Trip to CT-- Branchville School visit Part III

People tell me not to dwell or harp so three entries about the visit to the Branchville Elementary School might be pushing it. However the closer I get to going up there, the more I have the urge to write about it! Call it a way of comprehending what is going to happen. I have told everyone I know about this trip which makes it seem like I am going up there for more than a day. Although the is the same reaction when I went do to Washington DC on my own, to visit Jane in Tennessee or even the license plate convention in Alabama two years ago.
These kids are definitely going to bring back to a time with mixed feelings. I mean the kids I'll be speaking to are same age when things starting getting real tough. It was the perfect storm back then. My body was getting worse, and the more I tried to hide it, the more evident it became. I never wrote this before but since I could remember I) was made to wear a helmet while walking around the halls. I fought this hard and finally in fourth grade I got the school to agree for me to only wear it during gym.
When I agreed to speak to the kids I knew deep down it would be rewarding and a little painful at the same time. I also knew since Kurt asked I couldn't let him down. It's a coo-l feeling to have a nine year old look up to you. When this opportunity a little voice (ok grandpa's voice) said, "You know Justin you always wanted to repay some of the good deeds done for you, well here's your chance". Am I going to enjoy it? Absolutely! However that doesn't mean I am a bit unsure of myself. So whoever reads this between Tuesday do me a favor, just take a moment and think about me. Yeah it's selfish, but what else do you expect from me??
Branchville Elementary here comes Justin Mattes!


Trip to CT-- Branchville School visit Part II

First of all I want to make a few things clear about this visit upto Kurt's school. Tim's biggest selling point to Principal McKinnon was my writing. Does anyone notice a theme here? Anyway I want to outline my day on Tuesday. Well it actually starts out Monday afternoon when Tim and Kurt drive down to pick me up. We'll then drive back to Connecticut and maybe help setup for the following day.
I will be talking to a second grade class and a fifth grade class. I keep telling everybody I'm more nervous about talking to the older kids than the younger kids. The older kids might hit on some more sensitive areas. Going through the process is making me think about my experiences in second grade. When I would go to the Special Education class in the morning, where I didn't belong. Then I would be "mainstreamed"
Irony of ironies of of the teacher's name is Mrs. Wilson, I had a Mr Wilson when I was that age. I'll take that as some kind of a sign. I will spend some with Mr. LeFebvre's class, c ome to think of it if the classroom has a computer I could demo some of my typing skills. Finally I will go to Ms Sane's class and face another twenty pairs of eyes
All of this talk brought up another t hing I did in high school where one day a week I volunteered at a school in Montvale some afternoons. The kids were around the same age as some of the kids I'll meet Tuesday. Yes it's all coming back to me.
This is doing me some good as well and hey it has gotten me writing again! :)
Trip to CT--Branchville School Visit Part III


Trip to CT-- Branchville School visit Part I

This should be a very interesting post because originally I was going to write about my trip to Connecticut after it happened but since my writing is part of my presentation, I was asked by the people who invited me to write something of a preview prior to going up there so I could show the kids some of my writing.
It all started with an e-mail from Tim Stentiford, a license plate collector friend and editor of the famed PLATES Magazine explaining how Kurt, his son, was having what they call a "Diversity Day" at his school. Kurt suggested I come up to speak and when Tim presented this idea to the rest of the planning committee, they loved it. Talk about your ego booster, this is right up my alley. I have spoken about myself at various venues before, even on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC My mom kept saying I had to prepare but I didn't know how. I have been bouncing a few ideas off my mom and am getting my thoughts together. I decided instead of typing them just in Word they'd be better off here. So I think I'll do a multiple series. Maybe two parts before I go up, one part when I'm up there and maybe one part when I come home.
Say tuned
 See also Trip to CT Branchville School Visit Part II  and Trip to CT Branchville School Visit Part  III


Ones that get away,but a cooler head prevailed

I have won and lost my share of auctions but this one will sting for quite awhile. For those of you you don't know NJ license plates, the pair shown above are 1928 New Jersey Courtesy license plates I have been follow this auction on eBay since it came out but decided to wait until the fourth day to throw a bid in and it was for $60 which is high for me to jump in but this pair was sweet. Four days went by w ithout another bid so I first thought that either folks were either really hurting from the current economic problems facing the world or people were just lurking..To my dismay it was the ladder. Nothing happened until today when I saw another bidder kick it up to $86 and I threw $100 at the plates without flinching which still was a bar gin for these jems. We played this game all day raising the stakes north of $200 which made me sweat a little. Finally I decided it was time for a gamble and I threw $222 at the pair of plates knowing he eit her would stall out or we'd be going to $225. Well at $227 I began to think to myself "Am I really ready to fork over a quarter of $1000 for a pair". I really had my eye on spending $200 tops but I figured "$220 would do it". My head said stop byut my heart said go for it. My hand trembled as I entered the numbers "2", "2" "7" and carefully pressed Enter. It turns out no because a brand new bidder swooped down and picked these jems up for a grand total of $229.50! I chickened out. Well now I could have thrown $250 at these one of a kind plates and won, but I decided there will always be a next time!!