Breakfast at McDonalds

Published on: Author: bette 4 Comments


Breakfast at McDonalds:  Reflections on Voices and Values


We are finally on our way home after spending almost 4 months in the sun.   They call the folks from Canada who descend on the California and Arizona deserts every winter “Snowbirds.”   We’re only from Oregon so I think of us as “Rainbirds” . . . but it’s just about the same thing.


This year I have been keeping myself busy by looking back through 13 years’ worth of miscellaneous writing that is clogging my computer.   Some of it is not worth keeping . . . but every once in awhile I run across  something that I wrote when particularly inspired but have never shared with anyone.  Except, perhaps, my husband.


Today I ran across a piece I wrote in June 1999.   That was just about a year after I left classroom teaching and Richard and I moved to Brookings, Oregon.   As I read it almost 13 years later I realize once again why I have titled this blog “Meanderings.”   Rich and I weren’t traveling as much back then,  but my mind was certainly meandering — perhaps even more than it is these days!      As I read  “Breakfast at McDonalds”  I can still feel the same frustration I was feeling after I left teaching and was beginning to experience a different side of how it feels to be a child growing up in an adult’s world.


I had forgotten all about the “Beanie Baby” craze . . .  but I have a feeling that Molly – who is now in her early 20’s – still remembers.    I was over 50 when I wrote “Breakfast at McDonalds”  but I’m not surprised how many snippets of thoughts and images from my own past bubbled to the surface as I ate breakfast alone that morning letting my mind “meander.”   Many of my recollections were based on Bible verses and  Sunday School songs that were so much a part of my own childhood.  Others were lyrics from Broadway musicals or pop songs from the 60’s and 70’s when I was Molly’s age.

The world has changed a lot in the past 13 years.   Sometimes that’s a bit scary for me.  Instead of Beanie Babies, children are now hooked on Harry Potter . . . and more recently the characters from the Twilight movies and Hunger Games.   I’m not sure if that’s better or worse . . . but I do know that our kids continue to learn from what we are modeling for them as a society.


So while educators argue over the meaning of test scores and spend their time analyzing the Common Core Standards . . . our kids continue to learn in spite of all of that.   Molly and most of her contemporaries  are doing fine because they have had enough support from their families, teachers, and communities to figure it all out for themselves.       But isn’t that what learning has always been about?


Breakfast at McDonalds:  Reflections on Voices and Values

4 Responses to Breakfast at McDonalds Comments (RSS) Comments (RSS)

  1. I just re-posted this one today after Debbie posted yet another Beany Baby story on Facebook. Now I’m wondering if Clint and Patricia will be notified if I leave a comment here. I hope so because, Patricia, the email address I have for you doesn’t work anymore. Bill Spady has lost contact too . . . so email me if you do get this notification! ( :-)!

  2. Thanks for the comments, Patricia and Clint. It’s nice to know someone is reading!

    I haven’t felt inspired to write lately because what I hear about education is just too depressing. My husband found this article in the NY Times the other day:

    Is there anything we can do to counteract this trend? Unfortunately, Clint, I don’t think education has been static since I left the classroom in 1998. It has become far more restrictive in terms of what teachers are able to do to address individual needs.

  3. Good meandering, Bette!

    It is interesting to note the changes in our childrens’ interests over the years and juxtapose those with the static content of public education. Public education’s efforts remind me of the old Albert Einstein quote – “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

  4. Great piece. We all need to more take time for our mind to meander, and yes, kids learn in spite of the adults. Education has become what is good for the adult, not what is good for the kid. So sad, so sad.

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