My daughter turned 31 yesterday -- hard to understand, because I'm surely no older than 35 or so, at least in my head.
In thinking about her good job, and her fine fiance, and her exciting future, thoughts came, too, of her school years, and a question she posed often, first with genuine curiosity, and later just to bug me: What will there be in the world when I grow up that there isn't now?
At first I was completely stymied, awed by the rush of technology that had occurred during my lifetime, and frankly scared by the pace at which it would probably proceed. Ultimately I begged the question, saying that finding the answer was her generation's challenge.
What I like about that memory is her curiosity, which, happily, she has retained.
I have some answers to her question today, too: fax machines, and cellular phones, and extraordinary prosthetics for people who have lost limbs, and television cameras that can travel through arteries, and squeezable Cheese Whiz. (Her question didn't require that all new things be wonderful.)
When my daughter was in school 15 to 20 years ago, she was lucky to have lots of programs that encouraged her curiosity and interests. Today, the financial realities of education are very different. School systems must make hard choices -- programs disappear, or equipment is not kept up to date.
At Annapolis Senior High School, as at many other schools, the Parent Teacher Student Organization fills in some of the blanks, providing funds for programs or projects that the county budget falls short on.
The Annapolis High PTSO is having its third annual spaghetti dinner fund-raiser a week from Thursday from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Back to School Night will start in the auditorium at 7 o'clock.
Dinner tickets are $5 for adults and $2.50 for students 12 and under. They're available at the door, or from many PTSO representatives in the community.
According to Ashton Poole of the PTSO, the Back to School Night program is a chance for both parents and students to get a look at what the school has planned for the whole year, to meet the faculty and administration, and to learn about activities that use parent volunteers.
Following the presentation in the auditorium, parents will get a feeling for what school is like -- bells and teeming halls and all -- as they sit in on 10-minute classes and presentations by individual teachers.
Mr. Poole encourages parents to attend the spaghetti dinner and Back to School Night.
"The strength of the school system is based on the participation of parents, both on the home front and as volunteers on projects," he said.
Patti Orndorff is chairwoman for the Sept. 30 evening.
For further information, or for tickets for the dinner, call her at 267-0896.
If, in your fantasies, you see yourself traveling in a style few can experience, you need to consider attending the Historic Annapolis Foundation Harvest Night at the William Paca House on Oct. 1 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The Silent Auction around which the evening is planned features a 1971 emerald green Mercedes 280 SE, given by an anonymous donor. If you're the high bidder, you can use the car to drive to Camden Yards next summer for your second purchase, 10 Orioles tickets at the Crown Oil sky box.
Other items in the Silent Auction include art work, weekend and longer getaways, gourmet dining and a marina membership. While contemplating your bids, you can enjoy food from area caterers and restaurants, beer and wine, and a tour of the Paca House.
Tickets, at $40, are still available for Harvest Night. If you are unable to attend, you can request a catalog this week and make bids by mail or phone until Sept. 30. Historic Annapolis Foundation is also accepting donations for the auction, through the end of this week.
To order tickets, request a catalog, or to make a donation, call the foundation at 267-7619.
A lacrosse clinic run by St. Mary's Coach Jim Moorhead is scheduled Oct. 10, 17, and 24.
Moorhead will be assisted by Rob White, Mike Codd, Freddie Kramer, and Brian Wood. Children age 7 and up are eligible.
The cost for the lacrosse clinic is $10. Registration is tonight, tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at P.A.L. Park Concession Stand.
For more information, call Chuck Pearce at 267-6811.
The Galesville Volunteer Fire Department is having its 12th annual antique car, truck, and farm equipment show this Saturday at the Carrie Weedon Elementary School.
Chief Terry McAllister said that registration for cars, fire trucks and machinery begins at 9 a.m. and runs to 11 a.m. The entry fee is $10.
There will be a parade at 11 a.m., and an antique fire truck contest and kids' tractor pull at noon. Trophies will be awarded at 2:30 p.m.
A yard sale and flea market is part of the fun.
Space can be reserved by calling 867-2727.
For information on requirements for the antique vehicles and machinery, call Chief McAllister at 867-1521.
Barring rain -- and they've been lucky so far this summer -- the last scheduled Sail Free with Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
CRAB offers a free sailboat ride to all comers, able bodied or with disabilities. Two of CRAB's boats have specially designed seats to hold wheelchair guests comfortably and safely.
Visitors are taken out on a first-come, first-served basis. The program operates at Sandy Point State Park.