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Memories @ MindSay



 

   
Memories

I've had this running through my head recently. Memories...a dance after a student conference, a girl I liked, who, as usual, didn't like me nearly as much, but she danced with me anyway. What, 30 years ago now? Some memories can make you happy, some can make you sad...and some can do both at the same time.
 
 
   
 

Unbelievable
NO, not that I'm writing two days in a row!

The fact that whatever family member you believe or whatever document, my grandfather would have been 101 today if he were still alive.

He's the only guy I know of who had THREE birthdays.  His parents never agreed on which day he was born, his SS card said a date, and his birth certificate said another.  Thus, I used to call my grandpa every October 30, October 31, and November 1st to wish him a happy birthday.

He died in December 2000 at the age of 88, still one of the most interesting men I've ever met in my life. Present tense.

That's almost 13 years ago - still miss him SO much.
But today he would have been 101.  Stupid cancer; he definitely could have made it this far without it.


OH what I wouldn't pay to hear him call me, "Granddaughter" one more time.
 
 
 

   
Too Real, Too Soon
We had a 'safety' in-service today at 1 after the kids went home.

7ish police officers, local and state sat with us in the cafeteria, but only one did any talking in the front while the others just hung out in the back of the room.

Anyway, it was an hour + presentation on lockdowns, lockdown drills, etc.

And I cried through the first 40 or so minutes of it.  Not noisly (but the principal was right next to me, so a little awky), just constant flow of tears and wiping my eyes.  All the awfulness of Sandy Hook and others before it just slamming back into me.  I ALMOST forgot to be afraid at work.  It almost felt like 'go to work.  teach. paper work. home.  no danger' could be a possibility again.

Now, it's just....pumping through my veins.  Especially realizing that there isn't really an ideal spot in most rooms to hide kids; to get to another exit if the 'intruder' is coming into our room; to protect ourselves.

Going to school should not be a terrifying thought. And I'm not talking about me, an adult and a constant worrier.

I mean the 4th grader who was at the after school program as I walked by and asked me why all the teachers were in the cafeteria with all the policemen.  Even trying to put a positive spin on it, that we really are just trying to make the school be safer, I could still see that he...he's feeling it.  And I bet others are, too.

Doing these practice drills might trigger some really bad stuff.  I know it's smart for WHEN (I want to write 'IF' but...), but... I don't think people are acknowledging how close to the surface that nightmare still is.  I bet that every time they have to unlock the parking lot entrance instead of just walk through, they remember why.  Or when they see a propped open door, or even when one of the Sandys get paged over the PA.
 
 
   
 

Can't Forget
At this time today
eleven years ago
everything was still normal.

I was just a regular junior in a regular high school, and first period was just starting up. 

You know, I don't remember a single thing about that last regular morning.
I wish I did; the last morning before everything changed and we truly knew fear and the entire world changed.

But I have no idea who I talked to.  What I ate for breakfast that morning (most likely nothing, as breakfast and I weren't friends).  If I told my parents that I loved them.  If the cat bit me.  If I had a project due, or a test I didn't want to study for, or if there was a single thing that truly worried me.

I know that just 2 days prior, at Stacey's Sweet 16, I'd made-up with Eric, and was delighted by that.

And all of it was shattered walking into 4th period.
That was the end.

Everything THEN is still a movie in my mind; walking in care free, talking to Nicole, the room buzzing, and Doctor Lagana silent against his desk.  It being several minutes into American History, and we were not being shushed, even though Doc, the mouse of a man he was, was usually chomping at the bit to tell us his stuff.  A strange black box on the windowsill next to me, as a fall breeze came past the window.

The black box was talking - a radio.  A radio with a woman's voice talking about The World Trade Center.  Why?  Why?  It's something I knew about, something I'd heard in 3rd grade - truck. basement. bomb.  Was today the anniversary of that attack?  That wast he most pressing piece of news they could talk about today?  And... why was a radio on...at all?

The second I heard a man say, PLANE, I knew that it wasn't the same.  That something was very, very wrong.  That I couldn't talk to Nicole anymore, but turn my body completely the opposite direction, over my desk and towards that open window, straining to make sense of the words coming from my left.  A ripple effect; within 2 minutes, all 30 of us are silent, looking at Doc, waiting, expecting.

Doc, impossibly smaller than he's ever been, legs crossed, arms folded, eyes red and the bottoms drooping impossibly lower than his old age already causes.  Heartbroken.  In shock, even.  A slight look up, and then,
"This is happening now".

The rest of the day is hushed information and hugs and television watching.  Over and over and over and over slam slam slam slam.  It never makes any more sense.  An accident?  That can't be an accident.  An attack? From who? What's the reason?  Why New York?

Reports coming in - Sarah's dad is fine, but she's going home anyway.  A town over, they can see the flames and smoke from the football field (we're spared that). People jumping.  People covered in ash, disorientedly trying to walk across all the bridges to get home.  The city shut down.  Nicole's dad is okay - his work is just far enough away that he's shaken up, but not directly hurt.  The fire will burn for months.  No one can know if there are people still in the rubble that are alive; I certainly can't imagine what I would do if I was buried in that terror, unsure of anything.  I don't think I talked the rest of that Tuesday (today's Tuesday).  No words felt right.

Everyone is crushed.  Even the most happy person is subdued - no laughing anywhere in a building of 4,000 + teenagers and their enigmatic teachers.  Even the oblivious seem to know that normal left hours ago, before we had a clue what was happening (fourth period beginning at about 10:10, the planes  having already crashed, the South tower already collapsed).  Fear  has so many people by the throat.

Home is more of the same.  Since we didn't have class the rest of the day, just going into assigned rooms and watching video of destruction ad nauseam, there is no homework to do, not that we could have.  Just hours of news watching and praying and wondering and calling everyone I knew in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.   Betty's cousin isn't found yet - she's so worried for him (she has a right to be - he never comes home).  Barbara's son is missing.  Interviews  with people who made it outside - survivor's guilt already setting in.  Interviews with strong members of FDNY and the NYPD, their eyes shiny as they realize just how big all of this is.  Speculation of motive, of organizer.

No one knows what to do.

Is more coming?

Numbness through Friday morning.  Waking up (slightly; not much sleep has been happening) to my alarm and hearing the emotion and pain in my beloved DJ's voice.  Crying for the first time since I heard Doc's radio.  I can't make sense of anything.  Going to school, and continuing to just hug everyone.  People I don't know.  Anyone who looks like they need a hug is fair game - the whole school seems to have adopted the same 'open-hug' policy.  I don't need to know your name, you don't need to know mine, we just need to care about each other.

Where did that feeling go?  As the elections come in 2 months, and everyone is throwing everyone under the bus and 'hates' the other, where is who you were 11 years ago, when your neighbor's politics were not important, but you'd do anything for their mental state and to help them as a person?

September 11th will always be a very hard, extremely emotional day for me.  There is no getting around that. I don't want to go around that. I will never forget.  I will never listen to anyone who tells me to 'get over it'. I will never understand 9/11 'jokes' in any capacity, and will confront people who think they are impressing ANYONE with them.  I will forever stand up for my Muslim and Arab friends who had NOTHING to do with one man's plan, and fight against stereotypes that anyone of that background is capable of evil (do ANY groups exist where all members follow the stereotype? NO).  And I will never understand why.
 
 
 

   
Change of Perspective.
Just had our last staff meeting for the year.  Pretty vanilla in its happenings until towards the end, when Gwen (my principal) wanted to 'honor' Susan, the Autism teacher who is leaving us to go live closer to her mom.  It started this snowball effect where people started pointing out other people they wanted to recognize; Jolie and Megan for stepping in after the year had started, Aaron and Kat for also being first years at JSS, Hannah for being new to Jackson.  I got choked up; I love Susan. She was integral to the first 3 or so months of my school year, and I really do love and appreciate all of the people that were named.  Sitting in that room of all these wonderful people, I was also upset that the chance exists I won't be on staff next year.  And that is a really hard truth to accept.

Then, completely out of character for myself to the point that I actually wrote down in my notebook "Am I really feeling this way?" ... I started being a little upset that all of these other names were being tossed out and celebrated and honored, and I wasn't.  My program wasn't.  I'm a fan of giving praise, not getting it, but it was kind of upsetting that no one considered what I did valuable enough to comment on.  Aaron ALMOST did, when he mentioned Kathleen being upstairs as well as 'Cathy's staff'... but Cathy's staff doesn't go upstairs, she and Wanda pull-out.  MY staff have been up there every day since September...

Then I hear from behind me, "And we have to mention Emily in this.  How she's quiet and doing her work and doesn't complain about all that she has to deal with".

Who was the owner of that voice?

Mary Ellen.

aka, the teacher I spent the whole year convinced had great disdain for me.  Maybe it was something Mark just planted in my head (she WAS the one who spread a big chunk of that rumor), but apparently, she also recognized the fact that I'm busting my ass at my job for little else than the fact that I have nothing else.  It was a really strange moment when I processed it was HER; seeing that maybe, she doesn't think these horrible things about me like I worried ('worried' is a little severe, I don't really care if she LIKES me or not).

I will be honest; I have a hard job.  But I also work with more-than-amazing people, and I want my job back.

Any finger crossing you wanna do to facilitate that is welcome and appreciated.
 
 
   
 

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