with power tools and mud-caked boots.

I should have fled, but I stayed at my computer as a stupid, stubborn, former United States Marine would.

My office has three doors. One that leads to to rest of the house and one that opens to the outside.

Then there is the door that opens to the space under the second story.

Once under the house, that crew drilled into the foundation, pounded, cut and tracked dirt from room to room—always in my office.

I had trouble concentrating. I suffered memory loss. Plastic tarps covered most of the furniture, and I couldn’t find things.

Continued in Teaching or Writing with Pain, Pollution and People – Part 2

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Self-Esteem Train Wreck

It was in the 1980s, when we were told to throw out the grammar books and stop teaching from them. I blame this on the self esteem movement—a blunder equal to the invasion of Iraq or the Vietnam War or Anzio in World War II or Richard Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate cover-up or John F. Kennedy allowing the Bay of Pigs Invasion that led to the Cuban Missile Crisis or Ronald Reagan and the Iran-Contra Affair or Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.

“Throw out the books”, they said—and Hitler lit his match. But on the sly, we defied Sauron and Grendel. Most English teachers hid sets of Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition.

Every Friday, thirty minutes before class let out, I took out Warriner’s and went over the lesson for homework that weekend. It was always short and on Monday, the answers were posted on the board so the kids could check their work during roll before turning it in.

I thought I was being clever and had no idea that a storm was brewing.

Discover Stealth Grammar – Orders from Sauron

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition].

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Explosive Father

I took a step away from James’s father and moved behind the desk. While keeping an eye on him, I started looking for objects I could use as a weapon.

Lloyd Lofthouse at least ten feet underground in the comm bunker (Chu Lai, Vietnam - 1966).

The reading specialist appeared along with Marshall. They’d heard the yelling. After stopping the father’s tirade, the reading specialist explained that I was not responsible for assigning the book to James.

The specialist then took James’s father to his office. There was no apology for the outburst and the insults. I had discovered where James’s anger came from. He’d inherited or learned it from his explosive father.

I wondered where the father had been for most of the semester. I’d called the house a number of times and left messages. He had not attended parent conferences. In fact, I contacted all the parents when homework wasn’t turned in. I spent hours on the phone running into dead-ends and hearing empty promises from lousy parents.

See Razor Wire

 

Tags: , , ,

Razor Wire

In 1976-77, Romier elementary had razor wire on the roofs to keep vandals off. On Mondays, it was common to find fresh bullet holes in the doors. Once, we arrived to find the doorknobs had been beaten off. On another Monday, we couldn’t park our cars in the parking lot because all the lights had been shot out, and the lot was littered with shards of glass.

First Tank Battalion, First Marine Division, Chu Lai, Vietnam

That year, I made a friend with another teacher. The union rep for the school was Marshal Kahan. Soon after I was hired as a long-term sub, he came to the classroom and offered support and advice. During our conversation, I learned he was also a former United States Marine.

We stayed friends for thirty years and hiked the San Gabriel Mountains together for more than a decade before Marshall was diagnosed with leukemia. He died eight years after the diagnoses. I still miss the loss of his friendship.

The other incident is when James’s father came to shout at me, because his son’s reading score had not improved. I was alone the afternoon the father walked in unexpectedly. He cursed and accused me of being incompetent. He threw the reading book on the floor and said I’d put his son in a book that was too difficult. I shifted my body stance so one side faced him. I’d been taught hand-to-hand combat in the Marines and fought in Vietnam. If he was going to attack, I wanted to be ready.

Discover a Square Peg in a Round Hole

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse, a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran, is the award winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition].

His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About Bullies – Part 2/3

“What would you do if we jumped you, Mr. Lofthouse?”

My response was always the same. I’d say, “I wasn’t trained to fight. The Marines trained me to kill and that’s what I did in Vietnam. So, I will do my best to kill anyone who attacks me. If you or anyone else wants to jump me, do your best to put me out of action as fast as possible, because I’m going to do everything I can to kill the first person inside my reach.”

“You can’t do that,” was the common response.  As if the rules or laws in this “politically correct” country were on the side of the criminal, bully or gang banger.  Although the death penalty is another topic, it seems that those politically correct and properly anointed people that go out of the way protecting the rights of hard-core violent criminals should be boiled in oil.  After thirty minutes naked in boiling oil from toes to chin, if they live, we do what they want.

What bothered me the most was that I couldn’t carry a weapon.  In Vietnam, I carried several weapons and grenades.  Several times, I had a grenade launcher.

 See Bullies Part 1

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About Bullies – Part 1/3

I don’t have respect for bullies (“bullies are kids who have tremendous low self-esteem”). That’s probably one of the reasons why I joined the Marines after high school—so I would be tougher and more dangerous.  Most bullies are cowards and won’t fight if they think you will stand up to them. Bullies also tend to be organized like a pack of wolves (no insult to wolves, but that is a fact). There are two types of bullies: the physical kind and the verbal kind, who enjoy belittling kids that don’t appear capable of defending themselves.  Some bullies fit both descriptions.

Then there is the pack of what appeared to be normal kids who will ostracize an individual who doesn’t fit into an acceptable social group.  When I was teaching, I usually stood up for the outcast too.

I was a victim of bullies in grade school and ostracized by the social butterflies in high school. As a teacher, every year, at least one mouthy bully, usually a member of a local street gang, Puente 13, would ask, “What would you do if we jumped you, Mr. Lofthouse?

Kids that bully or ostracize others that do not fit the social norm remind of a flock of chickens that will peck the runt of the flock to death.

What set off this series of posts on bullies was a piece on Why Kids Get Bullied and Rejected.

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Bookie’s Dream, Old Faithful and Chewing Gum – Part4/4

The biggest part of the day supervisor’s job was to drive a flatbed electric cart around the school starting at 6:00 AM and paint out fresh, overnight graffiti.

Then Bookie’s Dream loaded the empty trashcans to place them where kids congregated at lunch.

However, spitting out gum, getting rid of empty soda bottles and greasy bags of French fries was too much of an effort for most of our students to put in trash cans, so the school was usually littered.


In Japan, the students clean the classrooms and the schools.

Back in my classroom after school, I wore out the knees in my blue jeans crawling around the classroom floor scraping gum off that crap-colored carpet.

Mr. D, who supervised after school detentions and Saturday schools, attempted solving the litter problem by taking the high students that earned detentions and make them clean the campus instead of sitting around watching a clock.

One of the kids complained to his or her mommy or daddy, who complained to the district office. The district office then called the principal.

The result–Mr. D. was told to stop making the students serving detention to work as if they were custodians. It  was considered cruel and unusual punishment. Discover Wyoming Park Students Expelled for Vandalism.

Return to Bookie’s Dream, Old Faithful and Chewing Gum – Part 3 or start with Part 1

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

To subscribe to “Crazy Normal”, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Bookie’s Dream, Old Faithful and Chewing Gum – Part 3/4

I knew where Bookie’s Dream slept. He had a pillow and a blanket stored in a cupboard in the teacher’s lounge next to my classroom. I was tempted to buy some lice and fleas and infest the couch, but teachers sat there too.

I complained about Bookie’s Dream to one of the VPs, but the situation continued for months until Bookie’s Dream was promoted to day-supervisor over custodians that worked.

The boss got tired of my complaints, so the problem was solved by promoting the slacker.

As much as I wanted to sabotage Bookie’s Deam, I didn’t. Maybe I should have bought some coyote urine and sprayed it on his pillow.

It was a tempting thought.

You should have seen the hallways and sidewalks–a minefield of goo. The district eventually bought a steam-cleaning machine to blast the outside walking surfaces clean of gum. Did you know that Vandalism Costs Tax Payers Money?

Continued in Bookie’s Dream, Old Faithful and Chewing Gum – Part 4 or return to Part 2

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

To subscribe to “Crazy Normal”, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Bookie’s Dream, Old Faithful and Chewing Gum – Part 2/4

I couldn’t stand teaching on a field of gooey, carpeted dirt. After a few weeks, the place started to look like fallout from a nuclear blast. I wanted Old Faithful back.

When I asked Old Faithful for a few cans of the spray that removed gum by freezing it, he told me he missed the free goodies.

As he handed me a half-dozen cans, he said, “Don’t let the spray touch your fingers. You’ll get frostbite. Try wearing protective gloves.”


Do you know how much gum 200 students can leave stuck in a classroom carpet?

Great! I earned combat pay in Vietnam for being shot at. I wondered if I should put in a request for hazardous-duty pay.

For the next few weeks, I crawled around scraping gum off the carpet. I also bought a vacuum and used it daily.

I now had two jobs—teacher and custodian while Bookie’s Dream was paid to sleep and place bets.

Some readers might wonder why I let the kids chew gum. Easy answer—I didn’t have x-ray vision and most kids make sure they weren’t chewing when I was looking. Lucky for them too.

If I had superman’s talents, I would have sizzled a few along with Bookie’s Dream.

Discover What is San Bernardino Saying about Vandalism?

Continued in Bookie’s Dream, Old Faithful and Chewing Gum – Part 3 or return to Part 1

______________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

To subscribe to “Crazy Normal”, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,