Despite my grouchiness, Donorschoose keeps sending me thank-you notes.  Despite my grouchiness, I keep finding them wonderful.  Today I received a batch of cards from the classroom of Mrs. Horton, where I had contributed to the purchase of a globe, and apparently some other stuff that I hadn’t paid attention to when making the donation.

Dear Lime Duck,

Thank you for the solar system machine and the globe it really helped our class learn.  Our old globe was from like the 1980’s well thank you for helping our class learn!

Solar system machine?  I have no idea what that is, but I wish I’d had one when I was in school.  “Like from the 1980s” (yes, I’m pedantically omitting the common but superfluous apostrophe) I just love that turn of phrase, it reminds me of how we spoke, like, in the ’80s. (yes, that’s where the apostrophe should go if you drop the century)

These notes are charming and heartwarming all right, but you know what I would really have loved?  I would have loved to get that 1980s globe in return for helping to buy those kids a new one.  East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, what a world.   But I’m being selfish here – what a great lesson it would be for the students to document and research the differences between the globe of 1980 and the globe of today!  Not only have countries come and gone, but the very art and science of cartography have changed.

I’ll spare you my usual lecture on the importance of geography in education, but in exchange, you’ve got to promise not to throw away your old maps and globes without one last round of study.