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Wednesday
Jan122011

November 30

Hazel Motes sat at a forward angle on the green plush train seat, looking one minute at the window as if he might want to jump out of it, and the next down the aisle at the other end of the car.

Wise Blood, by Flannery O’Connor

 

Dear Dixie,

We come back from a week of giving thanks to not giving up.

I turn on my computer and warm up my e-mail and read fresh news from parents … of emergency orthodontics appointments this morning.  He’ll be in later this morning.  She’ll be in later this morning.  Maybe.  We’ll have to see how she gets through this.

News of a recently departed grandmother.  The family will be travelling for the next two days.  Please e-mail us his assignments.

News of a recently departed and beloved family cat … so go easy on him this week.  He loved that cat.  He was very upset.  Then two days later during the holidays he broke his arm fighting imaginary ninjas in his room.  E-mail with your observations, if any.  He’s not had a good week.  Anyway, hope everybody had a nice Thanksgiving!

And a first-person witnessing of two sunburned 8th grade girls who visited a beach in Florida together.  Petal had four Band-Aids on her face to cover up the open wounds made by too much sun … there had been some peeling open and weeping of too-fine skin.  The embarrassment was palpable.  Petal wouldn’t look me in the eye and she normally bores right through me. 

I didn’t say anything … ask anything … or look at her in any way different than I normally do.  I was proud of myself.  Acting is a skill teachers need from time to time …to help someone else save face.

Her party animal buddy got scorched, too, and told a tale to the rest of the class, while subtlety smiling my way, of having to be zipped to the Daytona Beach emergency room for nearly sun-burning her whole head off. 

I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had winked at me. 

She was still painfully red in other odd places … the red streaks on her neck looked like tattoos angrily applied.  Blotches on her arms and legs.  Her scalp line.  On full display.  But she was a good sport about it.  Because you could tell that over a Thanksgiving break in sunny Florida, eighth grader Debbie Jenkins thought she had raised some hell.

 

 

Next Entry ... December 7: Can Children Be Bribed?