Vn102.1 The Last Day 10/8/77
Both children and I had planned to spend another Saturday afternoon
at the movies. For the past three weeks, we have spent our Saturdays
watching Marx brothers movies (cf. Vignette 93). These last two weeks
we have seen A Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races; Animal Crackers,
Horse Feathers, and Duck Soup. Great movies, a pleasure to attend with
children when you too can enjoy them. Alas, those Saturdays the movie
was nearly deserted, and today we found the Marx brothers festival was
“Hey, Dad, let’s go to Logo and do an experiment!” Miriam suggested.
Whence this enthusiasm? The day before we had done the Bending Rods
experiment. (Miriam hated it; Robby found it tolerable). The children
knew the last experiment was to be ‘The Snoopy Train’ (cf. “Constructing
Tracks from Rails” in Piaget’s Grasp of Consciousness). Though I was a
little less prepared than I had intended to be, the children were both
enthusiastic. I considered this the more important feature of the situation.
I agreed — on condition that we finish off quickly two experiments I wanted
to duplicate from April (Inclusion and the Islands).
After a minor squabble about who should go first, the day went well.
Both children each did two experiments, we had lunch, and then each, in
turn, played with the Snoopy Train. As they expected, at the end of the
day they were able to take the train home, and they have played with it
persistently since then.
Thus this project has come to a relaxed and happy end. As I’ve
discussed it with them, the children remember some bad times and a lot
of good ones. They have had the rare privilege of involvement in a
project which they believe is meaningful and significant work. Miriam
will be 6 and a half tomorrow. Twenty six weeks have gone by all too
rapidly, even thought this last month has been quite wearing for me. (I
believe this has been due to my allergies, the antihistamines they
required, and so forth). The children will continue coming to Logo with
me any time they want. We will do a few more videotaped sessions. The
end of the project will be marked mainly by my ceasing to collect data
and reducing constraints on the children (e.g. they can play Tic Tac Toe
with Glenn whenever they want). The immediate future promises a
broadening of their interests. Both children will be studying French and
Woodworking in the Brookline after school program. Robby has decided to
take up the cello.
Now remain my burdens: one, with which Gretchen has volunteered her
much-needed help, that of processing these data to a form more publicly
accessible; the other, of making good sense of the data.