Is it possible that the Holiday weekend is already behind us?
My fall semester has been impossible. I am an "adjunct" professor,
which, as academically-employed or involved people reading here
know, means that I teach the courses better placed professors don't
want to teach, at minimum wage salary for the hours I put in.
My classes are huge and very demanding.
I'm not complaining! I'm just saying that from September till
Thanksgiving I barely had time to brush my teeth.
Then Thanksgiving came around and I vowed that I would not do any
school-related work for the holiday weekend, and I didn't. I went to
see movies -- "Casino Royale," "Bobby," "Happy Feet," and "Stranger
Any movie fans reading? My reviews are here:
Now I am back at work. And feeling it.
Anyway, I have read a few comments since mine and I have been really
touched and educated by them. I haven't read them all because I am
basically a tremendously shy person and I get a squiggly feeling in
my stomach every time I publish something, and I wish I could hide
out in a cave somewhere. For whatever reason, I find positive
comments as hard to read as negative ones. My palms sweat and I get
sick to my stomach.
I will read all the comments, positive and negative, and respond, as
I will just tell this one story, which I really wanted to tell.
I conducted the interviews on which that article was based many
years ago. Unfortunately, my mother passed away in 2001, and she
never got to see this article in print.
I really sweated over one name in the interview. To me, it sounded
as if my mother were naming a family whose name should be
spelled "Shuktar." So, I spelled the name, provisionally, "Shuktar,"
even though I couldn't find that name as a Slovak surname anywhere.
When I learned, in April, that this article would be published, I
began searching ferociously for a Slovak surname that would be
spelled something like "Shuktar." Even though my mother mentioned
this name only once, and in passing, I searched with great care
because it has been my experience that articles about Slavic people,
if anyone pays any attention to them at all, are often, alas,
attacked. So, I wanted to be sure to dot all my i's and cross all my
I did everything I could think of to do. I didn't stick to one
spelling -- tried several variations. Searched Slovak web pages.
Called the Slavic Area and Subject librarian at my alma mater.
I spent *days* on this one name.
I wished I could contact my mother, but, of course, she had gone on
to her heavenly reward, so I could not.
Finally, I took a break, and spent some time reading a book I had
checked out of the library. The topic of the book was Afterlife
Communication -- that is, communication between the living and the
I had not read one whole page when a name popped out at me. The
author of the book on Afterlife Communication cited studies
performed by a doctor whose name was SHUCHTER. Steven Roy Shuchter.
I emailed him and asked if his ancestors came from Slovakia. He told
me where his ancestors came from -- I don't have his email handy --
I think he said "Austria Hungary" or something like that -- in any
case, it was a region that made sense.
So. There you have it. Even after she passed away, my mother
contributed to that article. In my opinion, anyway.