EDITOR: Several years ago I was the lucky recipient of a poem
that follows. It was written by the daughter of Helen Harkness who
was a wildflower expert living in Paradise Valley.
Several years ago I was the lucky recipient of a poem that follows. It was written by the daughter of Helen Harkness who was a wildflower expert living in Paradise Valley.
The story of how it came to Morgan Hill is almost as nice as the poem. Sylvia and Kent Brady’s daughter Janet was attending the University of Oregon. She was homesick for Morgan Hill. She went to the library, and struck up a conversation with the librarian. They learned that Paradise Valley was home to both of them.
The librarian comforted Janet and asked her to come back the next day to get a poem she had written.
Cherries on my dress
Stars in my eyes
I slipped down the valley road
To learn to be wise
Down the road to learning
With my lunch box in my hand
Up the steps and through the door
Into a wonderland
A land of books and numbers
Of paper to color and cut
Of recess time on the swings and bars
Or a eucalyptus hut
Into a world of teachers
Of test and baseball and art
Galoshes and rain and music and friends
Each play a special part
Machado would you know me?
My hair is turning gray;
But the love of learning you sought to plan
Is strong in me today
Grateful am I for that schoolhouse
On its quiet valley road
Where we grew with the oaks around us
‘Till we left Machado’s fold.
Winnie Harkness Couchman
My children attended Machado School. They are grown now, but we hold strong memories of their time there. I love the memory of a day when I stopped by the school, a frequent event since I was an active member of the Neighborly Club, proud to be in a long line of ladies leading back to 1895.
The children were not in class, but I could hear them down by the creek. There they were, wading in the creek with dappled sun on them, cool on a very hot day. Soon, they gathered on the bank and their teacher read a story to them. Then back to class.
Recently there was a study about the affects of violence on children, and on how it leads to violent behavior in adulthood. The schooling at Machado is just the opposite. It is academic, of course, but it is also about quiet, about a real creek, about having natural light in your class, about being able to gaze out at a distance and think, about gentleness and being OK.
I would like to point out that Machado is not just for 20 children, it is for 40 children per year. Indeed, as time goes by, that makes one-third of the plus or minus 600-member student body at Paradise Valley School, which, incidentally, is not in Paradise Valley like Machado is, rather it is in the George Day development.
Certainly the small sum of money needed to keep Machado open can be found in a large budget, even among cuts. Please give local children an opportunity to have the timeless experience of schooling at Machado.
Nancy Marselis, Morgan Hill