Did you miss the Harper Lee discussion at the Twisp library? No worries. The Winthrop library will host a discussion of Harper Lee’s books (To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman), and this year’s Columbia River Reads selection The Mockingbird Next Door by Marja Mills, next Wednesday (Oct. 21) at 4:30 p.m. There will be light refreshments. Call librarian Sally Portman at 996-2685 for more information.
“Let’s Remember Elva” will be next Thursday (Oct. 22) at 12:45 p.m. at the Methow Valley Senior Center. The event will begin immediately following the Thursday meal.
The theme for Elva Scott’s dessert gathering is chocolate! We will enjoy some desserts that Elva would love. If you don’t know Rob Ruffridge or Elva’s daughter, Ronda Moore Ruffridge, you will have the opportunity to meet them. Elva’s son-in-law Rob will begin the sharing as we tell our stories about our friend. If you have a favorite sweet to share or would like to help out in another way, call Sally at 997-4364 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Every child in America must see Ridley Scott’s film, “The Martian.” And every grown-up, too. For the first time in a long time there is a movie hero who inspires all of us. And he is a scientist, not a super hero, not a soldier. The story provides plenty of conflict and lots of suspense, but there are no villains in this film. The film is peopled with human beings of the best kind. Even the Chinese are good guys.
Matt Damon is Mark Watney. He is one of a six-man crew on the Hermes, mother ship of the third Martian expedition, Ares III. When a violent storm on Mars’ surface causes the crew to abort the mission, Watney is presumed dead and left behind. As the Hermes begins the long journey back to Earth, Watney is waking up on Mars. He tends to his wounds. He takes stock of his situation. Though the next mission will not arrive on Mars for four years, he begins to make plans to survive and return to Earth.
Watney’s will to survive, his ingenuity, and his humor all commend his humanity. Watney is not the technical wizard of the mission crew; he is a botanist, and his education and training become a wonderful detail of the story.
When I got home, still excited by the film I had seen, I was imagining myself a teacher again. I imagined a field trip to Omak to see “The Martian.” That’s where the learning would start. But it wouldn’t stop there. Back at school, students — aspiring filmmakers, artists, computer geeks, math wizards, writers — would have so many questions. From those questions would come dozens and dozens of topics for further discussion, research and writing across the curriculum.
The web provides a wealth of information about space flight that wasn’t available to students a few years ago. Young people who see the film and want to learn more can visit the NASA site at http://nasa.gov to follow Watney’s travels on Mars with a web tool called Mars Trek 2.0. Websites like http://space.com and others provide more information about manned space flight and an eventual flight to Mars. If I were still a teacher, I would use this film as a springboard to learning in my classroom. “The Martian” has even inspired this senior citizen and long-retired teacher to do some research of her own.