Monday, June 27, 2011

Blades of Spunk

Summer, in all her pink dusky beauty, has finally arrived. In Seattle last week, I roller-bladed for the first time. Picture it: the afternoon sun fighting hard to reign supreme over the coastal clouds, the clean, radiant city spread out across the bay to my left, the smell of fried fish wafting over from the rickety restaurants to my right, and up ahead, my two littlest sisters, coasting along in perfect firm-bodied insouciance, their tight buns the focal point of my heart-thumping, arm-pumping effort to stay balanced. After what felt like hours of thirsty, sweaty, thigh-aching glory, my own (thankfully more padded) butt served as a graceless brake on the grassy slope, inches from where my other sister sat reading with Sparky perched on her shoulder. I gave her and the cockatoo a good laugh.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lake of Tears

The hot sun reigned over our end of the year Nonesuch camping trip.
It was glorious!

I swam across Lake Mendocino with Jackie in tow
I swam until my neck ached
I swam like I hadn't seen water in years
I swam laps of butterfly and sidestroke
I swam until I turned brown
I swam until I could not possibly swim another stroke...

and then I water-skied! I felt my arms getting sore and my wet hair flapping behind me and I let out a whoop of joy and the kids on the boat cheered me on and when I finally let go of the rope, I swam a little bit more.

Back in Sebastopol after the 3-day trip, we were all totally spent. In the parking lot of the community center, I hugged students and parents and co-workers good-bye, and (just like at graduation a few days before) I waited for the tears that just didn't come.

For the six years I've worked for her, I've never known Lynne to gush. She's not a hugger or a sentimentalist. I didn't want some awkward goodbye full of inadequate words to express my deep gratitude to her for letting me grow up as a teacher at her school. Instead I caught her eye and blew her a kiss. She did the same.

After we got home, unpacked the camping gear, popped open the champagne--that's when the tears came. And though it's been a few days, they keep coming.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Good-bye Nonesuch

Today, after six years, I taught my final classes at Nonesuch.

I gave away lots of books, sifted through the endless contents of my file cabinet, and wrote my final comments on students' papers. Here are some of the things I hope I always remember:

-Marisa rolling up the battered, torn, and loved Jack Kerouac poster that's hung on my classroom door for years, excited to put it on her bedroom wall.

-Brogan trying not to cry.

-Maddy writing at the end of her final essay: "Some kids say you're too strict, which (no offense) I agree with sometimes, but I also think you're pretty awesome."

-Lynne wearing the same exact purple shirt that she was wearing the day she interviewed me for the job :)

-Weston writing about how to survive my English class: "Be humble, don't talk over Jess, and don't talk racial." (he meant racist)

-M and I standing at the bottom of the hill, looking at the sun shine on the basketball court, after the last staff meeting we'll likely ever have together.