Off The Grid

Living off the Grid on a west coast island

pen like Moms


I can be the master of procrastination. My mother’s house was never so clean as when I had a paper due for school.  There is no point in cleaning this house while it is under construction so  I am going to write a blog post instead of my article for Tidelines. Give me a deadline for an essay (Tidelines deadline is today) and I will find any reason at all to delay its completion to the last moment.

My mother began university at 40 when my Dad took off. To help pay the bills she would mark essays for her English profs. Before laptops and proof spell she would give an automatic ten percent advantage to students who typed their essays instead of hand written. As such, I was forced  encouraged to type anything and everything I ever submitted in school. I would sit in my bedroom at my Moms manual black Underwood typewriter, balls of rejected drafts surrounded me on the floor.

I would give the pages of canary yellow paper to my Mom to proof before I carefully typed the final draft on the expensive white paper. I was suspicious of how happy Mom seemed to be when she covered my drafts in circles of red ink. Was she disappointed when she couldn’t find anything?

In grade twelve my imbecile of an English teacher failed my essay on women in literature “Chivalry is dead” because I had used resources unavailable to other students.  (My Mother’s extensive women’s studies library). Mom, who had never been to a PTA meeting, concert or field trip in all of my years of school, took time off work to march into the principals office and demand an apology.

The first storm of  winter continues. We are into our fourth day. High winds and crazy rain has us reluctant to venture outside for much longer than the time required to bring down a load of wood. The dog is miserable.

Anne has offered to read my article and see that it makes sense. Maybe I should bring her a red

pen like Moms

Author: Off Grid Islanders

We are a retired couple living on an off grid island on the West Coast

15 thoughts on “pen like Moms

  1. Love your blog, don’t know why I have not found it sooner. Trying to guess which island you are on; we are on one a bit farther north, I think….stormy weather, along with short days, is certainly taking some getting used to. I am also a big procrastinator, currently avoiding my own next blog post, but I think you have inspired me. Thank you! By the way, is Anne the dog?!

  2. There’s a special place in hell reserved for stupid teachers (currently overbooked and filled to capacity). But English teachers were the worst. My mother was also a diligent taskmaster. AND she could write better than any teacher I ever had.

    • I had my fair share of sexist assholes… but it was forty years ago I’m supposed to have let it go:)

      • I suppose you’re right…..all my English teachers were female, uber dominant and spinsters. Hard. Bitter. They seemed to hate guys. I never thought of it as sexist at the time…just mean spirited. Well, just mean, actually. But they liked the girls, so maybe.
        Hmmmm….I should join me, too.
        Miss Brown once threw her alarm clock across the room at me. And I wasn’t doing anything. She thought I was talking but it wasn’t me. Mind you, I picked up the pieces and politely put them on her desk. THAT put her over the top…
        ….and she wasn’t the worst.

  3. It’s too bad students today are no longer schooled in spelling and grammar. When I was in school (in UK) not only were we graded on the subject matter, but also the composition. Even books these days often contain errors in spelling and grammar. It’s really sad. I think it’s great that your Mom proofed your papers and recognized the importance of good composition.

  4. Yea! for your mother!

  5. Yeah, for mine, too. She was great. But, to cut everyone a little slack……Sal and I wrote a book. Not good. Mediocre. But we’re are both sticklers for grammar and spelling. We worried that aspect til we were no longer finding errors. Then our ten beta readers had a go and found twenty errors! Then we looked again and found half a dozen more. THEN we published. You guessed it – found a few more after that. Once you’ve read something five times, you just cannot see. There is 60000+ words in that book. My guess is that at least a few more errors lurk in the pages. Editing? Easy. Editing perfectly? Impossible.

  6. I read all your blogs & look forward to the next 🙂 I love reading about your reno, the Island & especially your grand baby! Lol
    Someday I want to visit you there. ❤️

    • Thank you. I’m thrilled you like to read my stories. I hope you are recording your stories! Looking forward to seeing you and your beautiful great grand baby at Christmas. What a gift she has been! You must come see us when we are done. I look forward to it!

  7. I was a teacher, and even an administrator, but I like to think of myself as a bright light in the system. And you can tell David that I had a male chemistry teacher threw a book at me once. Gender doesn’t seem to matter. – Margy

    • my kids had excellent teachers …really really good ones.. The teachers in my school were off the charts terrible. I think they got their degrees after the war in some diploma program and were just waiting out their retirement… Thanks for reading and being one of the good teachers….!

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