First of all, it was kind of you to start placing bets on my ability to keep my sanity over the summer. Do I have to remind you all that we’ve done this before? I’ve already LOST my mind… it’s not like it’s going to get LOSTER just because I’m locked in the asylum with the other inmates! Seriously–nearly four years, I’ve been blogging. You’d think people would get used to the taste of crazy-brains here at this URL!
Anyway–as for what I did tonight (besides just spend an hour editing “Making Promises” which is both really exciting and REALLY depressing. Nothing like seeing proof of your own scatterbrained wackadooness in the editor’s incriminating little baloons!) Well… it goes back thirteen years ago, to my second year at Natomas.
It was the year I had the class of 2000 as freshmen. And then I had some of them as Seniors, and some of them in between when I taught Creative Writing.
About two weeks ago, when my depression about my job had ALMOST reached the nadir, three young women came into my room–and, omg, I remembered them. From ten years ago, when they’d graduated in the year 2000. They wanted me to come to their reunion, and I said yes.
They tried to find other teachers–some weren’t teaching at NHS anymore. Some weren’t teaching PERIOD. And in the end, only two of us showed up–and I was the only one who showed for dinner.
I had a wonderful time. I went all out and bought an outfit, because when the girls all walked in, they were dressed very professionally and I was the slob in the fat-ladies jeans and the supersized T-shirt. I promised them I’d dress like a grown-up, and so I did. I put my hair up, my make-up on, and went out to dinner with some very nice, very grown people who have accomplished some very awesome things. Examples?
* The young man we gave our old couch and television too–who, although he’s working in sheet metal now, spent five years as a bass player in a Christian Rock band, and had the FANTASTIC ink to prove it.
* The young woman who survived the horrific homelife to become a WEAVE advocate–she’s going to get her law degree.
* The young man who wanted to work in the zoo–and is now working in primate research at a local University. (Oddly enough, there is a gay version of him mentioned in a novella I wrote, coming out in August…I didn’t get a chance to tell him that, and I think he would have enjoyed knowing!)
* The young woman who tends bar right now, but is still working on her degree–and is talented and funny and brought us all together to host the thing. (And who has amazing butterfly tattoos on her back!)
* The young man who drove us all crazy as a student, and moved on to coach our basketball team.
* The young man who works as a paramedic with his wife and high school sweetheart who works in the nursing registry, while they switch off to take care of their nine year old and six year old boys.
* And the young man who works at Starbucks because he likes the people, it has good benefits, and because he’s expecting his first baby and is so damned proud.
I remembered these amazing adults as young people, and I was so damned proud. They gave the other teacher and I flowers, and I told them, “You guys were one of the sweetest groups of people I’ve ever had the good fortune to teach. The visit from the three young women who wanted me to be here tonight was one of the things that will give me the faith to return next year. Thank you guys, for asking us here–and helping us keep the faith.”
They also gave me an award meant for alumnae–but they liked my answer on the questionaire so much, they decided that I should get it instead. It said, “What is the biggest accomplishment you’ve made since graduation?”
I replied, “I never quit learning after high school.”
My reward? Nerds. Three boxes of the candy–and, Goddess bless them, an entire room full of them, dancing in a joyous circle as I left.