Folders and Disguises


A slice of life from San Pedro. Click on that to read more from other places. Thanks to Two Writing Teachers for this space and fellowship!


On my walk this morning I zipped into the local Office Depot. It’s that time of year… 1 cent folders are hard to resist. Since they won’t tell me when the mark down will happen, I check in every so often to see. Last year I was able to sweet talk the guy into letting me buy sixty, but usually they have a limit. Today I had visions of finding the cheap price and then having to go in every few hours in different clothes. I could disguise myself and get sixty, no, 120, no– even 180!

A new folder in a bright color for a new writing unit always seems so special. My students love taking out the stuff they don’t need anymore, storing it in a portfolio, while keeping our word wall, a few charts, maybe a favorite mentor text, and putting it in a crisp, clean folder.

This is an easy and small expense for me. Except for the disguise part.

I had a quick flashback of my dad doing a similar thing a few years ago. My mom was trying to get rid of some old computers from our church’s school, which was closing down. There is an electronic waste disposal center in our town where they come out in Hazmat suits to take the old stereo parts, computers and clock radios from the back of your car. When he got there with the Civic’s back seat piled high, they told him they could only accept three. Businesses couldn’t just dump all their waste at once.
My dad was furious. “This is not a business, it’s a school. A private school, but a school! Come on!”

No deal.

So my dad, the rule-follower that he was, went home and stormed into the bedroom. Mom followed him in, “What happened?” He took off his shirt.

“Did something spill on you?” (A good guess.)

He changed hats.

“Don, what is going on?”

He explained, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and headed back out. He moved the remaining computers to the back seat of their other car, and headed out to complete his dastardly deed.

I love that image of my dad. He loved rules. He was a man of integrity. And yet, when he perceived an injustice or ridiculous rule, he did what he had to do.

He taught me well.

Office Depot, watch out.



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10 responses to “Folders and Disguises

  1. Pat

    Sweet story! Do you have some hats? You know, when you go back?

  2. A gal has got to do whatever necessary for a deal, right? I hope you were able to snatch a deal with minimal costume changes. 🙂

  3. I hope the sales person was reasonable and just let you take what you need. NO disguise needed. No one should have to ever go through that many hoops for a great sale. Made for a perfect slice though!

  4. sallydonnelly11

    I was traveling on Tuesday so just now taking time to read some SOL. Loved your story!! You showed the clever side of your dad and showed so well how his actions inform yours today. What a great story and so well crafted!! So glad I took time to sit and read this morning. You made me laugh!! Thanks.

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