The rain in Maine falls mainly on the...um...rocks, I guess.
The school year is now well underway in central Ohio. Students have settled into familiar routines, teachers are dutifully plowing through the curriculum, and the specter of statewide standardized achievement testing is but a faint glow on the distant horizon. It's the season when the world of a teacher begins to contract like a closing camera aperture. Our collective focus is narrowed on academic objectives and the welfare of our students, leaving comparatively little time for our own extracurricular pursuits. That is why I am especially grateful that I enjoyed a totally fulfilling and restorative summer break.
If you are of the currently fashionable conservative ilk who resent educators as bloated, public-sector leeches sucking the monetary lifeblood out of taxpayer coffers, then read no further, unless you want to risk being provoked into a jealous and indignant rage. For while you were slaving away, trying to prime the sluggish circulation of our torpid economy, I was enjoying the better part of June, July and August in a leisurely existence free from the annoyance of a weekday clock alarm. Seething yet? You might just want to give this lucrative education thing a try.
The brothers LeProwse, circa 1922: Barzillai, Glendower and Trevelian
As relatives go, Glendower LeProwse is as distant from me as a third-generation relation could be. My mother's maternal uncle died fifty-one years before I was born. He lived his brief life across the Atlantic as a native of Cornwall, England. I know very little about him, and yet I feel a meaningful connection to Great Uncle Glen, thanks to one of the lengthiest and most detailed obituaries I have ever seen.
Born in 1913 to Phillip and Asineth LeProwse, Glendower was the youngest of three brothers. Trevelyan, known informally as Trevy, was the middle child. The eldest, with the impressive moniker of Frederick J. Barzillai LeProwse, would emigrate to the United States in 1922 and marry the woman who would become my maternal grandmother. The three siblings grew up in Ludgvan on the family farm, which was christened Bar-Tre-Glen in their honor.
I consider myself an Anglophile. I have an inherent fascination with English life, from its customs to its colloquialisms. I like listening to BBC Radio. My pop culture preferences warmly embrace The Beatles, ELP, Pink Floyd, and all things Python. I'm charmed by E.F. Benson's Lucia novels and captivated by Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. I have ancestral ties to Cornwall (my maternal grandfather was born and raised in Truro). Nothing would please me more than to spend a lengthy sabbatical exploring Britain. Yet for all my natural interest in England, I cannot muster so much as a dollop of enthusiasm for today's royal wedding.
Apparently that puts me in good standing with two-thirds of the British population, the demographic block identified by pollsters as those who will not be watching the ceremony. According to CBS News, half of the United Kingdom claims to be "actively uninterested" in the whole affair, and I share their passionate apathy. The relentless news coverage is bad enough here; I can only imagine how unavoidable it must be in England.