Lover of Coffee, Part 1 (...Well, Mostly Titanic Day)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Somehow, over the years I've grown to be a coffee lover. More-so just recently. I guess you can say it's been a gradual process, and over time I've been drawn to the smell of freshly ground beans and the soft noise of chatter and pages turning that you find just so pleasant in a local coffee shop. Favorite place ever, beside Texas and (generally) the beach, of course...
Here is where it all began...
During Titanic Week in May of 6th grade... Just week before school was out for summer... We had a fun project in math class where we mapped out the length and width of the Titanic in real life, using the school football field. (So it sank April 15, 1912, which probably means that Titanic Week was mid-April..) 
Intermission: Now in Sugar Land (and most of Texas for that matter) it was called middle school, and it went from 6-8th grade. There was no intermediate school (names depended on district, I guess), and yes, unless you were in a private school, you left elementary after 5th grade- and generally had a fantastic graduation party and ceremony that was a huge deal, seriously. Class soundtrack, slideshow, awards, singing, dancing, skits - the whole shebang. And I still have the CD with the slideshow - love the music of my youth! I'm pretty sure one of the biggest songs of the year was "All Star" by Smashmouth and "World's Greatest" by R. Kelly. Yes, it was the early millennium, I guess you can say (I know I'm a youngster). It's also when the first Pirates of the Caribbean came out, well around that time... Fifth grade was probably my favorite year of elementary school though! Mini society and learning how to write checks correctly (anyone else?) were the best of times. So much fun.
This and the fact that it's a school in Texas means that football is a huge part of it. Which is why school football (and cheerleading) starts in middle school... Well, in 7th grade, but still middle school. And so do pep rallies... so fun!! I point this out because I split middle schools when we moved to Wisconsin for 7th grade and partly on, and there wasn't a football team. Not even soccer, at that school. At least from what I recollect. Just volleyball, basketball, wrestling, and snowboard/ski club. And a few others, but the point of the matter is that football isn't much a big deal for schools (that I experienced) in places other than Texas. At least, not as big of a deal. Same with pep rallies- instead of one before every football and basketball game, there was maybe 2 a year. Crazy talk. We really should just stick in Texas..
So we had football in middle school, which ran from 6-8th grade, and there was of course plenty of interest to make an A and B team (at least) for EACH grade level. Yeah, big deal. And it was a big school too... Bigger than the high school in Wisconsin that my brother and I both went to, as well. A nice building, two stories, never-ending rows of lockers, ridiculously wide hallways, amazing cookies (on Fridays only.. The cafeteria always sold out; They were very delicious and gooey... Still not able to duplicate them, I miss those cookies! They compare to the Sbisa cookies at A&M, y'all, that's how good they were), and the best vending machines ever (I loved Fanta! Anyone remember that drink... and the fun commercial jingles?) in the cafeteria...Everything's bigger in Texas, y'all.
Anyway, for a day during Titanic Week in 6th grade math class we went outside to the giant football fields (there were at least 4...) to measure the length and width of the Titanic, to get a bigger picture of just what we are looking at and studying. This is seriously the most vivid recollection I had of something I did in a regular class in 6th grade, save reading Tuck Everlasting (and watching the movie after) in ELA, which was a sweet and wonderful book (And also where I got the name Winnie for my piccolo). And watching Mythbusters in Science. Of course, I say general class, because I remember every little thing from beginner band in 6th grade with my precious Walter... My flute, which I still play now and then.
So we were told to dress the part, and that we did. We each picked an individual who was actually living and breathing when on the Titanic maiden voyage. We picked numbers out of a hat, and this stood for which class/type of passenger they were. So we picked names that fit the bill from a running list and got to researching. We wrote in journals as the person depending on the stories and artifacts we found online, and our studies of the Titanic throughout the week. There were a couple journal entries a day. And we decorated the journals in ways so that it looked straight from back in the day in 1912. Meaning that at home, we burnt pieces off cardboard and brown paper bags, taped them to the composition books, and glued old flowers and lace onto the front.. Maybe adding a few pictures and things on there, too. Probably one of my favorite parts was decorating the journal. And I still don't remember where I got the clothes to look like (whomever I was supposed to be.. I think her name started with a W, and she was a 2nd class passenger). I know that Titanic journal still exists somewhere, bound and in my parent's home.. If only I had it here with me, I'd post a picture of it!
Anyway, on this day, we- the entire 6th grade - dressed the part. In math class we measured the size of the ship outside on the football fields; In social studies we read journals from the people we picked online; In science (with Mrs. Veneziale.. Fun that I still remember that name. She was new that year, and no one liked her at the beginning, but I know we really enjoyed that class by this time in April) we watched documentaries of submarines or what have you excavating the remains of the ship in the deep ocean blue; And in ELA we wrote journals and things about our studies, and read them to each other. Of course, there was more than that, because we also had music electives (band was mine, duh) and P.E. but that's the essentials of it.
Titanic Day was kind of like a giant fun field day. In every class we were doing fun projects and kind of had free reign in creative problem solving, how we finished it. The point was that we learned a thing or two about the Titanic's maiden and only voyage, and we immersed ourselves in that history in all these different ways. It was pretty awesome, if I say so myself.
So at the end of Titanic Day.. School let out at 3:50 (It started at 8:50, which was awesome, because I could sleep in!), then I generally found my brother in the band hall, practiced Walter in the practice rooms if I had to (if he had concert or ensemble practice or something) then we walked home. It's fun, from our kitchen window, we could see the middle school across the levee. Which meant it took minutes to get there, which made my mornings easier. That house was probably my favorite we ever lived in! And that's a lot saying since we lived in at least 9 (yes, nine) different homes throughout my childhood years. At the end of the staff parking lot at the school, which was right outside the band hall, there was a bridge/road going over the levee, then we were on our side of town, I guess you can say... 'Cause that levee separates two different elementary schools in that area, and whichever side you lived on determined which school you went to. And we went to both, because we lived on one side renting before my parents bought the house with the kitchen view of the middle school on the other side. It was an awesome house, right next-door to a giant park, with a pool we built, backing up to the levee - which gave us many visitors over the years, including giant turtles (seriously, like a foot in width.. We couldn't get into the pool those days!) and tons of frogs... The visitors mostly came on days is was raining, which happened quite a bit, actually. (The levee grew in capacity by feet on days it rained, since when it rained in southwest Houston, it poured. I'm pretty sure if we didn't have that levee there, the streets would flood every time!)
Talk about throwback! Each instrument/group had it's own beginner class
I usually stayed at 6th chair but periodically made it up to 2nd chair.
Music was extremely competitive in Texas!! And so fun.
Huge difference once we moved to Wisconsin since there I was generally 2nd or 1st chair.
Beginner band was very thorough: My freshman year of high school I played better than most seniors!
But I said that I generally walked home with my brother - well, this day was different. Goodness, it was Titanic Day! It was almost as great as a field day! It was a big day, y'all! So instead I met with some friends (Kathryn and Kaci.. Haven't heard from them for a while) and one of their parents took us out for snack and a movie. It was pretty cool, to be honest...
This is where it all started. We went to Starbuck's for that snack. So this is my first memory of going to Starbuck's, or at least of getting a drink there. I know, Starbuck's is basically the coffee shop guru company.. Huge deal now. Well I probably went there a few times with my dad but didn't think much of it. I had no idea what to get, and I didn't really like coffee at the time, so I just got what my friends were getting - Vanilla Bean Frappuccino. It was delicious. Like a vanilla smoothie. I loved it. I went back with my dad, but he didn't like it. Too sweet for him, and no coffee. If only I had tried a shot of espresso with it then... How much time with coffee I have been missing out on during those years! But I did love the smell of the coffee shop, it gets me every time. Such a warm, happy smell.
All of that to say how I first made my way into a coffee shop, and was exposed to this incredible, smelly (but in a good way) world of coffee grounds and soft music, light conversation, and the turning of pages of glorious books. I'm thinking there is going to be a part 2 soon... On how, in the 10 years since then, I've gone from vanilla smoothies, to mochas, to coffee with just a smidge of creamer and milk, occasionally a cup of joe by itself.. And somehow I like it....Yeah, I like it a lot! I can't get up in the morning without getting some coffeemate in a cute mug and filling it with blonde roast or a vanilla blend from our Keirug. I seriously use that thing daily, yall. But since this is getting long... It will be continued... Part 2 to come soon!
Pictures via
Did anyone else have fun "field days" like this in school? Or a unit that expanded throughout every subject and class? Or what about your first experience with coffee, or just being at a coffee shop? Stories are fun!


  1. I love that you dedicated an entire post on how you came to your love of coffee...haha!!! This is just fabulous. I'm not a hardcore coffee drinker. I have a Keurig that I bought after having my second child, and realized that I would not be able to function on 2 hours of sleep while raising a 4 year old and a newborn...I drink it with tons of flavored creamer. lol.

  2. Wow. I'm a coffee lover too, but I don't have anywhere near as cool a story! I'm pretty sure it started by necessity to survive the load of homework in highschool.....

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