Saturday, August 29, 2009

Back in the Classroom.. only not.

Saturdays seem to be good blog days for me.

Saturday is just a good day of the week.

I went to Publix this morning and saw Alec, again. This time he took out my groceries because he wanted to brag about going to Boston and Concord, Massachusetts, and actually showing off his knowledge from his American Studies class two years ago.

He said, “We visited a lot of graveyards, saw some historical homes, and I put some Walden Pond water in my Dansani bottle and brought it home.”

I said, “Thoreau would have been proud. Did you go into the small town of Concord?”

He commented that they had lunch at a place called Thoreau’s Burgers.

I said, “No way; it's called Thoreau Burgers?”

He said, “Yeah, and they had some good names for the burgers.”

I said, “I can imagine. I’m sure they were puns. You know -- give me a Thoreau burger, all the way, without the work.”

Alec looked at me strangely.

I said, “You know Thoreau was really a goof off - didn’t really have a vocation.”

Blank stare.

I felt like I was back in the classroom.

I said, “Never mind.”

I then went to Party City to get tablecloths for the after-wedding brunch for my niece. [more on this later]

That store made me feel like I was on an acid trip. There was more plastic in there than all the waitresses at Hooters.

Trent, a long haired young man, maybe 16, with three piercings, tight white t-shirt, bold colored name tag, and black peg leg jeans, rang me up.

Trent: Can I put you on our email list?
Me: No, I doubt I’ll be in here again.
Trent: Why’s that?
Me: Too many colors, and I don‘t have too many needs for balloons and Abby Cadabby blowouts.
Trent: I know what you mean. When I leave here, I smell colors.
Me: Yeah, I can see that -- I mean, smell that… never mind. Thanks.

I felt like I was back in the classroom.

I also had lunch with a former student today. She and I met at Chili’s, and she brought her two children. Nicole graduated from HHS in 1994, and at one point, she was a babysitter for my nephews who are now 22, 20, and 18.

I thought I felt old -- now Nicole feels old; I just feel older.

Nicole is this sweet-spirited wisp of a girl, but she has given birth to these large children. Both of her children weighed at least 9 lbs at birth. Her daughter is solid and her son looks ready to tackle Michael Vick, before the stint at Leavenworth. She throws him on her hip like a bag of potatoes and tugs her daughter around.

She said, “No big deal -- both of my brothers are over six feet; we have some big ones in the family. I'm used to them.”

I actually went to Nicole’s wedding seven years ago where I ran into many former students -- she caught me up on many of them. Most seem to be functioning in society - they have mates, children, and jobs. Of the ones she mentioned, none of them have been incarcerated. One is in Italy with her military husband, another is in Boston where he husband is a disc jockey, and still another one works for the Federal Reserve.

Nicole’s class at HHS I remember very fondly for being a lot of fun as well as cerebral. They had four valedictorians that year -- a four way tie of some ridiculous GPA’s of 4.94678928856 or something equally nauseating. HHS had the biggest National Honor Society of any high school where I have taught. *no comment*


When she was a junior, Nicole would share her lunch time with me (I had third period planning) and complain that she was just not as smart as the rest of her peers, and I used to reassure her that she was, and besides, she was grounded and goal focused.

In fact, she and her husband are constantly setting goals which they are meeting. They both work full time and manage two children, a home, and all that goes with it. Great members of society if you ask me, and I reminded her of what she used to say all those years ago.

Nicole works for the Boy and Girl's Club of America where she manages a department where she has to push some adults around. She commented, “I just can’t believe how stupid some of these people are.”

I nodded.

She said, “I used to beat myself up in high school, thinking I was dumb and all, but now that I am out among the general population, I know I am smart.”

I nodded. I felt like I was back in the classroom.

Her children, a girl age three and a boy age one, are well-behaved but full of energy. Nicole and I barely got through lunch before they were wanting to climb the booth like monkey bars and throwing food like a frat party. Nicole, like all mothers of young children, does not do a lot of sitting. We cut lunch short and spent time on the bench of front of Chili’s trying to continue to catch up. Her kids were in the bushes, throwing the decorative rocks, and generally acting their age. Nicole kept up a running chat with me while chasing her children.

This is why you have to be young to have children.

God knows what he’s doing when he cuts women off at a certain age from having them -- it seems like he should also have provided that for men too, but then I remember Abraham.

Never mind.


I love Saturdays.

Actually, I love every day of the week, but Saturdays are still the best.


  1. I agree about Thoreau. How can you live a simple life if you are within walking distance to the nearest town, and you have visitors coming everyday?

  2. "There was more plastic in there than all the waitresses at Hooters." i think this could quite possibly be my MOST FAVORITE gillham quote of all time... actually it's tied for "one day you're going to snap and be in a qt and take hostages screaming 'SHE MADE ME HATE YOU!'" priceless!

  3. Was it weird last week when you didn't have to report for Open House?

  4. Did you happen to run into our favorite actress...only NOT while there with all that plastic around :P