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Those October Saturdays

Fourth grade was an important year. 

No settling into a new school for the first year or two. 

My whole family was now a part of a beautiful community 

Full of teachers with shining smiles and students tucked 

Into little uniforms, green ties pulled tight, and skirts freshly ironed. 

Fourth grade was a special year,

When fall rolled around, taking with it the sluggish humidity 

And sour afternoons of summer. It brought crisp motivation 

Sprinkled in with the cold wind that led tiny hands to upper arms. 

We were going to learn a poem. It felt special. 

They trusted us enough to recite it to parents.

When the Frost is on the Punkin.

You had to say it like that. Not “pumpkin.”Punkin,

Like a woman who noticed you gazing around her store 

On the road trip with your family, 

“Can I help you dear?” Dialect was key. 

Put your hands behind your back 

And don’t stand on your tippy-toes. Lift your chin up. Eye contact. 

For a 9-year old, I was pretty good at it.

Saturday School.

Twice a year. Half a day. The autumn one 

Was always the best. Uniform, light sweater 

Pulled over to protect you from the chill. 

Wind rustling your hair, forcing the goosebumps 

Up your arm. Pumpkin cider doughnuts in the morning, 

A smile from the principal. The smell of the leaves 

On the ground, the cold pinching your nose and turning it red. 

Hoping it wouldn’t be stuffed up as you stood 

With your pumpkin and let your brain rattle away 

The words you had spent weeks memorizing, 

And could still remember six years from then.

A little shake.

A little shiver.

The promise of carving pumpkins when we got home.

Saying the words. Don’t stumble.

I didn’t.

A big smile.

A little wave.

I miss those October Saturdays.


More Submissions

When They See Me

When they see me, Will it be my intelligence Or the color of my skin? The sheer thought that My life could end before It begins scares me, Making me

Butterflies in the Hood

Momma told me I was a flower child, But I had trouble believing it Because our garden bed felt like it was embedded with concrete in it. We from the

If We Had a Kid

If I had a kid, I would be there Like my father was. If I had a kid, I would run. If I found a gun, I would keep walking.


I grow ice on my back, No choice in the matter. In the summer, When it’s warm And the sunlight covers my skin Like a heated blanket, I don’t notice

Kathi Badertscher, PhD

Director of Graduate Programs at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
Kathi Badertscher, PhD, is Director of Graduate Programs at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Dr. Badertscher teaches a variety of BA, MA, and doctoral courses, including Applying Ethics in Philanthropy and History of Philanthropy. She has participated in several Teaching Vonnegut workshops and is a member of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library. Dr. Badertscher has been a guest speaker on ethics in philanthropy, including at the National Association of Charitable Gift Planners – Indianapolis Council; Association of Fundraising Professionals – Indiana Chapter; and Zhou Enlai School of Government, Nankai University, Tianjin, China. In 2019 she received IUPUI Office for Women, Women’s Leadership Award for Newcomer Faculty. In 2019 and 2020 she received the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Graduate Teaching Award.
Dr. Badertscher’s publications include “Fundraising for Advocacy and Social Change,” co-authored with Shariq Siddiqui in Achieving Excellence in Fundraising, 5th ed., 2022; “Insulin at 100: Indianapolis, Toronto, Woods Hole, and the ‘Insulin Road,’ co-authored with Christopher Rutty, Pharmacy in History (2020); and three articles in the Indiana Magazine of History: “A New Wishard Is on the Way,” “Evaline Holliday and the Work of Community Service,” and “Social Networks in Indianapolis during the Progressive Era.” Her chapters on social welfare history will appear in three upcoming edited volumes on the history of philanthropy, including “The Legacy of Edna Henry and Her Contributions to the IU School of Social Work,” Women at Indiana University: Views of the Past and the Future, edited by Andrea Walton, Indiana University Press, 2022 (forthcoming). Dr. Badertscher is also the Philanthropy and Nonprofits Consulting Editor for the forthcoming Digital Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, edited by David J. Bodenhamer and Elizabeth Van Allen, Indiana University Press, 2021. Dr. Badertscher is an active volunteer in the Indianapolis community. At present, she is a Coburn Place Safe Haven Board Member and a Children’s Bureau/Families First Brand and Marketing Advisor. Dr. Badertscher holds the MA in History from Indiana University and the MA and PhD in philanthropic studies from the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

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