Back in the day of rotary telephones, four television channels and Trapper Keepers, a highlight of my school week was the handing out of the newest edition of the Weekly Reader.
Condensed into a handful of colorful pages was a week's worth of kid-friendly news and information, a puzzle or two, and a half hour of guaranteed reading time in class.
For a bookworm like me, the Weekly Reader was a little oasis of heaven in the school week.
We learned last week that, after 80 years as a school institution, Weekly Reader is folding up its tent. Actually, the brand was victim to a common corporate move -- the purchase by a competitor. Education company Scholastic purchased Weekly Reader several months ago from its parent company Reader's Digest. Reports say all but about five of the magazine's 60 staffers will be laid off, and the magazine will be folded into the Scholastic publications.
Typical corporate mechanisms behind the scenes were somewhat responsible for the demise of the classroom staple, with parent company Reader's Digest filing for bankruptcy in 2009, and circulation plummeting.
The No Child Left Behind legislation ironically also helped hasten its demise. Schools have less time and resources to focus on social studies, with the emphasis on math and reading scores.
Scholastic was quick to reassure customers that a new and improved Scholastic News Weekly Reader will be back in the classrooms this fall. An interactive website will also include the best of Weekly Reader and Scholastic.
Call me an old romantic, but progress like this makes me sad.
It was hard to find ANYONE who complained about the cool, wet weather on Saturday. Temperamental jet streams have left much of the nation parched, and my poor garden fell into that thirsty category. Much more important were the corn and soybean fields, which looked so lush a month ago. Yield predictions were in free-fall over the past few weeks and economists warn of higher food prices in the coming months.
While Saturday's precipitation wasn't a "drought-buster" it certainly gave us a bit of breathing room and, for the first time in a long time, the weekly forecast shows a few chances of rain for later in the week.
The rain made a return visit in the wee early hours of Sunday morning. I can't tell you how lovely it was to be awakened in the middle of the night by the pitter-patter of rain on my roof. I fell back to sleep with a smile on my face.