I currently have three sleeping babies in my house. Two are from my own stock and the third is a dear friend's child. Sleeping babies = down time. Hence the deluge of posts.
I have been catching up on Facebook with friends from grade school (wow!), when I attended dear E.J. Brown magnet school in Dayton. I entered in the highest grade available in the charter year (3rd grade) and they expanded with our class. My 4th grade year was cut in half by a drive-by shooting which targeted our house for my parents' vocal anti-drug activities in the neighborhood, and so I spent part of that year in Vandalia, where I would eventually attend High School. I returned to E.J. Brown in 5th grade, only to find my senior status supplanted by an older class of new kids (much resented by me, thank you very much).
It's interesting to "catch up" with someone you haven't seen in YEARS - primarily those formative years that involve fleshing out of viewpoints, brain development, and girls + boys. The last time I spoke with many of these folks, things like crushes still carried the hazard of cooties. I remember learning for fun, and having friends whom I loved as only a child can.
My memories of these friends carry snippets:
- My first real art teacher, Mrs. Debevec, who had long braided hair and wore jangly bracelets and taught us how to make beads rolled out of paper,
- A joint birthday party with Joanna Miller at SkateWorld, complete with party favor bags decorated in puffy paints,
- The school-wide lip-sync contest created by Justin McClelland which offered such enticing prizes as Doritos and Pepsi (which may be why I prefer Pepsi to Coke...)
- Field Day and winning the hula hoop contest,
- Learning about "cute" boys when Chris Brandewie showed up to school with his photo in a local department store ad and all the girls giggled,
- Uttering my first swear word (a really bad one), completely by accident, instantly regretting it, but being more mortified that my favorite teacher would find out,
- Trick-or-treating with Gina and Didi Cordero in their neighborhood, where one of the "rich" houses gave out entire candy bars,
- OM ("Odyssey of the Mind") with Drew Domer-Shank and making up terrible plays about unearthing Roman coins, which we unabashedly performed at Sinclair Community College,
- Arriving late to school and finding all my classmates gone (I had missed the field trip), but finding a haven in one of my old classrooms, with a loving teacher who let me read books all day.
Interestingly, I am entering that phase again with my oldest daughter, Olivia. She is excitedly looking forward to the wonder of school this coming fall. Not yet ready for full-blown kindergarten, she already loves school, and will be entering the 3-6 year program at our local Montessori school.
When asked by these friends what I'm up to, I must admit that, on the outside, it seems not like much. I'm learning about plants and stars and insects and squirrels - all the things that a little child is exploring. It doesn't fit well on a resume, but to me is much more valuable than any degree - I am teaching a little soul about the wonder that is creation. And am hearkening back to the days when I still held that unbridled joy. It is a beautiful time to reflect upon, and I trust my contact with these dear friends will open those portions of their memories that help them revive their joy, too.
P.S. I was eating a toasted English muffin while I wrote this, so that title is justified after all...