Our family has been watching Jeopardy for years.  From the time Art Fleming was host in the late 1960’s, my folks, sibs, and whoever else happened to be in the house would grab a seat and play along too. To this day, Lana and I tape the show and watch nearly every night, now with Alex Trebek.

Final Jeopardy 1-30-19:

Category – Women Writers.

Answer: “One of her circle described her as “A lacy sleeve with a bottle of vitriol concealed in its folds”.

Question: “Who is Dorothy Parker?”

I got it.

If memory serves, and it doesn’t always these days, my sister Mary was the best.  Not only because she was and is smarter than me but because she was older than my brother David and sister Amy, so she just knew more stuff.  David would go on to demonstrate mastery in family games like charades at our annual Christmas gathering (in later years more like a charades competition) and board games like Trivial Pursuit.  Everyone always wanted him on their team. My little sister Amy? I haven’t played a family game with her in years, but in the game of life? She’s a winner. Retired now, she went on from those early Jeopardy years to become a fabulous mother, wife, grandmother, and aunt.

Our family comes from rural America and from education.  I remember my grandparents, Dad’s side, as farmers.  They, Hazel and Milton, were also educators and my Grandpa even a principal in Michigan before coming back to take care of the homestead in Kansas. My dad earned his college degree using the G.I. bill.  Later, he and mom uprooted our family to move to Lawrence so he could go to school full time to earn his doctorate.  We ate a lot of peanut butter sandwiches and sloppy Joe’s in those days.

I remember my grandparents, Mom’s side, running a little gas station.  They, Flora Mae and Jess, luckily found that opportunity after being bounced from the farm during the dust bowl depression.  My mom and Uncle JR were the first in their family to get a college education, and then master’s degrees to boot.

In our family, getting an education was, and is, a precious gift.  My grandfather died a farmer and also he served on the local, rural school board.  He read Carl Sandburg and Somerset Maugham. My dad worked his way around the world on the Merchant Marine after he got out of the Navy.  He retired a special education professor.  My mom, after the poverty of dust bowl farming, retired a special education teacher.

Our country, which has helped so many to improve their lives, and the world so much through education, can never forget how dear this endowment is for the quality of life of our citizenry, how rich the harvest of knowledge, how liberating, how essential for democracy to thrive.  Developing life skills – vocational and avocational, work-related and quality-of-living related, for pleasure and leisure, stretching minds or bodies or spirit – helps our nation and its citizens in countless ways.

Final Jeopardy Category:  The Value of Education

Answer:  Developing wisdom through lifelong learning.

Question: What is something more important than silver or gold.


Art Fleming Obituary, NYTs, 4/27/95,


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s