School Days, Reminiscences of Chelsea Owens

School Days, Reminiscences of Chelsea Owens

Welcome to the School Days, Reminiscences series in which my champion bloggers and authors share reminiscences of their school days. It’s my small way of thanking them for their support and of letting you know about their services and publications.

This week, I am pleased to introduce Chelsea Owens. I first met Chelsea when she pulled up at the Carrot Ranch and joined in the flash fiction challenges. I enjoy her wry wit and sense of humour, some of which you’ll experience in her responses to my interview questions. It was also evident in her four creative and original entries in the Carrot Ranch Rodeo fractured fairy tale contest last year. Since I love fractured fairy tales and it was the contest that I judged, the connection was inevitable.

Before we begin the interview, I’ll allow Chelsea to tell you a little of herself:

I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in the year never-you-mind. My mother felt strongly about living outside of the state, so we lived for a brief time in Ridgecrest, CA. She really ought to have considered a more scenic area to successfully convince my homebody father of out-of-Utah merits, because the remainder of my life (and theirs) has been back in Utah.

I generally grew up around the Salt Lake City metro area and still live there. Erm, here. I now have 4.5 children of my own, all boys. In the time between eating while doing dishes and sleeping while taking children to the bathroom, I run errands and pretend I’m on top of the laundry. Okay, okay: I also write. I maintain two blogs: A personal one and one on motherhood.

I started the former blog in order to have an outlet for my repressed creativity. The latter is to build an audience and connections for the book I will publish Someday.

Although I began blogging rather ignorant of writers, The World, and my own talents and abilities; I have since found a much more welcoming audience than I’ve experienced at any other time in my life. The blogging community is wonderful, and I so appreciate all the wonderful people I’ve met through writing online.

Chelsea Owens School Days Reminiscences

Welcome, Chelsea.

Let’s talk school. First, could you tell us where you attended school?

Whilst living in California, I spent preschool and half of Kindergarten near our hometown of Ridgecrest. The remaining schools have been in Utah.

Did you attend a government, private or independent school?

I remember attending preschool at a woman’s house, but all of my education since has been at public schools.

What is the highest level of education you achieved?

This is a top-secret answer, since I like for people to assume I’m a decorated graduate of the highest degree. In truth, I locked in enough credits to earn my Associate of Arts degree about a year after birthing my second son.

What work or profession did you choose after school and was there anything in school that influenced this choice?

My work and professions were assorted; their primary function was support of my education. My first job was a secretary for a chiropractor. I also did quality control, data entry, chemicals cataloging, phone surveying, and (most recently) content writing. Since becoming a mother, I have not worked outside the home. I have done some freelance work and help maintain our online dice store.

What is your earliest memory of school?

I remember walking into my second preschool building and what that looked like inside. It’s a shadowy memory of women at tables and shape cards on the tabletop. The building itself was a very small, house-shaped structure on a patch of lawn. Just before moving away from the area, we drove past and my mother told me it had been sold to another business. We told it, “Goodbye.”

What memories do you have of learning to read?

Chelsea Owens School Days Reminiscences 

My mother tells me that I taught myself to read at age four, yet I recall watching billboards out of the car windows and not being able to decipher them. To me, it was much like trying to read Cyrillic or Arabic. I’ve never had a problem with reading or comprehension besides that, although I have mispronounced a few words because of not hearing them aloud.

What memories do you have of learning to write? 

Unlike other interviewees in this series, I do not remember learning to write. I remember writing cursive. My older sister learned in third grade so, naturally, I had to learn as well. My poor relatives had to get through letters of my seven-year-old efforts, proudly bearing a footnote, “written in cursive.” I also did that to them with my trying to write left-handed. I think I only made my parents suffer through letters written with my toes, though.

What do you remember about math classes? 

I love math! I would marry it. I’m not fond of statistics or calculus. I also have an early memory of needing to stay in at recess in fourth grade in order to grasp long division. Really, I would only marry algebra.

What was your favourite subject?

Chelsea Owens School Days Reminiscences

In elementary years I enjoyed recess and P.E. Our school had climbing ropes and I got to monkey up one during our class’ talent program in first grade. Although I did eventually earn The Presidential Fitness Award in ninth grade and then did Track and Field in high school, I resented being graded for my physical activity in 5th-8th grades.

Chelsea Owens School Days Reminiscences

I also liked physics, art, English, algebra, and choir.

What did you like best about school? 

My favorite parts of school were when the teachers introduced variety. I liked new challenges and being able to show off academically.

What did you like least about school?

I had a difficult time making friends in school, even up until high school (age 15). I did not have any friends and was generally ostracized by my peers.

I also have never liked pointless schoolwork, known as busywork.

How do you think schools have changed since your school days?

My children currently attend a charter school and those did not exist in my childhood. They have a lot more technology in their classrooms like Smart Boards, iPads, and laptops for taking tests on. Their school is attentive to behavioral issues and bullying. My boys have been able to progress a bit more in terms of academics as well, testing to move up a grade in their math classes.

What do you think schools (in general) do well? 

I think the schools around here do a good job at addressing bullying and at answering parental concerns. Some have language immersion programs or opportunities for advanced subjects.

How do you think schools could be improved?

Chelsea Owens School Days Reminiscences

The issue I see as most harmful to the education system in America is that of encouraging everyone to attend college. Like, everyone. This needs to be changed so that people may test and train in technical fields if they wish, especially if they would succeed in that role instead of accrue a helpless amount of student loan debt. Entry level jobs have the requirement of a college degree now instead of a GED or high school diploma. We are simply adding more debt to an already-cynical generation.

In a similar fashion, the public schools are required to accommodate everyone -including those with special needs. This a sore subject and one that I benefit somewhat from, since two of my children receive special education help for behavioral issues. I hold no animosity for children with more severe needs and know that they benefit from being around their more functional peers. Yet I also see most of the school’s resources going toward trying to entertain them all day and I see teachers with increasing numbers of more challenging pupils. Teachers already have a difficult job. I’ve yet to think of an ideal solution and fear it may involve limiting access for those children with needs.

thank you for your participation

Thank you for sharing your reminiscences of school and thoughts about education in general, Chelsea. It’s refreshing to hear from someone who enjoyed, and excelled at, both maths and PE. It’s been a pleasure to have you visit and get to know a little more about you.

Find out more about Chelsea Owens on her blogs

Chelsea Ann Owens

I Didn’t Want to Be a Mother

Connect with her on social media

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Celinedespions/

Twitter:
@chelseaowrites
@momtherealist

If you missed previous reminiscences, check them out here:

Charli Mills

Sally Cronin

Anne Goodwin

Geoff Le Pard

Hugh Roberts

Debby Gies

Pauline King

JulesPaige

D. Avery

Christy Birmingham

Miriam Hurdle

Robbie Cheadle

Marsha Ingrao

Ritu Bhathal

Joy Lennick

Darlene Foster

Susan Scott

Barbara Vitelli

Sherri Matthews

Mabel Kwong

Look for future interviews in this series to be posted on Sunday evenings AEST.
Coming soon:

Carol Taylor

Pamela Wight

Pete Springer

Yvette Prior

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your comments. Please share your thoughts.

 

105 thoughts on “School Days, Reminiscences of Chelsea Owens

  1. Susan Scott

    Thank you both so much Chelsea and Norah! It’s interesting to see approaches to education from around the world, some similarities, some differences. I fully agree Chelsea that the emphasis on a university degree could be lessened and more training given to what is also essentially needed eg plumbimg, roofing, brick making, woodwork, the crafts and so on. The debt around one’s neck paying for university tuition sounds like a nightmare to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Jacqui Murray

    Good interview–as usual. I think the birth year of “year never-you-mind” is like “the year oh-dark-hundred”. “4.5 children”–that brought me pause. Hmm… I’m so with you on education needing to broaden to count technical schools as success. It only makes sense!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Chelsea Owens

      Hello, Jacqui. I hadn’t heard of “oh-dark-hundred;” I’ll have to use it occasionally as well.

      I apologize if my .5 boy was confusing. He’s due near the beginning of December, but already contributes to my current abilities. I didn’t want to leave him out.

      Thanks for reading! I’m happy to hear you also support technical training.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. dgkaye

    Thanks for introducing us to Chelsea, Norah. It’s always interesting to learn about where we come from. Also interesting that Chelsea is one of the few of these interviews so say she enjoyed math, lol. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Chelsea Owens

      Hello, D.G.! I thought I remembered your liking math as well.

      I DO remember that your interview reminded me of a child I babysat. He had straight A’s and scored a perfect ACT score his first time taking it. His only low grade was in P.E., so the school raised it so as to not mar his record…

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  4. Jennie

    Thank you, Chelsea and Norah. I was reading along, thoroughly enjoying the post, and then I got to the last question, how schools could improve. Chelsea, you are the first to speak up and say that everyone does not need to go to college. Thank you for that! There are so many vocations and trades that don’t require a college degree, they require good hands and smarts. And that should be a source of pride. Also, the larger number of children who need special services, from behavior to OT, is a tricky issue. Does pullout a few times a week help the child, or can the teacher be trained to incorporate the recommendations into the daily schedule? As you said, it’s not a simple answer. Apologies for the ramble. It’s the teacher in me. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Chelsea Owens

      Hi, Jennie! I love reading about your preschool. 🙂

      Obviously, I agree with you about college and trade schools.

      And I could write pages about my own experiences in special education. The best solution I’ve found so far is to keep a dynamic approach that incorporates the parents, teacher, special ed coordinator, aide, and the child’s doctor or therapist.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
    2. Norah Post author

      I love your teacher rambles, Jennie. That’s the purpose of the post. We’re chatting about education and it’s great when new topics and issues are raised for discussion. It makes life interesting and our hearts expand as we learn more about each other.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  5. CarolCooks2

    Hi, Chelsea and Norah, I am thoroughly enjoying this series, I also think you have a wicked sense of humour Chelsea. I do agree that not everyone is academic and more should be done to address this as in some areas there is a big need for skilled tradespeople. Great series, Norah 🙂 x

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I’m so pleased you are enjoying the series, Carol. I’m looking forward to sharing your reminiscences, coming up next Sunday! 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  6. Bette A. Stevens

    I enjoyed meeting Chelea and learning about her school days, Norah. chelsea, love your sense of humor and agree with you that pub lic schools and society as a whole could be greatly improved by including technical and business programs to the college bound curriculum.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  7. Darlene

    A delightful interview. I am afraid you can not become a writer, Chelsea, as to be a writer you must hate math and P.E. Just kidding, but you are one of very few. I am sure everyone wanted to ask but were afraid to, which half of the child lives with you? The top, the bottom, the left or the right?? I think you have a story waiting to be told right there!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Chelsea Owens

      Darn! I guess I’ll depend on my crippling perfectionism and procrastination talents to qualify me as a writer. 😉

      Excellent question, especially since my .5 boy might put readers in mind of stepchildren or …missing legs. I’m currently growing a child, and he is half-formed. I hope he finishes in time.

      Liked by 3 people

      Reply
  8. petespringerauthor

    Thank you for a thoroughly entertaining interview, Norah. I start most of my Sundays reading this column because they are always so interesting and thought-provoking.

    I love Chelsea’s fabulous sense of humor and her responses to the questions. She has hit it out of the park with her thoughts about college. While I am a firm believer in education and think that college is a good path for many, it is not the right choice for all. Since we spend about one-third of our day at work, we damn well better find something we enjoy. Learning a trade or developing a skill is no less meaningful.

    I enjoyed reading Chelsea’s biography and want her to know that I am the youngest of four. My mom forever loved telling her friends about her four boys. I also got quite the chuckle out of her statement of being born in the year ‘never-you-mind’ as this was my mom and grandmother’s most guarded secret. She might appreciate hearing how we were throwing my mother-in-law a 90th birthday party, only to discover on the day of the party she was 91! Ha-ha! In light of the circumstances, we just called it good.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Chelsea Owens

      Hi, Pete! Thanks for all the complimentary comments!

      I’m happy to hear you survived childhood in spite of your three older brothers, as did your mother. (As I typed this, #3 screamed about something #1 did to him. I kid you not.)

      New life goal: attend my 90th party when I’m really 91.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
      1. petespringerauthor

        That sounds like a great goal. A couple of other things we have in common that are atypical of the majority of those who like to write—I loved math and physical education. I taught elementary school for thirty-one fantastic years, and I was the goofball teacher running around playing games with my students at P.E. time. I miss that a lot.

        Liked by 2 people

        Reply
          1. Norah Post author

            He does, doesn’t he, Chelsea? I wish I’d had a teacher like Pete. I went to an all-girls school and had only one male teacher who taught science for part of one year. He wasn’t much fun and we year nine (14 years old) girls gave him a hard time so he thought better of it and left. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            Reply
    2. Norah Post author

      I’m so pleased you are enjoying these posts, Pete and find them to be an enjoyable way to start your Sundays. I am finding everyone’s experiences and thoughts fascinating. (And I’m looking forward to sharing yours in the near future too.)
      I quite liked the year ‘never-you-mind’ too, and enjoyed what you said about your MIL. I wish I’d thought of it. I used to tell my year one children that I was 99. It was quite fun – until they started believing it!! How I’d love to still be working (especially reading and writing) with a group of children on my 99th birthday. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  9. robbiesinspiration

    Wow, four and a half children is incredible. I find two hard work but then I do work full time so maybe that makes the difference. I am very admiring of people who can be good mothers to more than two children. My own mom had four of us. I enjoyed reading about Chelsea’s school days and her remark about everyone wanting to go to college is mirrored by me – we can’t all be academics, can we? A great post.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Four and a half children is incredible. I also only had two, and they were 12 years apart, so two onlies.
      I’ve always considered there to be many paths to a good education and success in life, and school is only one of them. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  10. Anne Goodwin (Annecdotist)

    Thanks for sharing, Chelsea and Norah, and love the humour too. I’m delighted to find another writer passionate about algebra – really, what’s not to like? I love that you signed off your little-girl letters “written in cursive”, obviously foreshadowing the more irritating “sent from my iPhone” some adults these days don’t know how to turn off. (I don’t either, but then I don’t have an iPhone.)

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Chelsea Owens

      Thank you, Anne. Although I’m obviously (supposed to be) part of the ‘younger generation,’ I haven’t a clue about iPhones and their behavior. 😀 If I had one, I’m sure all my messages would have that automatic footnote -until I Googled how to switch it off out of annoyance.

      Algebra’s the best!

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
    2. Norah Post author

      That’s an amusing observation about “written in cursive”, Anne. I think (hope) I’ve turned it off on my iPad. 😂
      I was also intrigued by Chelsea’s use of her left hand. When I was visiting Granddaughter last week, I asked about a drawing that was in her book, and said, “Oh, I did that with my left hand.” Chelsea’s not alone. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  11. Jules

    Chelsea and Norah:

    “Although I began blogging rather ignorant of writers, The World, and my own talents and abilities; I have since found a much more welcoming audience than I’ve experienced at any other time in my life. The blogging community is wonderful, and I so appreciate all the wonderful people I’ve met through writing online.” I bring up this quote because it also reflects how I feel.

    As for Schools and their dealing with children with different levels of abilities – there needs to be more staff that can help the teacher when children with multiple symptoms present. Too many good teachers burn out to quickly trying to do to much with not enough resources. While I do agree that some inclusion is necessary and welcome to both the student with different abilities to those students who seem to be ‘normal’ there also needs to be places where children can learn without interruption of the constant need that needs to be given to those who need it.

    I had a friend who in her last year of teaching chose to do more administrative works to help differently-abled children. The saddest days are when all the work is done to help a child in need and the parents refuse to use it. Mainly because they cannot see that their child is different, and in need of extra supportive care.

    Continued success in writing and enjoying life 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Chelsea Owens

      Thanks, Jules!

      The law mandates that special needs children receive a government-paid aide if stipulated in their IEP. Unfortunately, I happen to know my boys’ school had a student who required an aide CONSTANTLY. Because of his needs, they actually had a new person every two hours. The funding hardly paid for that. I agree with you that there is no good solution and wonder if such a child would do better staying home since he just plays on the playground or wanders the halls all day. :/ It’s a tough call.

      The blogging community is great!! It’s the best neighborhood I’ve ever moved into!

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
      1. Jules

        A child with special needs does need some interaction with other children. Sometimes if only the age that the differently able child is mentally at. We had a friend whose son was in day care until he just got too big. The child was in the public school system until he was 21 (by law). And did live with his parents for most of his life until getting lucky enough to be placed in a good group home with 24 hour care and also activities. Which I believe is mostly funded by tax payer dollars. Each child needs to be evaluated separately an that is the ‘tough call’.

        Some parents do keep their differently-able children at home, but unfortunately other families do not have that support and must rely on any help that they can get even if it seems minimal.

        I am happy when I read articles where differently abled children are adopted by those who can give the care and attention that is needed. I read recently of a single man who had the education to do so who adopted four children with special needs.

        Liked by 2 people

        Reply
    2. Norah Post author

      You raise some interesting issues, Jules, for which there are no simple answers. It’s all tied up with justice, equity, ethics, inclusion, diversity … and sadly, mainly economics.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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