Monday, December 28, 2015

Memories of Papa (and childhood, when I was a little girl in Idaho)

I am very small. For whatever reason, I am spending the day with Dad in "the Shop"-- that's what my family called Plants West Floral, the business my parents ran for approximately the first decade of my life. It is lunchtime, and we are in the kitchen part of the shop-- the building was converted from a house my grandparents had once owned, so the part the customers came in is in front, but there is still a fully functioning kitchen in the back. Dad opens a can of ravioli and puts the can in some water in a crockpot, double-boiler style. I ask Dad what the ravioli is-- I'm somewhat unfamiliar with the concept of a food which can be eaten straight from a can (my mother cooks everything from scratch when we are at home.) He explains as best he can; I try it; canned ravioli becomes one of my favorite foods. Not that I got to eat it very often-- I didn't-- but to this day, I LOVE over-cooked pasta, and I'm pretty sure that this warm emotional association has something to do with that fact.

I remember other rooms in the Shop; I remember the huge (probably not that big, but I was little then) bathroom, which had not only a toilet and a sink but a large, claw-footed bathtub, in which at least once, maybe more than once, Dad bedded me down in for a nap. He laid a quilt in the bottom, and then went to help me hop in. Looking back, I'm sure that the other rooms were too loud for a kid to fall asleep in, and this was his solution to that. I am, again, surprised-- you can't sleep in a bathtub! I say-- but he points out that if there is no water in it, you most certainly can, and I do. And yes, I love claw-footed bathtubs now, too.

(Kiiiind of like the tub in this picture, but no curtain or showering apparatus, and the floor was green linoleum. In my memory, the bathroom is always dimly lit, which may have something to do with the fact that my memories seem to mostly have to do with sleeping there.)

Perhaps it was during one of these naps that I noticed some green-and-yellow wallpaper in the corner. Later on, at Christmas, we received a wooden kitchen playset which had been covered in that same paper. I had such a believing heart-- I still do, gets me in trouble sometimes-- that as soon as I had pointed out to my parents that the wallpaper on our new toys was the same I had seen in the bathroom, I immediately came to the conclusion, in wonderment, that somehow Santa had come into our shop in order to get the wallpaper to make our kitchen set nice.

One example of how being such a credulous kid got me into trouble: once I started the first grade (I was a kindergarten dropout-- another story for another day) I would stand outside at recess and look at the sky in wonder, thinking about how strange it was that the sky looked so real, and how much it felt like I really was outside. You see, when I learned the Pledge of Allegiance, I had learned (or thought I had learned) that we were one nation, underground, invisible, with liberty and justice for all. Being as how the Cold War was still on at that time, and my parents had explained a little bit about our enemies and the threat of nuclear war, I assumed that our nation had been moved underground so as to BE invisible, but I was truly astounded by the magnificent paint job which they had done, so very much like a real sky would look.

Last memory. I've always been a bit of an early bird, and this morning, I wake up and find my father messing with his camera in the living room. I ask him about it, and he explains a little bit about aperture, and film speed, and how at this time of day, you can get some nice silhouettes. He asks me if he can take my picture, and I say yes, and that picture is still around, in 2015, in my files. If I get around to it, I'll try to scan it so that I can at least send it to interested parties.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

I Love My Job

I really love my job. I would keep it forever, if only they would pay me enough that I didn't have to live with my mother. They would actually be paying me that much if I were a "real teacher" instead of a paraeducator, but the thing is, I kind of love being a paraeducator-- I love not having to write tests, or grade tests, or give homework, or grade homework, or very most of all, turn grades in. OR turn in lesson plans.

Anyway. I hope you get a glimpse of why my job is so fun...

The students described in the exchange below are sixth-graders. Seventh-graders generally find grown-ups to be below their notice unless one does something truly spectacular.

Student: Ms. P, are you savage?
Myself: Am I what?
Student: Savage.
Myself, in slightly exaggerated but not totally fake shock: That is not a polite question!
Several students jump in now, explaining that "savage" means "cool."
Myself: Nope.
Student: But you seem cool.
Myself: It's an illusion.
Student: But--
Myself: It's an illusion.

Eventually I'll stop posting about compliments to myself. Perhaps I should post  just one more first, though, so that there will be an odd number. :)