Here is a slice of life for a Tuesday. You can read lots more here.
On Monday I drove around in the early morning hours to deliver some papers to a few schools for my fellow United Teachers of Los Angeles peeps. We are trying to get a raise after 7 years with none. There is very little hope. There is lots of angst and despair and anger here in LA.
But it hasn’t always been that way.
My route took me past my childhood home. The place I was lovingly raised. My mom and dad bought the house on 35th with a VA loan, my dad being a Korean War vet. We attended the most beautiful school in Los Angeles, right on the cliffs above the ocean, looking out at Catalina Island. We lived a modest life, my folks both being teachers, but we lived in a geographical paradise.
As I drove this morning, I saw the sidewalk I eagerly trotted along each morning, heading to a school with the sweet Mrs. Dankey, the principal who dried my tears when I didn’t get the math. I knew Mr. Harris, who cleaned that school as if it were his home. Always a kind word and a smile.
I parked near the cafeteria, where I served up many yummy grilled cheeses, brownies, coffee cake. I can remember the plastic apron and the hose I used to spray off the melamine trays. I can remember feeling important. And useful.
Getting back in my car, I glimpsed the hallway where my teacher told me that my aunt had just had a baby and my mom had delivered it! Right up the street! Did you know? No! I didn’t! I felt like family. Like everyone knew me and my family, and they cared. I was cared for.
I drove past the two story building where I wrote my heart out. I remember the smell of the rubber cement we used to construct the cardboard covers for the novels we wrote. I learned to love writing that year.
Then I went up the hill to the next school. Drove past Kevin’s, where his mom still lives. Lots of bottle caps flipped in that garage. Some other stuff too… good times. Yet I knew then that however comfortable that garage felt, I had other places to go. My high school years were full of teachers who taught me to dream and reach.
It was like this weird time warp morning. A little time capsule. And I had to pull myself back to the present, had to get ready to teach and face the 32 faces that would be looking to me within the hour. I am a product of some of the kindest and best people that have ever existed. And I work to make my profession live up to that promise for more children to come. More teachers to come. I love public education. I love its promise and its hopefulness and its inclusiveness. It is messy. But it is the best hope we have.
I loved my unexpected time travel this morning. Sweet reminders of what really matters.