Tag Archives: Helman Elementary

Day 292: Marshall brings Hakatai tiles to Helman School

23 Jan

Marshall Malden showing a mosaic to the class at Helman Elementary

As a member of the Ashland Rotary I have gotten to know quite a few of the local business owners in town.  We see each other at meetings of course but you can really get to know them better if you participate in one or more of the club’s activities.  In our club you might help with the Rotary Garden,  the Rotary Run, or the annual Holiday Dinner to name a few.  In addition, we have something called “The Circle of Friends” where a small number of Rotarians meet once a month at a member’s house or business and share a lunch.  At that time the host tells “the friends” about their business, their family, and their life.

A few years ago, Marshall and I were members of the same circle and one day he hosted the lunch at his place of business, Hakatai Enterprises.  There Marshall told us the story of his career and how he had traveled to many places around the world and how he was now importing glass tiles from China.  After he told us about his life, he took us on a tour of his warehouse and showed us some of the beautiful mosaics that had been made with the tiles.

Near the end of the tour, I saw several boxes of tiles and I asked him if there were ever any tiles leftover after a mosaic had been made.  He said that at times there were and asked why I was interested.  That’s when I told him about my friend Mia, a kindergarten teacher at Helman Elementary.  I told him that she is always on the lookout for things that her students can use for art projects and I knew she would have a field day with those tiles.   That day Marshall sent be off with a box of tiles for Mia.

A week or so ago I emailed Marshall and asked if he would please come to Mia’s class and talk about his tile business and to bring some tiles with him if it was possible.  Marshall wrote that he could come to the class when he returned from a trip and we agreed to meet at Helman School today.

When we arrived Mia was reading a book about the Chinese New Year to her students.  I thought, “We could not have timed this any better!”  After a few moments, Marshall was introduced and he showed the children some examples of the mosaics that had been created using his tiles.  Then he spoke a little about the tile making process and answered questions.  Finally he showed the students the box of glass tiles that he had brought for them.  It was really great to see the kids so engaged.

To thank Marshall for his graciousness and generosity, I had to do something nice for him… and I thought that he might like a Bacon, Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche.  It was the very least I could do to express my gratitude for his kindness.

Day 265: Taylor

27 Dec


Lemon Curd Pie with Gluten-Free Almond Cookie Crust, Whipped Cream and Blackberries
We met Taylor when he came to Helman Elementary in the fifth grade and became friends with our son, Coco. Somehow these two boys hit it off right away and they have been friends since that time. For a while, Taylor lived only a block or so away and we saw him all the time. It was as if we had another son – and that was a good thing.

We have really enjoyed having Taylor as part of our extended family. That first summer Coco asked if Taylor could come along on our annual camping trip. When we first broached the idea of bringing a “friend” along (who was not family) we anticipated that there might be a problem because we were camping with five families and the dynamics might change with new folks joining in. But we should have known that Taylor would just meld into the group and he’s been an integral part of the camp-out ever since.

When Coco went away to the Czech Republic for a year, Taylor kept in touch with us and even helped me with my catering business. It was as if he knew that I needed a son around and he was willing to step in and be there. That was something that I really appreciated though I don’t know if I told him that at the time.

Yesterday when we got back from our coast trip, I found a gift on our bench from Taylor and his mom Jamey. They were thanking us for being part of Taylor’s family – and I would like to thank them both for being part of our extended family. Our lives have been richer for their presence in it.

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