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Where’s my generation?

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POSTED June 5, 2014 1:28 a.m.

Another crop of Buffaloes, Lancers and Timberwolves has been boxed up and shipped out to the world. It got me thinking about the generations of families that have passed through these schools. Manteca High was founded in 1920, while “The Other School” arrived in 1966, splitting the town and breaking the lineage of many Buffalo bloodlines. Then the new kid on the block, Sierra, showed itself in 1994, further splintering family alumni legacies. I was interested in finding some of these legacies – a fourth generation Buffalo or a third generation Lancer. I kicked the tires on the possibility of there being a second generation Timberwolf, but was told I’m a year early. I even had one friend insist that a senior from “The Other School” graduating this very year, was in fact a fourth generation Lancer. I reminded her that math and the dating laws of California made that impossible. 

I was able to pinpoint two such 2014 graduates – Joseph Eavenson and Jessica Mullen. Joe’s Buffalo blood reaches back to great grandmother Marion Souza Orlando (1940), grandmother Beverly Orlando Eavenson (1961), and father J. Dan Eavenson (1986). Jessica’s Buff-line stretches back to great grandfather Robert Candini in 1936, with grandfather Dennis Candini (1969) and mother Erin Candini Luke (1989) to follow. 

I’d love to hear of a third generation Lancer from this year’s class, or a second generation Timberwolf if possible. However, what I’d love to hang from my mantel piece is the elusive fifth generation Buffalo. Congratulations 2014 graduates, whatever generation you may be.


The Great Graduation Confrontation Revisited

It is rare for me to have something I’ve written exceed expectationally. In the world of comedy, the shelf life of a well written joke lasts only a few fleeting seconds –  from the time the audience laughs to your next joke. 

When I took on the responsibility of this column, I assumed I’d be able to fill the page with personal anecdotes and Tales of Manteca Past and Present. I soon realized that without tying some sort of morality tale or attempting to impart a small life lesson into each story, I’d just be the drunk guy at the end of the bar prattling on and on about his life. Not that I’m above being that guy, but last week’s response to the column shed new light on what this could be. 

The amount of emails regarding my trials and tribulations as a senior in high school was overwhelming. From teachers to parents, and even a few students, people took the time to relay their personal thoughts on the matter. A few teachers stated that I had given them a little perspective, that if by year’s end they were unable to adjust a student’s behavior, that maybe the burden of responsibility fell into their laps as much as the students. Parents thanked me for the candor with which I spoke of acting like an entitled jerk – which is never pretty on anyone. There was even a student from “The Other School” that said the column hit home, and that going into her senior year, she’ll attempt to change the life trajectory she’s been on. (She also mentioned she thinks it’s funny that I refuse to name “The Other School” in my column, and as a comic, there is nothing more satisfying than someone that gets the joke). 

Most importantly I learned that “Manteca to a T” works so much better when the readers get involved. The pats on the back are appreciated, but the thoughts and ideas everyone has are what the column needs. This column has the opportunity to be a sounding board for the people in our community. My admiration of the late Pat O’Leary grows each day, as he’d often have more than one column a week. “Manteca to a T” is only 20 columns into its life, and I’ve been constantly trying to figure out exactly what “I” want it to be when maybe I should be asking what “you” want it to be. 

Please feel free to let me know what is on your mind, and we can hopefully figure out what this column can be together. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to ham it up and spin ridiculous yarns of my exploits. But I’ll attempt to make the sweater I’m knitting one size fits all.


And as for the question

Many people asked if I have received any word from Spock or Bo Peep. I’m not holding my breath, but word has it a special sit down with both of them is being scheduled for July 4 inside the Bernacchi Building. Two birds, one stone.


Letters to a T

I’d like to try something new today, as I said above, I received an overwhelming amount of email and Facebook messages regarding The Great Graduation Confrontation. One such message had an interesting spin on the end of the school year and was too thought provoking not to share (with the writer’s permission of course). So I submit to you the first installment of “Letters to a T.” Enjoy your vacation, teachers and students.

Take a moment and take a good look at the last 30 days of Facebook posts coming from the fabulous educators ranting and raving about how they are finally done with their jobs for the summer months. How thrilled they are to be away from those young minds that they accepted the responsibility to mentor, enrich, and lead in the right direction; those young people who they are forced to discipline when the student acts out or speaks inappropriately.  No need to take another look because these are going to be the same people who in one week will be banging their heads against the wall when their own children are driving them nuts and they’ll be posting about that as well!  Do these educators pay no attention to what their online posts can do for young people’s self-esteem? Not just their students but any young person who can view their posts. By an educator or any adult in general posting comments about how miserable they are is just plain tacky and in poor taste. No doubt educating is a difficult profession, but from the looks of these posts teaching can be done by anyone.

I have heard teachers make comments in response to difficult students that they are “not babysitters.” Well then why may I ask do these teachers insist on acting like a 16 year old by using time at work (lunch or prep periods you are liable to your employer) to take selfies for Instagram and Facebook updates?

In posting these comments do these “professional educators” realize how detrimental it could be to a child’s self-esteem to know that the one person many of them can count on day after day to be there for them is ecstatic to be rid of them. As a Children’s Mental Health Therapist I compose safety contracts with my suicidal clients on which they denote who they will go to in a crisis; over half of them respond with a teacher’s name. I can only imagine what those children would change if they were to see a teacher posting how they “can’t wait” to be away from their students. In my profession I have to deal with “difficult” children on a year round basis especially when they’re in crisis due to poor self-esteem and rejection by people they admire and respect. Like it or not, as an educator you have signed up to be a teacher, a disciplinarian and most of all a good example.

After seeing all these posts from teachers it scares me how inconsiderate and hypocritical they are by posting comments and pictures on the one thing that never goes away and is accessible by anyone who knows how to search the Internet – or at least this is what is engraved into students’ heads now days. It is as if these teachers took no consideration of those parents who will be researching their child’s teacher the upcoming year. I personally would not want my child in a classroom with a teacher who posts pictures of themselves flaunting their fashion, taunting their profession, or making jokes about getting “paroled” in X amount of days. It is important to have enjoyment in your work, and it is healthy for people to find humor in things, but it leaves me flabbergasted to see these frivolous posts.

No doubt teaching is a difficult job, after all those who chose the profession have to work almost a whole 180 days a year for crying out loud!? How on earth do they still have the energy to bitch and complain all year about how difficult their days are working 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. with their nights, weekends, and holidays off is beyond me. Do yourself a favor and think about what you’re doing before you do it.

Signed, Friend to a T

The views and opinions expressed in “Letters to a T,” do not necessarily represent those of “Manteca to a T” ... or they do to a T. Any response to this letter at can and will be forwarded to its author. Thank you. 

“It’s not Where ya do, It’s What ya do.”

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