The first year we attended Justin’s school fundraiser, GWE noticed that one of the items up for bid was the opportunity for Justin to host the school’s morning news broadcast. Typically, this was a honor reserved for the 4th and 5th graders. However, thanks to GWE’s ability to outbid and (quite frankly) intimidate anyone who came within 5 feet of the bid sheet, Justin got an early start in the morning news business – Kindergarten! Each and every year since he began attending this school, Justin has appeared on the Woodcrest Morning News.
You may also notice that Garrett makes an appearance as well. He started out as a background prop and worked his way up to co-host of the show with his big brother. And now, thanks to the editing skills of GWE, you can fully enjoy “The Justin-Reads-The-News Montage Show!”
Ever since Justin saw “Back to the Future,” he’d become obsessed with Huey Lewis and the News. He’s been listening to the “Sports” and “Greatest Hits” albums non-stop for months. It’s funny to hear him doing his homework with his headphones on while humming along to “Hip to Be Square” and (his favorite) “Workin for a Livin.” Because he’s wearing headphones (that cost the same as my car – thank you Grandpa Bob!) he doesn’t know that we all can hear him singing. It’s pretty funny to hear a 9 year old sing, “…at least until I die, dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t, I’m supposed to get a raise week, you know damn well I won’t.”
One evening, GWE ‘bounced’ into the bedroom and shook me excitedly while announcing that Huey Lewis and the News would be performing at Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay in San Diego. GWE decided that I would be taking Justin to see his favorite band perform live. Before I could ask “If this is It,” GWE had ordered the tickets, booked the hotel room, and we planned on taking a “Couple Days Off.”
This is one of the few bands I’ve loved consistently over the years. While I was very happy to be seeing the show, I was more honored to know that I would be accompanying Justin to his first real concert! That made it that much better!
GWE and I had seen Huey Lewis and the News play about 15 years ago at the Universal Amphitheater and it was a great show. By pure coincidence, a few years ago, I was having drinks with a client at the Four Season Hotel in Beverly Hills on the front patio when some rowdy guys behind us got a little too loud. I brushed it off thinking: “DRUNKS!” But, when they began to harmonize and start singing, I turned around to discover that it was Huey Lewis and the News! I was shocked! It was the best private show anyone could have asked for!
It wasn’t until the week before the show that we finally told Justin what our plans were. He could not believe it! (As excited as Justin was to see the show, I think he was more excited knowing that we would have to pull him out of school early in order to get to the show!) For Justin, the next few days were just a blur of counting down the days to the concert and asking which songs they’d be playing at the show.
When the day finally came, we jumped in the car, picked up the kids from school and we were “Cruisin’.” We all listened to (and sang along with) “Alive at 25” as we headed down to San Diego. Justin and I had just enough time to drop off our bags at the hotel and race over to the venue. To tell you that we had fun wouldn’t accurately describe it. It was a blast!
During Justin’s final weeks of third grade, one of his homework assignments was to create a comic strip using the Spanish vocabulary words he had been assigned throughout the quarter. He was very excited about creating the comic strip. But, he was not thrilled at the prospect of trying to use his Spanish words to create a story. His plan was simple: create the comic strip first and then try to ‘massage’ the Spanish vocabulary words so that they fit the images.
His comic panels were great. But, as time went on, he struggled to find the right words to use. It was at this point that he made his biggest mistake: he asked for my help.
I do not speak Spanish. After five years of Spanish lessons, I can order a Chalupa at Taco Bell and ask for directions to a library. But, that’s about it. As I’ve confessed before, had I not been sitting behind Tammy Parks or Greta Jackson all throughout high school, I would have failed Spanish. Thanks to their unprotected classwork and my keen eyesight, I cheated my way to graduation. (Hey – “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying!”)
With my limited high school Spanish and a lot of help with Google Translate, I “helped” Justin with his assignment. Here are two examples of our collaboration:
In the first panel, a fight broke out. However, “punching” was not a vocabulary word. We decided to go with “Estoy tocando la cara con el puno,” which roughly translates to “I am touching your face with my fist.”
And finally, one character is laughing as the other one screams, “No me gusta bola de fuego!” This translates to “I do not like it when my balls are on fire!” (I was sure someone would notice how inappropriate this was, but no one said anything! No note from the teacher….no call from the school.)
Somehow, Justin passed Spanish. I still owe a debt of gratitude to Tammy and Greta and I probably owe an apology to whoever read Justin’s comic book.
Garrett is now one step closer to Graduate School, Medical School, or Law School! I’m not sure which one Garrett will choose. But, as long as it’s not Clown School, I’ll be happy.
Garrett is now a proud graduate of pre-school. He has spent the past school year mastering his letters and his numbers, learning the fundamentals of art, practicing some Yoga, and being reminded that we play with our friends. We don’t punch them in the face.
All in all, I’d say it was a successful experience! Up next – KINDERGARTEN!
Each Spring, GWE and I bid on one particular item at Justin and Garrett’s school’s silent auction. It’s not a wine basket or gift certificate. It’s the experience of hosting the school’s morning news/announcement show for an entire week. We’ve done it for the past couple of years and it’s become such a tradition that even the administrators at the school know that it’s something the boys (and maybe GWE) really, really look forward to.
For the first two years, Justin hosted the show with GWE. Last year, he hosted the show with GWE, but with Garrett making a few cameo appearances. This year, GWE was replaced by Garrett and he did an incredible job.
And now I present to you: The Woodcrest Morning News with Justin and Garrett!
This just made me laugh. While going through Justin’s homework folder, GWE came across an assignment that Justin had done in class. He was being asked to identify complete sentences. And, if he found a sentence that wasn’t complete, his task was to rewrite the sentence and make it a complete sentence.
Justin did the assignment correctly. However, he just choose to do it in the manner a 9 year old finds entertaining. (And, admittedly, his 40 year old father finds hilarious as well.) What sentence couldn’t be improved with the word “Fart?”
This is an example of: one grammatically correct step forward, one stinky step back.