Dennis Martin has recently shared some of his amazing and detailed memories of our high school days on our class Facebook page.  Those of us who are members of the group "Winter Park High School Class of 1967" on Facebook have thoroughly enjoyed his often hilarious posts!  We hope that all of you will now be able to enjoy reading them on this website.  Your own memories just might pop up to the surface as you relive some of the things Dennis describes.  PLEASE share your memories with us!  You are invited to write blog posts for this site!  Help all of us remember...before our memories go!!!
July 17, 2016

Mrs Aylward?s Formula & Spinal Adjustments

By Dennis Martin

English was never one of my favorite subjects. I still don’t understand how a character in a novel can have feelings. It’s just ink on paper. But if literature was baffling, fathoming the rules of punctuation was next to impossible sometimes. Why couldn’t punctuation rules be as clear as mathematical rules? (I know that sentence doesn’t make sense to some people.) Even today, before a college student can write a paper, they have to ask the instructor whether to use CMS, APA or MLA style. My PhD dissertation was even more complicated to punctuate, since my primary adviser was British and insisted, against my other advisers, that British punctuation needed to prevail. But I do remember one simple formula that Mrs. Aylward taught us that got me through all of my writing and which I passed on to hundreds of my own students over the years. It concerns how to form a possessive. Take the word that you want to make possessive, add an apostrophe and an ess, then if there are two or more esses in a row, knock off the last ess. It works almost every time. But it’s not without its exceptions. (lol)

The long-term lesson I learned from this was that there are some people who don’t want to hear all of the nuances, exceptions to the rules, and different ways of doing things. “Just give me a rule that works most of the time.” When teaching math and logic courses in college, if possible I would show students one way that worked every time. I didn’t force students to do the same problem three different ways. Some students could master the alternative methods and see their advantages, but I thought it was also important that the weaker students feel the confidence of working to the right answer before moving on to the next topic I gained a reputation among students on campus for my ability to “break it down.”

Mrs. Aylward’s class had a large, unabridged dictionary on a dictionary stand. I was totally impressed – largest book I had ever seen. One day she taught us about dictionary etiquette. Be extra careful when you turn the pages, because they are thinner than most pages. If you need to move from the letter D to the letter K, say, only turn about an inch thickness at a time, because grabbing more and flipping it will crease the pages. When finished with the dictionary, leave it open about midway through the book, since this will protect the spine in the long run. To this day, if I pass a thick book on a dictionary-type stand that is open but not midway, I will do the proper spinal adjustment for Mrs. Aylward.

Next up . . . . Mrs. Rosenberg.


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