This is the third installment of my Post Office Protest.
A mild breeze buoyed up my spirits, as the early March sun tried to hammer them down with a sudden sense of urgency. No need for a gavel this fine morning. Laytonville rises sleepily of a Saturday, stretching out her verdent green arms, taking advantage of the fact that a year ago at this time, those local hilltops, had been swathed in a shimmering white garment, so harsh and relentless, as to require that my eight siblings and I, combine forces to gently convince Mama to leave the mountain, and repair to a comfortable apartment in Willits, after thirty-five years, up here on the mountain. Mama is 89 years young.
I had arrived at the post office at eight this morning to plead my case to Laytonville, that there were discrepancies in my exchanges with the editor of our local publication, though I believe I have now formed some positive conclusions. Meanwhile, I was alone in the center of my town, for the first time in my life, for more time than it took to dash into the post office, and back. Though I knew that the newspaper existed on the same site, I have never crossed the threshold. Too bad; if I had, Susan and I would probably never have played mean with one another. I am sorry for that.
The very first person I encountered was Helen, and it was reunion time for close to the 300th time, in the last two weeks. The Carnival HammerHead, also known as FaceBook, continued to whip me around and around on this incessant emotional form of entertainment. She greeted me warmly, and we spent a minute catching up. Later, when she drifted back in the direction of her business, I mulled over the information about Eric, and how he no longer has to wait those four interminably long years, before entering the Mowdock Academy of Engineers.
And while I pondered it, I ate a piping hot container of the finest veggie soup, I think I have ever tasted. Maybe the thought of what I was attempting to do, spiced it up. What was it that I was trying to do? Well, you must know me better to think I care about the local paper. I care about the fact that there is a lot of emotion being trampolined around, and people seem thunderstruck by recent events. No one seems to be able to focus beyond the courtroom. I am also fixated on the courtroom, but my fixation extends beyond, to Kaiden. HERE is where anyone can make a difference. Every dollar that you contribute to Kaiden's College Fund, is doing something. It is saying to Jamal and Miranda, that we cannot turn back the clock, but we can look forward. I am going to need that gavel I discussed above for this gig, but I'm only fifty-nine years old, so I may still have a few ink cartridges to go, before I say hey to Roberto, Thurmond and the rest.
After I posed a clarifying question, Helen responded that indeed, Eric would be driving trains, the same as Benny drives a fire engine. Then I think of that silver-haired, spectacled grandfatherly figure in the starched uni, striding to the front of that 757 that we hired to whisk us to a tiny, glittering Emerald, across the Irish Sea.
I would like to have seen that same individual stride into my first student-teaching venue, and soar. There were only thirty-one seventh grade students, because if there were thirty-two, then the District would have to have provided an instructional assistant. What’s thirty-one middle school students, here and there among friends? I think the pilot would have had to duplicate Chesley Sullenberger, who plunked his wounded duck, down into the waters of the Hudson. I see no alternative.
It boggles my pea brain. I do not want the responsibility that comes with flying a plane. But then I contemplate standing up in front of thirty-one seventh graders, asking them, of all things, to read in this day of technological advantages, and I wonder idly how I did it the first time, with panic attack syndrome. Somehow I managed to control my condition, to complete the student-teaching portion of the show.
Otherwise, that is a lot of time and money wasted, to attend Dominican College, in Ukiah. On top of that, I would have about a thousand fewer friends in this neck of the woods, because I would never have taught in the middle school. I would love to teach in the middle school again, for free, if I did not have to teach to any stinking test, and I did not have to attend staff meetings that taught us how to teach to a stinking test. Paul and I teaching to a test. Right.
Anyone who ever sat in our classrooms, knows, we didn’t teach to any test. They don’t assess your ability to perform Shakespeare on STAR tests, nor your ability to dig ditches, and calculate materials, when you want to beautify your school. They don’t calculate students’ ability to work together, emulating the real world, as we forced Complex Instruction down your throats. Casey. Poor dude. He hated Complex Instruction, because it slowed him down. Anyone who knows Casey, knows you do not slow him down. He might blink, or even pause, but he will never slow down until he gets to be, how old am I? Well, at least until he's 59. He spent a lot of time in different educational venues, working independently, because no one wanted Casey marking time in her classroom. He would have left tire tracks on the seat of his chair, spinning his wheels.