In Brief: Alas, Poor Yorick! (Valentine’s Present)

Leah gave me a skull for Valentine’s Day. To be clear, Leah isn’t strange for giving it to me, and in fact, I don’t think I’m strange for wanting it. Earlier the skull caught my eye because I’m an English teacher and soon I’ll be teaching “Hamlet.” This is the play where Hamlet picks up the skull of Yorick, a dead court jester, and meditates on death and mortality. Yes, this is the play that also contains the famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy, and hopefully bringing the skull to class will help my students get into the swing of things when they recite it.

I like hands-on activities that makes literature come alive. Earlier in the month my 11th graders read “To Build a Fire” by Jack London, and then we went outside and built fires. It was cold and rainy on all the days and out of about sixty kids only twelve ever got a fire going, which was perfect (no danger to the nearby woods!). But anyway, if you read the earlier Valentine’s post about me giving Leah Japanese moss balls, this is how she paid me back, and with us recently attending a Shakespeare party, the skull was absolutely perfect. And no, it obviously isn’t a human skull. Leave a comment guessing what it is. It’s HARD!

–Jeff and Leah

PS, if you like this type of post you might want to check out our buddy at Everyday Strange, a blog about finding the odd in the ordinary.

Trivia: the quote is “Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him, Horatio,” not “Alas, poor Yorick, I knew him well!” And now you know!

11 thoughts on “In Brief: Alas, Poor Yorick! (Valentine’s Present)

  1. I’m 76, fully retired (military) and had I been lucky enough to have had an English Teacher like you, in high school and later in college, I may have learned to write better, earlier than I did. Taking your students out to build a fire after reading the Jack London book is something too few teachers do. We have two daughters who are teachers and they say the same thing. Often they are either discouraged or prohibited from doing such innovative “outside the box” schooling. I like the variety in your Blog and look forward to it. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, on so many levels. It was actually pretty hard to get the fire approved, and it was one of those things I REALLY tried for. I do think activities are important, and in an English setting they are few-and-far between (which makes them even more important). If you have a chance, tell me what your daughters teach — I’m curious.

      We really enjoy your blog, too, and it inspires me to get better at photography. Have a great night!


      1. Our oldest daughter taught Middle School science in Martinsville, Virginia until 2016 when she moved on to other things, for several reasons. Non-caring and misguided (my view) administrators, overly demanding and also non-caring parents were primary. The youngest now teaches elementary students in Eden, NC. The environment at her school is much better than it was for her older sister. We spent almost thirty years in the Army. That caused both daughters to have to frequently change schools as they grew. State to state, West (then) Germany twice. Oldest graduated from Frankfurt American High School. She later graduated from Iowa State University with a science degree. The youngest graduated from HS in Springfield, VA and later from Central Michigan University with a degree in Special Education. As for me, after my Army career I wrote for and was Editor of a magazine published by a military oriented non-profit, for almost 20 years. It was that position which peaked my journalistic and photographic psssions, having been dormant before. Perhaps this is one reason why I enjoy reading your blog, both about you and your wife. It’s interesting and fun to read. It’s the sort of stuff I always looked for from authors with whom I worked. Were I to begin all over, I can see myself doing what you do. Or perhaps being a photo journalist. Alas, not to be. But I’m quite happy how my life has turned out. It was indeed an experience. Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That was so interesting to hear! I taught in Korea for four years, and I can identify a bit with the kids abroad and in Frankfurt (I saw a lot of this). They sound like they had a great education and a great background.

          I’m so happy to hear about your experience, and it sounds like it has served you well, at least, to set up a blog. Thanks for the compliments, and we look forward to reading more!


    1. I really thought it was a woodchuck! Awww, thanks! Hopefully they like me, but if not, hopefully they are learning.

      I hear you on Shakespeare — it isn’t for everyone. Jack London though; who couldn’t like him!?!

      Liked by 1 person

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