Great American Conversations
                     With The Alumni of RHS
                  Issue #94 ~ October 9, 2000

                     "Little drops of water,
                      little grains of sand, 
                      make the mighty ocean
                      and the pleasant land;

                      so the little minutes
                      humble as they may be,
                      make the mighty ages
                      of eternity."
              - Fletcher Carney

        Why Worry?
        Mary Ray Henslee `61

        Let's Focus On The Person, Not The Lifestyle
        Lynn-Marie Hatcher `68

        It's Time To Open The Doors
        Linda Merrill Hendley `64

       It's Against God's Law
       Jimmie A. Shipman Class `51

       Just Because There's A Book There 
       Doesn't  Mean I Have To Read It
       Peggy (Roesch) Wallan `71

       She Need Not Be Ashamed
       Staci Campbell `86

       Showing Respect "for which it stands."
       Linda Reining Pitchford `64


Subj:    Why Worry?
From:   Mary Ray Henslee (61)

To:  Bob Carlson (54)

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  To
 think that Gore's stand against HMO's will not
 adversely effect the present Medicare system is
 foolhardy.  The road is already being paved.  This
 administration is already neglecting to properly fund
 the HMO's, which is causing HMO's to pull out of
 the system.  If you don't think that this is cause for
 concern, I think that it would behoove you to get a
 hold of a Medicare booklet and find out just what
 your out-of-pocket expenses will be if you do not
 have a Medicare HMO to supplement your
 Medicare.  Why worry?

Although many of the candidate's pledges will never
 be passed by Congress, they do speak volumes about
 how a candidate thinks, their character, and what
 direction they are going to take once they get into
 office.  Otherwise, there would be no real reason for
 campaigning and certainly no reason for us to bother
 wasting our time listening to them.  

Granted, figures are to be scoffed at, and in Gore's
 case laughed at, because his are so excessive.  We
 may be able to ignore Gore's outrageous pledges,
 but can we ignore his outlandish lying while he is
 trying to make his pledges believable?  The most
 frightening thing about Gore's lies is that we don't
 always know when he is lying because we aren't
 always privy to the facts.  We have to rely on those
 in the know to point out to us that Gore couldn't
 have done this or that because he wasn't even in
 Congress yet or no way this or that could be true
 because of this or that.  I would rather have a
 President who fumbles his words from time to time
 than a President who speaks clearly when he lies to
 me.  We are finding out more and more that Gore is
 a chameleon who will say and do anything to get
 votes and campaign money.  Right now he is only
 lying for votes, but what happens when he
 compromises the Nation's security by lying to world
 leaders?  Why worry?

Even if I agreed with Gore on the issues, I would
 have to say that his psychology is worrisome.  He
 lies far too much and is patronizing us in the process. 
 His feelings of grandeur are evident and should be
 reason for concern.  During the debate, Gore told us
 how Winifred Skinner, the lady who picks up cans to
 pay for her prescription drugs, drove to the debate in
 her "Winnebago" (Hello?) and how Kaela has to
 stand up in the back of her classroom every day
 (Hello?) because she has no desk.  I didn't end up
 feeling sorry for Winifred and Kaela, I ended up
 feeling sorry for Gore.  His comments were so far
 over the edge that they could almost be interpreted
 as a cry for help.  If I had to choose between Clinton
 and Gore, I would rather have eight more years of
 Clinton than Gore because at least Clinton has
 charisma and intelligence to compensate for any
 moral shortcomings.  To quote a quote: Two kinds
 of men generally best succeed in political life; men of
 no principle, but of great talent; and men of no
 talent, but of great principle.  Gore does not fit into
 either category.  The polls say more about the
 American people than they do about the candidates
 and they are not painting a very pretty picture right
 now.  Why worry?
                  - Mary Ray Henslee (61)

                                ~ ~ ~

Subj:  Let's Focus On The Person, Not The Lifestyle
From: Lynn-Marie Hatcher (68) (Lynn-Marie Foote, RN)

Re:  Steve Carson;  Presenting Homosexuality as an
 OK Lifestyle  [See Sandbox Issue 93]

Dear Steve,

First, I must express my condolences to you on the
 loss of your son.  I, too, have lost a son (albeit in
 infancy), and know there is no comparable pain.

Secondly, I must take exception to your implication
 that AIDS is a male, homosexual disease.  The
 fastest growing population of AIDS patients are
 heterosexual females.

Third, I am surprised that, as the father of a
 homosexual son, you are not aware that there is
 strong scientific evidence to the fact that the
 configuration of the brain of a gay person is actually
 (really and truly)! different from that of a straight
 person.  That is to say, being gay is not something
 one is taught -- it is the way one is born.  Therefore,
 what reasonable, moral choice do we have except to
 accept a gay son or daughter as he/she is?

I am dreadfully sorry that your son (and many, many
 other gay people) experience misery due to their
 alternative lifestyle --- even if they never are stricken
 with AIDS.  It seems to me that the path to lessening
 that misery (besides finding a cure for AIDS) is to
 develop more acceptance and tolerance.  Let's focus
 on the person, not on who his/her sexual 
 preferences.  After all, sexual activity is SUCH a
 small part of who we are!
                     Lynn-Marie Hatcher (68)

                                ~ ~ ~

Subj:  It's Time To Open The Doors
From: Linda Merrill Hendley ('64)

For Steve Carson
Re: Presenting Homosexuality as an OK Lifestyle
 [See Sandbox Issue 93]

I have never written to the Sandbox and probably
 never will again, but it's hard to read this and NOT
 respond--sorry it turned out so long.
Steve Carson,

I am saddened to learn that you have lost a son to
 aids.  I am sure his suffering from a disease was
 quite different from the suffering he must have
 experienced with society's rejection of his lifestyle.  
I would like to respond to your sentiments that
 "validating alternative lifestyles in the classroom
 can cause experimentation and many will be
 harmed."  First of all, experimentation among
 teenagers is expected.  And many are harmed from
 experimentation.  To NOT openly discuss areas
 teenagers might want to explore just makes the
 idea more enticing.  Teenagers need to understand
 the options and consequences of their actions.   
 As a high school teacher, I have never seen
 alternative lifestyles "aggressively promoted" in the
 classroom.  However, I have seen a huge effort
 made to teach tolerance and the appreciation of
 diversity.  Our school is richer for the newfound
 respect our students have for each other and their
 varied religions, skin colors, languages, cultures,
 AND lifestyles.  That doesn't mean that they
 embrace all that they are exposed to.  It does mean
 that they have knowledge and hopefully can make
 THEIR OWN decisions about what is right for
 them.  Too many of our teenagers resort to suicide
 when they don't find acceptance from their peers. 
 Many teenagers commit suicide because they are
 gay and have been convinced by others that they
 are not acceptable.  The classroom is the perfect
 place to let people know that they are important
 and what they give back to society is important.  

 How sad it is that your son wasn't living in a
 community that helped him to make wise (and
 safe)! Decisions about life choices.  How sad that
 he had to suffer.  Somehow, I think that his
 suffering could have been avoided if he thought he
 was valued as a person and that his health and
 safety was important.  I am confident that future
 generations will suffer less from needless rejection
 and the diversity of mankind will be tolerated in a
 more compassionate manner because teachers are
 teaching about tolerance and diversity.  

Homosexuality IS OK as a lifestyle.  It IS in the
 mainstream of our culture.  It has been for
 centuries.  It's time to open the doors, get rid of
 the closets!  We would all be so much richer for it.
               - Linda Merrill Hendley (64)

                                ~ ~ ~

Subj:   It's Against God's Law
From:   Jimmie A. Shipman Class "51"

For Steve Carson (58)
Re: Presenting Homosexuality as an OK Lifestyle
 [See Sandbox Issue 93]

I usually just read the Articles in the Sandbox but
 this one especially, caught my attention.  Why do
 we put up with these aggressive promotions of that
 lifestyle? Homosexuality is against God's Law, and
 most State Laws!! I commend you Steve for
 speaking out. God Bless.

Now go and have a good day.
           - Jimmie A. Shipman Class "51"

                              ~ ~ ~

Subj: Just Because There's A Book There 
         Doesn't  Mean I Have To Read It
From:  Peggy (Roesch) Wallan '71

RE:  The Harry Potter Stuff

Just because there's a book there, I don't have to
 read it.  There are so many GOOD books to read, I
 have to be discerning about what I spend my time
 on, and I'm not going to waste my valuable time on
 mediocre stuff or stuff that represents values I can't
 live with (such as, for me, sorcery, pornography,
 murder, etc.).  If I had children, I would model that
 value for them, just as Jenny is doing.  (You go,
 girl!)  I do have students, over 800 of 'em, and
 instead of teaching values about books, I teach
 values about music.  When asked about my
 listening tastes, I freely offer my opinion and
 describe the decision-making process I make
 before I buy a CD; that process includes whether
 or not I wish to contribute my money to the
 lifestyle or reputation or whatever of the artist (so
 I don't buy Kathleen Battle or Luciano Pavarotti or
 The Rolling Stones or The Sex Pistols).

It's the same with books.

Either way, if it's not contributing to the betterment
 of my mind, I don't waste my time with it, EVEN
 were you people when your parents challenged
 your "But everyone else is doing it, Mom!"
 whining?  If you want to read Harry Potter, please
 give me a better reason than "everyone else is
 doing it and I'll look stupid if I don't copy them." 
 Do some serious soul-searching and study your
 values, like Jenny and others here (you go, girl!!!);
 THEN read or don't read the book depending on
 your values.  And then stop berating others for
 making a decision that's different from yours. 

Curmudgeons live,
    Peggy Roesch Wallan '71, Spanaway, WA

                                ~ ~ ~

Subj:   She Need Not Be Ashamed
From:  Staci Campbell (86)

For: Chuck Monasmith
Re: The man who does not read.

So far I have been sitting back and just reading what
 everyone has to say..and keeping my 2 cents to
 myself regarding the Harry Potter books...But 
 I feel that Chuck Monasmith's comment to Jenny
 Smart about how she should be ashamed of her
 decision and that she was insulting your mother and
 every other free thinker in this world was waay out
 of line. I feel as though you may be taking this whole
 debate way too seriously. This has gone from the 
 pros and cons of reading a particular book to
 attacking a person's character about her decisions
 that she makes with her own children. I was
 personally under the impression that The Sandbox
 was a forum set up for healthy debates. Not personal
                      - Staci Campbell (86)

                                  ~ ~ ~

Subj: Showing Respect "for which it stands."
From:   Linda Reining Pitchford (64)

To Jenny Smart Page (87) regarding her comments
 on the Olympics and the "respect" shown by the
 four athletes:  

I, too, would like to know why they cannot stand on
 the podium and show the respect for the flag and
 all it stands for!  I would also like to know why 
 they DO NOT know the words to "THE STAR
 SPANGLED BANNER"!!!!!!!!!  If nothing 
 else, they should be taught it as part of their
 training, so if they are fortunate enough to "win
 gold," they can at least stand up there and sing the 
 "National Anthem"!!!!!!!!!  

I can understand being excited and happy about
 winning, BUT that is not an excuse to be a
 SMARTA_ _!!!!!!!!!! 

Thanks for letting me "vent."  
              -Linda Reining Pitchford (64)                                   
               Bakersfield, CA

                                ~ ~ ~

Note: Some of you have been including your current
 locale in your entries.  See Linda Reining Pitchford's
 example, above.  Feel free to do so also, if you like.
 I think it adds interest to the ongoing discussions
 here, to see how we have spread around the world. 
 It's interesting as well, to see how many still thrive
 in our hometown! -ap

That concludes this issue of The SANDBOX folks.
 Please include your class year and (nee) name, (if
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 are the Alumni of Richland High School, Richland
 Washington, AKA Columbia High School, 
 representing classes from 1942 through 2000. 
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                 Be faithful to your day!
                     - Al Parker (53)
                     Your SANDBOX host
                            - 94 -