The school year is winding down quickly. I started working here nineteen years ago. It’s basically the longest relationship I’ve ever had discounting the ones I have with my immediate family members. It doesn’t seem like so much time has passed.
There is history and yet I feel like a time traveller in a way. Working with 8th graders tends to take me back to my own middle school years. It was 1976. I remember having a crush on someone because he resembled Shaun Cassidy or was it Leif Garrrett? (the kid didn’t like me at all). Having a faux Dorothy Hamill haircut that took years to grow out (not showing you a picture of that!). Getting a 96 on the Algebra regents – I’m still angry with myself that I made the same subtraction mistake twice, which caused me to lose the two points on each mistake.
Whatever I had, I purchased with my paper route money – clothes, art supplies and eventually a 150-watt stereo for my bedroom so I could listen to Casey Kasum do the American Top Forty after delivering the Sunday morning paper.
I honestly can’t remember where I bought clothes then. Department stores? I remember that there was a Levi Strauss store in Shoppingtown Mall where we bought colored corduroy jeans. Our shoes came from Thom McAn.
It was a completely different time. I always had to be responsible at such a young age, but instead of teaching me to save money and build a future, I think what I learned is that I will always know how to work then buy stuff with the money I earn. I will eventually retire from my job, but I will never retire from being an artist or a writer. I will never abandon creativity. In that respect, I may not be rich but I will always have riches.
What else have I learned in thirty-nine years? I still have a tendency to crush on men who break my heart, lol. So I haven’t learned anything there. Yeah – no wisdom there.
My fan-love for Dorothy Hamill though – my sister met her at an event last year and in conversation, Dorothy said, “Send your sister my best regards” !!!!!!
And Algebra is probably my favorite subject to work on with students in my study hall. I love a good Greek theorem. Math is eternal even though the way it’s taught these days is in a wonky new math style. My way still works. I want to say it’s because of the teacher I had in 8th grade, but to tell you the truth, I can’t remember anything about the teacher. Man or woman? IDK!
I guess I would prefer my students to remember what they learned in art rather than simply remembering me and my silly antics. At the very least, my hope is that they have fond memories of the middle school experience – like in my own life, a lot more comedy to drown out the drama.
As for clothes? I shop on-line mostly. Banana Republic, BCBG, and Lord & Taylor dot coms are my favorite. And when I review my purchases, which I kind of do reluctantly because I kind of don’t want to see myself coming and going (fashion should be about individuality so encouraging people to copy you via a stellar review seems a little bit defeating) – I call myself Tashionista.
Dare I say that this year was the best ever? Don’t want to hurt the feelings of students who came before, because it’s not because my students were better. Okay, don’t want to do the same to my current students. The truth is that after all these years I had a paradigm shift. I changed my outlook about love, life, art…pretty much started realizing that life can be seen through rose-colored lenses without needing glasses at all. And even though I am nearly forty years older than my 8th grade self, I still have 20-20 vision.