Bob Groeneveld has been sharing his Odd Thoughts with Langley readers for the past four decades, give or take a few weeks.

Odd Thoughts: Long route back to school

Powerful Langley politician gets in the way of school supply

By Bob Groeneveld


Long route back to school

You’d think, in this day and age, getting kids set up to return to school would be easier than ever.

But you’d be wrong.

This is where I shift down (or up?) into old-timer gear, a reference to the days when cars mostly had standard transmissions – a reference that will soon become even more obscure when the motoring world eventually shifts to fully electric cars guided entirely by on-board computers.

Even if they have transmissions, standard or automatic, people will forget the concept of shifting gears altogether, because they’ll never have to touch a shift stick, or even a steering wheel.

Eventually, people will not be allowed to actually drive cars. The cars will drive themselves.

Most people will never own a car. Soon, nearly all cars will be owned communally, parked in convenient places where they can be shared by cooperative neighbours.

And of course, my thoughts have just shifted into a completely different lane… which is a natural consequence of shifting into old-timer gear.

The older I get, the more my thoughts take me to strange and wonderful places, almost as though my brain has turned into an internet browser (although with far less reach, more’s the pity).

Indeed, I initially sat down to write about the antics of one Annie Medd, one of Langley’s original political powerhouses, first elected to the school board in 1934, later to become the first woman in Langley to occupy the school board chair.

In typical Langley political fashion, Mrs. Medd managed to get herself embroiled in a local scandal, when it was determined that her choice of location to be purchased for a new Aldergrove high school happened to include land that she owned.

And that’s why it’s much harder to get kids ready for school these days – can’t seem to keep the mind on track long enough to choose a Winnable Translucent Two Pocket Portfolio, Assorted Colours (whatever that means) and a minimum24-pack of wax crayons.

Back in my day, only the rich kids had more than a 12-pack of crayons. Most of us had 8-packs.

But it is interesting to note that Crayola is still the crayon manufacturer of choice. Although the way crayons are manufactured has changed.

Now, if it hadn’t been noticed by former board chair Dodd (who had absolutely no axe to grind after losing his seat to a woman) that Annie seemed to be trying to stick her hand into the cookie jar, Aldergrove’s high school would have been built where Otter Elementary used to be before it was changed into a demonstration school, which saved it from closure, the fate of many rural places of learning during the Small School Purge of the 1990s.

Mrs. Medd, like Mr. Dodd before her, was actually “chairman” of the board because all titles of that sort, regardless of the occupant, defaulted to the male gender, an interesting artifact of grammatical protocols that have been overturned only recently.

Which leads us to another interesting note…

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