And we’re back

Hi everyone,

Picture from 2019, pre-pandemic cruise

We had a wonderful time taking our family on a cruise in the Caribbean. Huge thank you to SANDY for planning the trip for eight people down to the last detail and being the perfect hostess, as always.

Best part for me was sitting together around a table at evening meals and watching JEFF, ROBIN, TIM, KRIS, TYLER, and JOSIE interacting in lively conversations and having such fun being there and loving the moment. Yesterday was long and tedious as we spent nine hours in the Fort Lauderdale airport waiting for a multi-delayed flight to Charlotte, eventually arriving there too late to make our connection — and then miraculously — that flight was delayed just long enough for us to make it. Home shortly before midnight. Sandy and I toasted each other and fell into bed. I slept in a hour this morning.

Naturally, my laptop and I had a tearful reunion and I made it certain promises that I might or might not be able to keep, but at least we’re both happy for now. The story it liked best was that I wrote the first drafts of a new story during the plane and layover times going and coming. Thank goodness for my writing pad and trusty pen. It began as an idea I thought I’d like to write about, but that never happened. Instead, the original thought segued into something quite different and kept morphing as it went. In the end, there’s no resemblance to the thought that got me started. But I like it. When I have time to type it and hone it, which may be a while, I’ll try an editor or two to see what I have.

Boy do I have a lot of catch-up stuff. It’s going to be one of those weeks.

What once was

Hi everyone,

Yesterday SANDY found an old flyer I made for our gift store, GAMBLE’S Gifts, that we owned and operated for thirty-four years from 1984 to 2018. After she retired from being a high school counselor, Sandy managed the store for twenty years until closing it. We had a wonderful staff who cared about people and were experts about our product lines. The pictures show one of our Christmas seasons. Dressing up a store to look like that was a labor of love.

Sandy still misses the store, staff, and customers and the buying trips to Dallas, Atlanta, New York, and Las Vegas, and other markets. I was on most of those trips too. My other involvement was to spend some time weekly doing back-office work, making some of our promotional pieces (especially in the early years), and designing the new layout each time we relocated the store (3) to be closer to our customer base.

We carried a lot of lines, some of them exclusively. The flyer lists Crystals: Baccarat, Lalique, Marquis by Waterford, Miller Rogaska, and Waterford. China: Christian Dior, Fitz and Floyd, Lenox, Noritake, Ralph Lauren, Royal Doulton, Spode, Villeroy and Boch, and Wedgwood. Collectibles: Department 56, Hummel, Lladro, Lowell Davis, Swarovski, All God’s Children, Bunnykins by Royal Doulton, and numerous others, and Giftware: Arthur Court, Brass by Baldwin, Fine Linens, Jewelry, Music Boxes, Root Candles, Wind Chimes, Picture Frames, Capodimonte Florals, and a host of others over the decades.

Sometimes, during quite moments of reflection, we look back at something we’ve done that we’re proud of. I feel that way about Gamble’s Gifts, but it was Sandy’s show and became an important part of her daily life for a very long time. I know she misses the store. I know she is proud of what she accomplished. She should be.

The family that cooks together…

Hi everyone,

Our time together has been special. We’re not with our son and daughter together often and we are making new memories to warm our hearts for some time to come. A favorite time is when Jeff creates some exquisite new recipe that brings us all to the kitchen to do our parts.

New acceptance, new invitation

Hi everyone,

Yesterday LAURA ROBB, MARY JO FRESCH, TIM RASINSKI, and I got word that our 3,700-word article –“The Art and Science of Teaching Reading” — has been accepted as an Op Ed column for the fall issue of California Reader. We’re delighted. Editors of education journals send out submissions to experts in the field to review. The editor of California Reader shared with us five comments about our article and they are all complimentary. Here’s one of them.Absolutely excellent discussion of the limitations of SOR (Science of Reading) and the practical applications of the ART.  We need this!!!!  Reading Specialists and Classroom Teachers alike will benefit from this easy to comprehend and apply article.  Thank you!!!

Laura Robb
Mary Jo Fresch
Tim Rasinski

On another matter, we also received an official invitation to submit a pre-recorded, 30-minute video for the 2022 Virtual CRA Literacy Conference, Connected With Literacy. “The virtual format provides us this exciting opportunity to reach out to literacy colleagues who might be willing to present 1-2 powerful literacy strategies in a short pre-recorded session. Accepted videos will be available for registrants on demand from the opening of the conference on October 21st through December 31, 2022.” We made a video for the California conference last year so we’re happy to be invited again.

And on a personal matter, I want to thank you for all your sweet birthday wishes to SANDY yesterday. I know she’ll be posting a lot of thank-you notes, too, but I have this handy format available to me so I’m taking advantage of it. THANK YOU!!


It’s Sandy’s birthday!

Hi everyone,

Today is quite special. Some years ago my sweetie was born. Every now and then, roughly July 12 each year, we like to call that fact to her attention. So here’s to my wife, AKA supervisor, M.O.W., first reader, soul mate, and lover. SANDY SUE KENNON HARRISON, Happy birthday!