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Editor’s note: Students in Mrs. Jennifer Johnson’s sixth grade literacy class at the Anderson County Middle School read a story titled “Notes from the Midnight Driver.” The book is about a teenage boy who breaks the law and, as punishment, is assigned community service at a nursing home. His assigned resident is a very grumpy man; however, as the book progresses the two characters discover they have several things in common and in the end become good friends.
As a culminating activity, Johnson took her students to the Anderson County Senior Citizens Center to interview seniors and spend time playing games and making crafts. “As a result, students discover interesting facts about local senior citizens,” Johnson said via e-mail. “Students also learn there are commonalities across generations.
“For five years, Debbie Lottes and the senior citizens of the center have graciously allowed the students to visit them after reading the book.”
Following are several letters constructed by the students thanking the seniors for allowing them to visit.
Dear Ms. Clark,
Thank you so much for letting me come visit and meet you. You are my favorite person I met. Also thank you for telling me about your life. You are such a good influence to me. Your kids and grandkids are so lucky to have such a good mom and grandma.
My favorite thing you told me about was how you would play ball, marbles, and jump rope for fun. The reason this is my favorite is because my friends and I do the same thing! I think it’s really cool that we have that in common. I feel like I have a new friend.
Something about me is that I love to sing. When I was younger I sang at talent shows and fairs and I won! I’m in choir at my school. I’m really excited because on Dec.11, I have a concert at my school.
Dear Mr. Prentice,
Thank you for letting me interview you. I had a wonderful time. It was very generous of you to take time out of your day to talk with me. I hope you had fun doing so. I also hope you had a good rest of the day.
I found it interesting when you shared with me what you did for fun when you were twelve. Hiking, playing ball, and swimming all sound fun. I really like to go swimming on hot days. I also enjoyed your advice which was “business before pleasure.”
The thing I like to do for fun is wrestling with my brother. It helps me practice for middle school wrestling. Last year I placed fourth in state and the year before that. I practice with my brother all the time.
Again thanks for letting me come.
Dear Ms. Elfreeda Wickizer,
I had a good time talking to you, and I will miss you so much. I like to ride my bike.
Dear Mr. Prentice Bryant,
Thank you for letting me interview you. I really did enjoy talking to you. I learned a lot from you and your life. Thanks again for the interview.
I loved the things you told me. It’s weird how we use computers and you used textbooks. I love to play ball too; it’s so fun to play with my little cousin! Your job you had sounds like fun. I think your advice you gave me is going to be helpful in the future.
Do you want to know some about me? Well, I have 1 sister who’s a pain in the butt. I have several pets; I have two rabbits, six or seven goldfish, one hermit crab and one dog. My grandparents live in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. That’s far away, huh? I like to play volleyball. My birthday is January 30,, 2001. My favorite color is purple. I enjoyed interviewing you a lot. Thanks so much! Hope your Christmas and New Year goes well! Have a nice winter, and stay warm! You’re one amazing man!
Dear Ms. Trudie,
Thank you for letting me interview you. I really enjoyed seeing you again! I think you are very kind and sweet! I hope to talk to you again soon!
Something I found very interesting is you’re from Austria. I found interesting that you liked to swim, walk, and mountain climb! I’m very much like you! I love to do those things too!
Since we didn’t get to talk too much about me, I would like to tell you some things about me! I’m 11. I’m the only girl in an 11-person family (besides my mom). I live on a farm and I go to the same church as you!
P.S. I’m keeping you in my prayers like you requested!
P.P.S. I hope you see your sister again soon!
Dear Ms. Sea,
Thank you so much for taking the time to let me interview you on Wednesday. Also, thank you for answering my questions and being so nice and sweet.
I think that it was very interesting that you worked on a farm. I have never worked on a farm before so I don’t know what it is like, but one time I rode a horse at my friend’s house and I had a lot of fun.
I know that I didn’t get to tell you much about myself so here’s some information about me. I am 11 years old and I cheer for Anderson County Middle School. I like to draw and spend time with my friends and family. I am also as sister and love animals.
Dear Ms. Elberta,
I want to thank you for letting me interview you and talk about your life. I think you are a very sweet person. Wednesday was definitely a good time to go to the center. I hope you enjoyed talking to me and my friend, Bailey.
One thing you shared with me I thought was very interesting. I like that you worked on a farm. I live in a regular neighborhood, but I love to get dirty and muddy and to ride four-wheelers! I think it’s really cool that you got to crop and ride horses and things. I love horses! It’s really cool that you got to hang out around farms all the time.
Here’re some things about me. I’m a country girl. I love to dance (also in the rain)! I love to ride horses. Once, I rode my friend’s horse, Feather; she is a fast girl, and I love her. I really wish I lived in the country, and had a horse of my own, but I’ll just have to wait, because my parents are thinking about moving out to the sticks!
Dear Mr. Bryant,
Thank you very much for letting us come and interview you. It was a very fun experience. It was very interesting to read the book we read and then kind of experience what it was like. I am very blessed to have shared this experience with you.
I remember you telling us that when you were in school, there was no technology. I think this is very interesting since now we use technology for many things. I think it is very neat that technology has advanced over the years.
I remember you telling us that you liked to play ball and go hiking for fun. For fun, I like to dance, shoot archery and watch TV. It is very interesting how different our ideas for fun are.
Dear Ms. Doris,
Thank you Ms. Doris for letting us interview you. I thought it was very cool to interview you. I also thought it was cool to hear about your stuff that has happened to you. And you are really open-minded.
Something I thought was cool is that you go fishing with your neighbors. What is the biggest fish you have ever caught? I think it is cool that you work for home health. I also thought it was pretty awesome that you had a man teacher for the first time. I also had a man teacher for the first time in third grade and I thought it was really cool. I also thought it was cool advice you gave us.
One think I like to do is play football. I play for the Anderson County Falcons.
Dear Mary Jane,
I would like to thank you for letting me come and talk with you on Monday. Also, I would like to thank you for sharing with me. I would also like to thank you for being so nice and kind to me. Lastly, I would like to thank you for being so open-minded.
I thought you telling me about the Palmer Method and how you got slapped on the hand for talking was interesting. The reason I thought this is because the teacher now aren’t allowed to discipline kids that way anymore. Also, the teachers do not teacher cursive writing anymore.
Since we didn’t really have enough time to talk one-on-one, I would like to tell you something about me. First, I am 11 years old and have one brother and one sister. Next, I love to play baseball every spring. Last, I am an avid hunter and go hunting any time I can.
Dear Ms. Sea,
I would like to thank you for letting me interview you. I appreciated your kindness because we were very shy to interview you.
I loved hearing the things you did as a child. I thought it was very cool that you worked on a farm. I live on a farm and have to help out a bunch, so I kinda know how it was for you when you were younger.
Since I didn’t get a chance to tell you about me I will in this letter. I am 11 years old and I love to play softball. I also am obsessed with cheerleading. I am a cheerleader here at the middle school also. My birthday is on June 14, also known as Flag Day. My parents are Tonjua and Anthony Casey. I also have a sister who is married. Well enough about me. It was very nice to meet you and I hope to hear back from you.
Dear Ms. Nellie Drury,
Thank you for your time with us. I really enjoyed it. After reading “Notes from the Midnight Driver” it was nice to meet you. You are very sweet. You gave me some advice and I plan to use it.
On Wednesday you told me that I should “learn everything you can in school and college.” I am the girl who sat next to you. You also complimented my handwriting. I also thought it was cool that for Christmas you used a shoebox instead of a stocking.
Something you might find interesting about me is that I have all A’s and B’s in school. Again, thank you for your time and advice.
Dear Mr. Herman,
Thank you, Herman, for the chance to meet and interview you. You were very kind and you taught me so much. Thank you for things you shared and told me about.
It’s very cool that you have been to Alaska too, and been to 52 countries in Europe. You’ve been very interesting. Your grandchildren are very cute. The school you went to is also very interesting too. One grade in each room and all.
The work you did is just like my dad’s. My dad works for Kentucky Agriculture too. He’s the manager at the farm for KSU. I played baseball and was pretty good at it too.
Dear Ms. Marie,
Thank you for spending your time talking to me. I think you are a very interesting person. So, again, than you for talking to me.
First off, I am very sorry about your husband. However, it sounds like you’re never lonely with two children, five grandchildren, and nine great grandchildren. Also, when you were in school, you and your classmates must have been pretty fit, with you walking more than a mile ever single day. Talking about staying in shape, I would have never guessed you were 84 years old. All those years of walking to and from school really paid off. Also, I am almost jealous that you worked on a farm. I know it’s hard work, (I like a little bit of a challenge) but I’ve always wanted to work on a farm.
I know that by now you would like to know a little bit about me. Let’s start simple. My name is Allison Hill and like you, I go to church every Sunday and Wednesday. I go to a smaller church, Freedom Baptist, down on Powell Taylor Road. We actually recently got a new pastor. If you read the paper, there was a big picture of him and his wife last week. Next, I live with my mom, Lori, my dad, Alen Tyler, and my sister, Brooklyn. I have a very loving, caring family. My mom works at ECC, and my dad works at Toyota factory in Georgetown.
Allison (Alli) Hill
I would like to thank you for letting me and my friend interview you. I am glad I got to come; it was an experience for me.
When you said you had outdoor restroom, I thought to myself boy that is not like today where have ours inside. It would have been a great experience to have lived back then and watch the world change.
To tell some stuff about me I love to play sports and spend time with my family. I also love animals. I enjoy playing games and playing outside.
Dear Ms. Nellie,
Thank you for letting us come and talk to you. I had a really good time. You are a really nice person. It’s not every day you get to interview someone.
It’s nice to know how school has changed since you were in school. You said you worked at Heritage Hall, well, my mom worked there a while back. You also said you got married when you were in high school. Did you finish school after you got married? You also said you have four children and 13 grandchildren. That’s a lot.
As you know I am in sixth grade. I am 11 years old and I go to Anderson County Middle School. I have 10 dogs, four cats, three horses, and two fish. I love them all! I have a big family too. I have 14 aunts and uncles, 23 cousins, seven nephews, one niece, and one grandparent. (That was only on my dad’s side!) I live in Lawrenceburg and I am planning to live here the rest of my life.
It was nice meeting you and I hope to see you again.
Dear Ellreeda Wickizer,
My name is Chase Smith. I would like to thank you for talking to us. It was a good activity and it went well with the book we were reading in class.
I thought it was kind of cool how you went to a one-room school house with one teacher. I’m sure it was cramped in there if it was only one room. I also thought it was funny how you said that if you didn’t get how to do something then you could pick up with the teacher taught the grade behind you.
Since there was so many of us I didn’t get a chance to talk to you. So I would like to tell you a little about myself. I go to ACMS and I love sports. I play basketball and baseball.
Dear Ms. Marie Burns,
Thank you for giving me a wonderful experience at the Senior Center. I learned a lot about how you lived back then. It was pretty cool learning that you are from a different country also. I hope you enjoyed having us over to visit you all. I hope we can meet up again sometime.
Honestly, I think the coolest thing you told me is that you worked on a farm when you were little. That’s something we have in common. I work on a farm. I have been since I was about 8 years old. I’m 11 now. I can believe all your hard work and effort you put into working all those long hours after school. I can honestly say that I know how hard it was back then without all the machines to help you on the farm. That’s one thing I liked the most that you told me about.
One thing most people don’t understand about me is I don’t put on a country girl act like most people do. I love going back to my hometown and getting muddy on the farm. For one it doesn’t bother me. I’m sure you were the same way. You most likely didn’t have a choice. Well, I’m sure by the time you get here you probably want me to stop talking. So I better let you go.
Dear Ms. Tiaudi,
I want to thank you for sharing your personal life with me and my friends. I really enjoyed walking to the senior center. It was one of the most fun field trip I’ve had this year.
I thought it was really interesting that you are from Austria. I haven’t met anyone that comes from another country. School back then I remember as you told me was very simple. There wasn’t any technology or anything like that. You lived out in the country too. Swam with the fish in your pond. I once lived farther away from town, but it wasn’t as far as you I’m positive. I’m really sorry that your husband passed.
My parents are divorced. I am in sixth grade, like my teacher, Mrs. Johnson, told you. I’m 12 years old, and I cheer for my school (Anderson Middle). I am in Beta Club also (something for A-B honor roll students). We do school wide projects. I hope to get to come back soon!
Dear Mr. Harold Cornish,
Thank you for allowing me to talk to you. I’m twelve years old and I’m good friends with your grandson, Colton Cornish. Thank for the interview.
I enjoyed the things you shared with me. I think it’s funny that you don’t even remember going to school. I also love to play basketball, that’s why I think it’s awesome that you played basketball. You had a really cool job too being in the sheriff’s office. You had some nice advice too, to keep on going to school.
I’ve got to share with you some stuff about me now. Well, you already know I like basketball., but I also play football and baseball. I’ve played many sports with your grandson Colton too. I’ve enjoyed meeting you and I also enjoyed the interview. You’re awesome.