The Springer Brothers’ Reunion Tour (Part 1)

Meeting my great blogging friend, Jennie, for the first time in person.

I’ve just returned from a two-week excursion, following through on one of my long-held goals of visiting each of my three brothers. My wife typically books and organizes our travel plans, but this was my trip, and I wanted to handle everything without her help. The trek involved buying plane tickets, renting a car, getting hotels in some cities, planning activities I wanted to do, and essentially creating a workable plan.

Another part of the trip (the part I’m writing about today) was a promise I made to myself about meeting up with a couple of friends I’ve met through our blogs. I’ve been blogging for three years, and inevitably, some of the people we interact with become more than acquaintances.

Because I was a teacher for 31 years, it’s probably no surprise that many of my friends are also in education. My wife also became an educator (preschool teacher and then director). If someone asked me to list five words to describe myself, one of those words would have to be “teacher.” It’s not the only thing that defines me, but it is the essence of my character. I write many of my posts from that same perspective.

I am the youngest of four boys (men), and my brothers and I live in different time zones across the United States. We hold family reunions every three years, but I rarely see them otherwise. I live on the west coast (California), and my oldest brother lives in the eastern part of the country (New Jersey). Since I was heading back east to start my journey, this was my opportunity to visit two blogging friends that I’ve always wanted to meet. Admittedly, it can be awkward to suggest meeting up with someone who we’ve never met in person, but that is what I did.

The first blogger I had to meet was the incredible Jennie Fitzkee, who blogs at https://jenniefitzkee.com/. I was impressed with Jennie the moment I discovered her blog three years ago. The thought and effort she put into her lessons demonstrate her expertise. She realizes one of the key components in working with her students’ families is communication. She started a blog for the parents that allowed them to see what was happening in their child’s classroom. One doesn’t have to be an educator to understand that Jennie is the kind of exceptional teacher anyone would love their child to have.

Meeting up with Jennie in her Classroom

Jennie’s natural enthusiasm for what she does is infectious. Spending part of a school day with her reinforced my long-held belief that outstanding teachers make a difference in children’s lives. One of Jennie’s passions is literacy. When she learned that her home state of West Virginia was one of the states that spent the least amount of dollars on education, she wanted to do something to help. Check out this appearance that Jennie made on the Kelly Clarkson show a few months ago, where she talks about her efforts for the Read Aloud West Virginia Reading Program.

https://www.nbc.com/the-kelly-clarkson-show/video/preschool-teacher-gets-huge-surprise-after-35-years-connecting-kids-with-books/824261977

One example of Jennie’s brilliance involves her method of teaching diversity and inclusion. The population in Jennie’s hometown of Groton, MA, is predominately White (82%). Instead of using an African American, Asian, or Spanish doll to foster the concept of acceptance, Jennie developed her own idea. Older adults can sometimes seem scary to kids, but Jennie used this fear to teach inclusion. At first glance, Gloria appears to be a spooky witch. Wouldn’t she be frightening to children? Jennie told her students that Gloria was shy and used to live in a different school where children called her a witch. Instead of being fearful of someone who looked different than them, the students felt empathy. More than twenty years ago Gloria entered Jennie’s classroom and is still a valuable class member.

Gloria and Oscar

Jennie and Gloria

This lesson runs much deeper than words. Each weekend one of the kids takes Gloria home—not to sit in the child’s room but to be a part of their lives. She takes vacations, attends graduations, goes trick-or-treating, and joins the children wherever they are going.

When Gloria goes home with a child, she always brings her journal. Over the weekend, she “writes and describes” her adventures. Is it any wonder why I have such an appreciation for Jennie’s lessons?

In the days leading up to my 3,000+ mile trip from Eureka, CA, to Groton, MA, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to attend Jennie’s class. Her school had just allowed families to return as visitors due to the ongoing concerns of COVID-19. I had hoped to read a story, sing with her class, do activities, and eat lunch with them. A few days before I left, Jennie gave me the word that I could join them. Was I ever excited!

I secretly wanted to surprise Jennie and her class with a special visitor. I brought along a book called Beaver and Otter Get Along…Sort of to read to the class. The author describes the tale as “a story of grit and patience between neighbors.” It shows children that we can work through our differences with each other when we have problems.

This is the Book I Read to Jennie’s Class

Jennie and the children did not know Otter was “typing” them a letter from California. When I finished the book, an envelope mysteriously fell out of the book addressed to The Aqua Room at Groton Community School. Inside the envelope was a letter from Oscar. Did they want me to open and read it to them? What a silly question! Of course, they did! In the letter, Oscar wrote about needing to take a vacation and wondering if he could stay awhile with his friend Gloria.

Oscar the Otter is Typing a Letter to Jennie’s Class.

As a retired teacher, I miss being around kids. Spending time with Jennie’s class was delightful, and she made sure I got to do all the things I had hoped for with them. It was a fabulous day, but I had forgotten one thing. Why hadn’t I thought of it before I left home? I live right by the Pacific Ocean in the heart of the redwood country. It was unlikely any of Jennie’s students had ever seen a giant redwood tree.

Reading to Jennie’s Class
Lots of Work Going on at the Building Center.
Who Let This Big Kid Into the Class?
Jennie (Playing Autoharp), One of her Students, and I Leading the Class in This Land is Your Land.

Sometimes there can be unexpected blessings with forgetfulness. When Jennie sent a package to me from her kids, it did not make it to my home the first time. I used the address 3124 Beaver Lane in Eureka, but unbeknownst to Jennie, that was a fictional place in my city. No wonder the postman was confused when he tried to deliver the letter. After Jennie got the letter returned, I gave her the actual address. My silliness turned out to be a blessing in disguise because now I can send each of Jennie’s students a postcard of a redwood tree.

Postcards of Redwoods for all of Jennie’s Students.

Jennie recommended that I stay at the beautiful Groton Inn during my stay, and it did not disappoint. If that wasn’t enough, the night came to a pleasant ending with dinner at Gibbet Hill Grill with Jennie and her wonderful husband, Steve. What a perfect way to spend a beautiful day! Spending time with Jennie and her students was the ideal way to start my vacation!

Groton Inn in Groton, MA.
Dinner with Jennie and Her Husband, Steve, at the Gibbet Hill Grill.

151 thoughts on “The Springer Brothers’ Reunion Tour (Part 1)

  1. Love that you met Jennie – my wife is the Executive Producer of “The Kelly Clarkson Show” and it was great to be able to share her story!

    Liked by 12 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 20, 2022 — 4:23 pm

      I remembered when Jennie told me that she might appear on the show. I was excited for her. My wife and I watched it on the day it aired. She is a remarkable educator.

      Liked by 6 people

  2. A wonderful post about the time you met Jennie and her children I’m sure you have left lasting memories of your visit to their classroom 🙂 x

    Liked by 6 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 20, 2022 — 4:50 pm

      I’ve got a respect for anyone who teaches, but Jennie is one of those people who gets the art of teaching. I would have loved to work with her during my career, but at least I had this one special day.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. Yes you did and thats so special, Pete.. A lovely memory plus the others you made on your trip I’m sure the children will remember you too 🤗x

        Liked by 3 people

  3. what a wonderful experience for everyone you touched with your visit and your enthusiasm. Jennie is the perfect person to start off your tour with a hearty welcome from the aqua room!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 20, 2022 — 4:53 pm

      I know your classes just exchanged pen pal letters, Beth. I used to occasionally do pen pals. Writing letters may have gone out of fashion, but it is a beautiful way to practice writing.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I’m a huge fan of letter-writing and still do it myself, so I’m so happy the kids are enjoying it.

        Liked by 4 people

  4. How special! Love the surprise letter you included in the storybook. I bet the kids loved you and cool about thinking of sending them a Redwoods picture. The Redwoods are quite impressive! Glad your trip started out in such a great way!

    Liked by 6 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 20, 2022 — 4:55 pm

      There are a lot of times when the fantasy of something doesn’t quite live up to reality, but in this case, it certainly did. While I love retirement, I’m always looking for ways to continue to work with kids.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. You are so right and I am glad this time it did live up to reality. It is amazing how you can only know someone online and meet them feeling like you are old friends. Such a cool feeling!

        Liked by 3 people

      2. petespringerauthor May 20, 2022 — 5:32 pm

        Jennie is the real deal. She is creating a love for learning right from the get-go. Both bloggers I met were precisely how I pictured them to be. I’ll post about my other experience in the next few days.

        Liked by 3 people

      3. That is Awesome! Sounds like Jennie’s students are very blessed.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. You got to meet Jennie, the Aqua Roomers, and Gloria!!! You must have had the time of your life!! Any place where children are learning is a happy place to be.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 20, 2022 — 5:35 pm

      Her students were happy, loved, and learning. What’s better than that? Jennie and Steve are salt-of-the-earth types, and I feel fortunate to have met them.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. Back in my school days, I would have said, “You lucky dog!”

        Liked by 3 people

      2. petespringerauthor May 20, 2022 — 8:49 pm

        I remember that expression. It was fun to keep others in suspense as I’ve had a few bloggers guess who I was going to visit. Now I can say I’ve also met Gloria.

        Liked by 3 people

  6. PETE! This is so wonderful. I read it twice, and Steve read it, too. Thank you for this post, and more importantly, thank you for visiting me. It was the best day, ever! We had so much fun. You were the first visitor in a classroom in the past two years. That in itself is a miracle, and it was meant to be. Oscar is beloved. When we have Morning Meeting, someone makes sure Gloria is there, and someone makes sure Oscar is, too. Stay tuned for more on my blog post. I love, love the photos you shared. Pete, I wish we lived closer. Blogging friends are true friends.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 20, 2022 — 6:01 pm

      I’m glad that Oscar is fitting in. It did cross my mind that the kids might give more attention to Oscar since he has the cute factor going for him. Somehow, I knew your students wouldn’t ignore Gloria because she is a part of the class. You fostered that feeling of family among your students, which was a beautiful thing to observe. I’m excited to hear that you still want to teach because the world needs more teachers like you, my friend. If you ever make it back to Oregon, you’ll have to come to see us because we are way up in the northwest part of California.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I will tell Oscar you said Hi! He really wants to stay. 🙂 Also, I must write about Gloria’s many adventures since she was finally able to make weekend visits after Covid restrictions eased. Her journal is a treasure. If I get to Oregon, I will definitely stop by. I’ll bring along her journal, too.

        At this time in the school year I look back and recall all that happened, things I never could have predicted. And then I realize the same thing will happen next year. How exciting! Best to you, my friend.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. What a great thing to be able to meet Jennie and be part of her class. I certainly envy you.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 20, 2022 — 6:02 pm

      It was one of the highlights of my trip. I’m so glad that I reached out to Jennie. She is a class act and a first-rate teacher.

      Liked by 4 people

  8. I am utterly gobsmacked (as the Brits say). And more than a little envious! Hugs a plenty from me to you and Jennie and Gloria.
    peace

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 20, 2022 — 8:41 pm

      Isn’t it great when things work out the way we plan them, Laura? It was a fabulous way to start what was a memorable trip. As you already know, there are some outstanding preschool teachers in the blogging world.

      Liked by 4 people

  9. Oh, wow! How wonderful it was for you to meet Jennie and made a surprise visit to her class, Pete! You read to the kids, spent a day with them. Oscar the Otter 🦦 typed a letter to the class. How creative it was. If I were still teaching, I would invite you to visit my class. This is such a fun post. Thank you for all the photos.
    Were you going to that direction anyway? I’ll be meeting with some blogging friends at the end of summer. We’ve been talking about this for quite some time. We’re from different states on the west coast and picked a place to meet. I’m sure I’ll write about that after summer.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 20, 2022 — 8:44 pm

      My oldest brother lives in New Jersey, so I knew that I might not get another opportunity if I didn’t go for it. Groton is a charming city if you ever get to travel back east, Miriam.

      Liked by 3 people

  10. Sounds like you had a fabulous day. Kudos to you for making it happen. So many people just think about doing such things and then perhaps wish they did. You have a great attitude and approach to life.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 20, 2022 — 8:46 pm

      Yep, my philosophy in retirement has been “no regrets.” This idea has been brewing in my mind for quite some time, and when my wife gave me her blessing, I was off.

      Liked by 3 people

  11. What a lovely visit, Pete! The pictures show how much you enjoyed being in Jennie’s classroom. Thanks for sharing it with all of us!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 20, 2022 — 9:06 pm

      I’ve been a fan of Jennie’s blog since the first time I found it. Even though I taught older kids than she does, our teaching philosophies are very similar. It’s a pleasure to watch anyone skilled at their job, especially when it comes to working with children.

      Liked by 4 people

  12. What a super opportunity to meet a friend and get back in the classroom. You look so happy there.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 20, 2022 — 11:00 pm

      I feel like I’ve still got something left in the tank to give to the causes I’m interested in. Helping children is always something worth doing.

      Liked by 3 people

  13. I am always envious that teachers have a vocation. I always had a job. When my wife took her first full-time teaching post, the first thing I asked was: “How much are you getting paid?” She stunned me when she answered: “I don’t know. I didn’t think to ask.”

    Liked by 6 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 20, 2022 — 11:03 pm

      As I was looking at my first paycheck, I remember thinking, “This is so cool, and I get paid to do it too.” All I’ve ever wanted for my son is to be happy in his job.

      Liked by 5 people

  14. Ah, man. You lucky dog! I’ve wanted to be a student in Jennie’s classroom since first stumbling across her blog years ago. She’s so organized and so good with kids. I also share her love of books -so so cool that you got to read with the kids, too!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 20, 2022 — 11:10 pm

      I worked with many great teachers, but some teachers tend to burn out over time. Jennis still has that fire we recognize in someone who loves what they’re doing. As I’ve said to her before, she should be in charge of a program teaching future teachers. Young teachers need good role models when they’re first starting out. I could totally see Jennie filling that role.

      Liked by 4 people

  15. I could not be happier for you, my friend! As always, you tell the story wonderfully and your readers become engrossed in your adventures. I am happy to see you so happy. Can’t wait to hear about the rest of your trip!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 21, 2022 — 8:47 am

      Though I have only known Jennie for three years, I feel like I’ve known her much longer than that. Meeting celebrity types does nothing for me, but connecting with genuine, down-to-earth people who inspire me with their big hearts is what I treasure.

      Liked by 3 people

  16. Blimey, am I jealous! That was a delightful post, Pete and I can just imagine sitting there absorbing your delight. Now to find a schedule that takes me to the East and West coasts..

    Liked by 6 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 21, 2022 — 8:51 am

      One of the best aspects of retirement for me is that I can pull off things such as this without the problem of impending work deadlines and responsibilities. One thing I did well was to live in the moment with the people in front of me. That meant never spending more than 15 minutes any day blogging or on social media.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. A wise philosophy… which reminds me i need to get in that garden…

        Liked by 2 people

  17. How nice to meet Jennifer. You looked right at home in her classroom. As we say in Arkansas – “You were in hog heaven!”

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 21, 2022 — 8:53 am

      I look so comfortable because Jennie was the perfect host. The youngest grade I ever taught was 2nd grade, so this was a bit of a change for me. It’s hard not to be joyful around kids.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes, kids are joyful little creatures. Jennifer sounds like one of those excellent teachers.

        Liked by 2 people

  18. Lucky you to meet Jennie in person! Thanks for the picture because now we know she is real, not a storybook character! (just joking) I would love to meet Jennie one day and read to her class. I have been lucky to meet a few of my blogging friends over the years. It is always so special as we feel we already know each other well. It looks like it was a very special day!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 21, 2022 — 8:57 am

      If there’s one thing Covid has reinforced for me, it’s that we shouldn’t take any of these experiences for granted. Simple pleasures like getting together with a friend over coffee are special. Then there are trips and memories like this that will stay with me forever

      Liked by 3 people

  19. What a lovely post! I’m glad you got to meet up with Jennie and share stories.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 21, 2022 — 9:05 am

      I was volunteering at my former school before Covid happened, and I know there is a part of me that misses that. Spending time with them and having a lovely evening with Jennie and Steve was the icing on the cake.

      Liked by 5 people

  20. How wonderful that you were able to meet with Jennie and spend the day with her class. She is such an inspiring teacher!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 21, 2022 — 9:09 am

      Teachers inspire children, but they also influence other educators. I used to feed off the enthusiasm of new teachers entering the profession, which reminded me why I chose this noble profession. I imagine it’s the same feeling for others who get to see someone in their element. Jennie’s love for her job and students is contagious.

      Liked by 4 people

  21. I can’t overstate how cool that trip was, Pete–to visit her class and read to them. A dream. Kudos to you!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 21, 2022 — 9:12 am

      I can’t help but marvel at that I’ve read to seniors and young children this same month. The beauty of stories is they connect with people of all ages.

      Liked by 4 people

  22. Absolutely wonderful post Pete and so envious of your time with Jennie and her students. You clearly had an amazing time as did Jennie and the class… Thanks so much for sharing this with us.. xx

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 21, 2022 — 9:15 am

      I had another blogger stop along the way that was a must for me before spending some quality one-on-one time with each brother. At least two more posts coming from this terrific experience. If you lived closer, I know I’d love the opportunity to meet you and David.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. That would be amazing Pete.. perhaps Ireland or us coming to the States at some point, so many of you that side of the Atlantic… Look forward to reading the other posts as they come up..hugsx

        Liked by 3 people

  23. A lovely post, Pete, as always. Those kids are very lucky to have teachers like you and Jennie – not all are so fortunate.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 21, 2022 — 9:18 am

      Not all teachers are created equal, and I hope her students’ parents know that they have hit the jackpot with Jennie. One of the best parts of the Kelly Clarkson show was listening to the impact that she made in her former student’s (Eamonn) life as a child and adult,

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I’m sure they appreciate all that she does for their children. As for the Kelly Clarkson clip I’ll have to take your word for that as it is blocked from viewing here!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. petespringerauthor May 21, 2022 — 5:22 pm

        We seem to run into this problem a lot. The only clip I can find on YouTube is the one produced by one of the major networks, and I was afraid that might happen.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. It happens often with some American tv companies. The only way we can see Kelly Clarkson is their official, YouTube channel and the clips they post there. From what I’ve seen that isn’t much of a loss, though it is in Jennie’s case!

        Liked by 2 people

  24. Oh my goodness, Pete! It’s seldom we ever get to meet our blogging family, and what a treat to get to meet Jennie. But even more so, to meet her students and interact in the classroom. I look forward to hearing more about your journey!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 21, 2022 — 9:21 am

      When I started blogging over three years ago, I had no idea what the attraction was to it. Now I understand—it’s about connecting with ordinary people in extraordinary ways.

      Liked by 3 people

  25. What a superb way to start your trip! A day in the classroom with children – something I didn’t get to do until I retired from teaching med students!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 21, 2022 — 9:25 am

      I imagine you got pretty invested in your students’ lives, Noelle. It happens to all of us. One of my former students (I taught her mom in my student teaching year and her in second grade) is getting married today.

      Liked by 3 people

  26. HI Pete, what fun that you met Jennie. I can see why you two would get along marvelously. You are both amazing and special teachers. Thanks for sharing your pictures and your story.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 21, 2022 — 6:15 pm

      Thanks for the nice compliment, Robbie. I’m so happy that I decided to make this trip. I’ve read so many fabulous stories about Jennie’s class, and now I got to experience her students in person.

      Liked by 3 people

  27. This is so amazing! I am dying to meet some of my blogger friends in real life too – hope that happens some time.
    Love that you were able to interact with Jennie’s class! The book and the letter – all such cute ideas. I’m sure you must have been a phenomenal teacher.
    Going to go check out Jennie’s blog. (So cool that she was on “The Kelly Clarkson Show”!)

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 21, 2022 — 6:18 pm

      Jennie and I believe in having fun with our students. Learning should be a joyful experience. One of my favorite parts of the job was writing skits and then acting them out with my students for the rest of the school.

      Liked by 2 people

  28. Oh Pete, I had been looking for this post to come up in my reader! What a wonderful, life-affirming demonstration of what it means to teach, to engage with and inspire the next generation to explore the joy of learning. Jennie and you are a dynamic duo as are Gloria and Oscar!!!. I enjoyed listening to Jennie’s ideas on the Kelly Clarkson show. Literacy opens a world of possibilities and opportunities. I am so glad that you were able to read to Jennie’s students. I am looking forward to the not-to-be-missed Part 2 of the Springer Brothers’ Reunion Tour.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 21, 2022 — 6:24 pm

      I’m looking forward to sharing each part of this trip. It’s been fun keeping the identity of the people I visited a secret up until now. Part 2 will be in a couple more days. Spending time with each of my brothers was also equally rewarding. I’ll have to see if I can get that all in Part 3 of this excellent trip.

      Liked by 2 people

  29. You made the best possible use of your travel time. One of the many pleasures of blogging is meeting digital friends or hosting them in our home. I met 5 blogging friends early in my blogging history, and most recently have hosted Author Liesbet and her husband and doggie daughter. You remind me that my sisters and I are long overdue for a get-together, always blog fodder.

    Pete, you get extra points for planning the trip yourself this time – ha!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 21, 2022 — 6:26 pm

      I’m a big fan of Liesbet’s blog. That must have been a kick. Even though I can’t see myself on the road as much as she and Mark are, I’m fascinated by their lifestyle.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 21, 2022 — 6:27 pm

      It really was, Dorothy. Thanks for checking in.

      Liked by 2 people

  30. Awesome and then some! 💞 Ah, for the love of teaching, teachers and students… Thanks so much for sharing, Pete!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 21, 2022 — 6:30 pm

      I always did a lot of team teaching and cross-age tutoring when I taught, Bette. It was a great thing for both ages. Some of the older children who could sometimes be behavior problems rose to the occasion when put in a position of responsibility. Of course, the younger children loved having an older buddy looking out for them.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Like you, team teaching and multi-age level teaching/learning were a core that helped everyone (including me) shine and grow!

        Liked by 1 person

  31. How cool that you got to meet a blogger in real life. And that you got to see Oscar the Otter typing. Not everyone has that kind of good luck.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 21, 2022 — 6:34 pm

      Haha! We’re working on Oscar’s words per minute. I had no idea that I would ever meet any of my fellow bloggers when I started this thing.

      I’m always impressed by the quality of your posts and how many people comment, Ally. I’m smart enough to take my cues from those of you who have been doing this longer than me.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you. I’m flattered.

        Liked by 2 people

  32. Great to see you and Jennie get together, Pete. And the otter is going to enjoy his vacation, I’m sure!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 22, 2022 — 8:00 am

      You’ve built an amazing audience over the years, Pete. I’ve read many of their comments and feel I know them without following their blogs. (David comes to mind with his ever-present wit.) Meeting Jennie was one of the highlights of my trip.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Pete. I can understand why Jennie would be a highlight. She is inspirational.
        Best wishes, Pete.

        Liked by 1 person

  33. Who let that big kid into the classroom? Hahahahahaha, good one. Boy, were you shining in your element Pete. What a great book choice and it was so creative to have a “letter” slip out from Otter. And then, the idea pops into your head about sharing the magnificence of Redwood trees, so they all will get postcards. There’s no doubt you have the soul of a teacher. So glad your trip was so rewarding for you. I know there’s more to come.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 22, 2022 — 5:09 pm

      Blogger #2 took me all around Philadelphia. I “ran” the famous steps from the Rocky movie. I kept appreciating how much more relaxed I was than if I had to navigate the city on my own. I’ll post that one midweek. Thanks for checking in, Melanie.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Melanie, I’m so glad I let that big kid into the classroom. His redwood tree postcards arrived today! I called each child up as I read their name on the postcard (well, I shouted it), and the child came flying over to get their postcard. It was a moment for each child!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. petespringerauthor May 24, 2022 — 3:57 pm

        Can you see me smiling, imagining the image, Jennie? Hopefully, they’ll someday get to see one in person.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I can see you ‘there’, smiling. I do hope they get to see one someday.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks for the wonderful follow-up Jennie! They will hold onto those cards for a long time and always remember Pete and that day.

        Liked by 2 people

  34. I follow Jennie’s blog and delightful to share your visit with her. The children would be amazed to see the post cards of the Giant Redwood – I’m amazed!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 22, 2022 — 5:57 pm

      It is always a pleasure to spend time with anyone committed to their craft. Jennie goes the extra mile for her students, and it’s not surprising that so many others are also inspired by her.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. They arrived today! The children were thrilled.

      Liked by 1 person

  35. I’ve made some great blogging friends, although I have only met one so far. It was a delightful visit. Glad you were able to meet Jennie. It sounds like a great time.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 22, 2022 — 7:48 pm

      I’m going to quit referring to her as a blogging friend. She is simply my friend, and I’m proud to have worked in a profession where people like Jennie change lives every day they teach.

      Liked by 2 people

  36. A memorable detour to the main agenda! The kids “otter” remember your visit for a long time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 23, 2022 — 7:47 am

      Yes, I had to take the opportunity to meet Jennie, or it might not have happened. The Springer Brothers don’t appear until the third act. I’ve primarily been MIA from the blogs for two weeks, but I knew they’d be fine without my presence.

      Liked by 1 person

  37. It was so great to see Jennie here and be a part of her classroom. The class must have been so delighted to meet you! That inn look gorgeous – I’m so glad you were able to dine together. Toni x

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 23, 2022 — 5:31 pm

      A truly perfect day, Toni. I feel like Jennie rolled out the red carpet and made my stay such a pleasant one. I just got a big (as in size) letter in the mail today from them that I may have to add to the end of this post.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Toni, it was perfect. Groton is small and old, and the Inn has a beautiful view. Pete in the classroom was the best!

      Liked by 2 people

  38. What a fantastic meeting of two dynamic, caring educators. Loved seeing you with the kids in Jennie’s classroom. You and Jennie must have gabbed and gabbed! I’d love to meet a friend blogger someday! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 23, 2022 — 5:35 pm

      After following Jennie’s blog for a time, I decided I had to meet her. She is everything right about teaching. I love the stories she shares about former students coming back to say hello or volunteer in her class. Kids find a way to show their appreciation in ways that touch a teacher’s heart. I got a college graduation announcement a few days ago, and my wife and I are going to the wedding of one of my previous students in a few months.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Debby, it was the highlight of my year. Yes, Pete with the children was like bees going to honey, because children instinctively know good people. Watching that happen was was wonderful. We gabbed!!! I hope you get the same opportunity.

      Liked by 2 people

  39. It’s nice to see a celebrity like Kelly Clarkson doing so much to promote childhood literacy and education. Jennie’s enthusiasm for educating children was quite evident on the Kelly Clarkson clip. Just a few months back the Executive
    Director of the organization I tutor with (School On Wheels) made an appearance on her show. Here’s the link for that clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnmLdlPxBaA&t=69s

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 24, 2022 — 12:25 pm

      What a great organization! Thanks for sending me the clip, Bruce. The bond between volunteer and student is super impressive. It’s fantastic to see the relationship between Chynna and Katie and how Chynna is going on to be a leader herself. I’m going to pass it on to Jennie because I know she will love it too.

      I’ve got many questions about Schools on Wheels, and this is precisely the kind of thing I love blogging about. If you’re okay with it, I’d like to write a story about this in a couple of months. Do you work exclusively with one student or multiple students? How has your experience been?

      Like

    2. Thank you. Kelly is the real deal. I’m so glad School on Wheels was on her show. I’ll be watching the video clip.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Sure Pete, you can do a story about School On Wheels. I’m sure they’d love the additional exposure. I’ve been working with a fifth-grader but can work with additional students when a good match is found. The experience has been great but tutoring virtually is a bit difficult. I tutor math and do periodic assessments of my student. He’s shown some improvement so that’s rewarding for me as well as him.

      Like

  40. That is so special that you got to explore Jennie’s hometown and be part of her classroom! I love that two passionate educators and fellow bloggers got to meet and enjoy each others company in real life! Jennie’s students are so lucky to have such a wonderful teacher to inspire them every day to be passionate about reading and show compassion and be inclusive with their mates! 💕

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 24, 2022 — 8:11 pm

      Being around Jennie reminded me why I love the teaching profession. Her classroom is a well-oiled machine. Her students are happy, learning, and loved. She is inspiring children (not to mention retired teachers) and changing lives.

      Liked by 2 people

  41. Well somebody’s back! Great to see you again, Pete, and what a great story to kick off your return! Always great to see pics of the person behind the blog (even if I’ve seen your pics before), and experience your slices of life with you.

    And meeting a fellow blogger for the first time? That’s pretty kick-ass. Plus you got to rekindle the teaching flames in her class? I’ve made some nice friends here on WordPress, but you’ve taken it to another level. What a treat this post was, and by the way, you’re looking mighty fit if I do say so myself.

    Anyway, looking forward to more posts, and maybe you could extend your bloggers meet up if you’re ever in Southeast Asia!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 24, 2022 — 10:27 pm

      One of the things I did exceptionally well on this trip was to live in the moment. We tell ourselves to do that, but we often fall short. I’m in that sweet spot in life with a philosophy of no regrets, and I will keep checking things off the Springer Bucket List. Southeast Asia? Who knows? Never say never.

      Like

  42. It’s wonderful you took the initiative to reach out to Jennie on your vacation, Pete. I can see the joy you had sharing the day with her classroom 🙂 Can you volunteer at your local school? It could be a great way to stay connected with the kids you obviously love.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 25, 2022 — 1:57 pm

      I used to volunteer at my old elementary school when they needed help with something. That stopped with Covid. Since I retired, there has been a change in administration, and many other new people work there who don’t know me. I am involved with the children’s author festival committee (Helping to bring 25 children’s authors to our county schools to talk about books and the life of an author) and reading to seniors in assisted living. I hope to start a reading group for kids at the county library.

      Liked by 2 people

  43. Congratulations to this wonderful personal meeting, also with Gloria. Now we all know Jennie is not AI invented by the MIT. Lol (Sorry!) Great to see you in action, Pete! The T-shirt you are wearing on the first photo is also wonderful. What an great idea, this hook up in real. Thanks for sharing your impressions, and best wishes, Michael.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 25, 2022 — 2:00 pm

      Thanks for the reblog, Michael. Many other bloggers and I appreciate your support.

      Like

    2. petespringerauthor May 25, 2022 — 2:03 pm

      I’ve wanted to meet Jennie for quite some time because her passion for what she does is inspiring. I may be retired, but I still have more to give to the field of education. I’ve decided that writing is simply my new form of teaching.

      Like

    3. Michael, thank you! It was a wonderful day. Pete is the real deal and the children adored him. I’m so glad you know I’m not AI invented. Haha!

      Liked by 1 person

  44. Awww. How amazing, Pete (and Jennie) that you were able to connect… And visit the classroom. What fun. I’m also in awe of Jennie’s skill as a teacher and the fun learning experiences that are happening in her classroom. And I loved hearing about the letter dropping out of the book. Lol. And glad the address mix-up ended up working out. Great post!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 25, 2022 — 2:14 pm

      I’ve always enjoyed watching any professional who is good at their craft. Because my heart will always support my fellow teachers and the field of education, meeting an expert like Jennie was critical to me. She did not disappoint.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. It must have been a blast. I hope you’re whole trip has been wonderful.

        Like

    2. Pete keeps talking about watching an expert at her craft. Well, I watched an expert at his craft. He was an unknown to children, but that only lasted for maybe three minutes. Thank you, Diana!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I loved the photos, Jennie, and could see how much he was enjoying himself. The kids too. All in their elements. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Yes, Diana. You are spot on!

        Liked by 1 person

  45. Once a teacher, always a teacher. I think you told me that once. 🙂 What a wonderful way to start your vacation off. What age are the kids in Jennie’s class? Are they first graders or younger?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. petespringerauthor May 25, 2022 — 3:27 pm

      Preschool age—most kids are probably four, and some may have recently turned five. The youngest children I taught were in second grade (7 or 8 years old.) My wife was a preschool teacher and director, so I’ve known and appreciated the learning that takes place in preschool.

      I’ve been using that line lately—writing is my new form of teaching. We, teachers, do not go quietly. 🤣

      Liked by 2 people

      1. We definitely do not go quietly. I love that line, too.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. ‘Once a teacher, always a teacher’ is absolutely true!

      Liked by 1 person

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