Monday, October 18, 2004

Odd Lots

I have lots of little tidbits in the back of my mind I have been wanting to share.

Like, the story Mom told me about sitting on the sofa of her Chesterfield County home, minding her own business, when a car pulled into the drive and stopped at the front door (you've got it: Everyone comes in the back). A nicely dressed old lady got out, walked up the front walk, and rang the bell. She came calling to ask if Mom would put a Bush for Pres sign on her property. Mom (who will tell people pushing the local paper, Quit calling me to push that right-wing rag) was so startled she meekly said, Oh. No thanks.

Like, how the Gray Fox and I met at WorldCup's new place (sunny, bigger) so she could tell me about the family trip to NYC. Details she shared: taking the kids to a Mars-themed restaurant (cover charge!) so transparently dorky even the boys made better jokes than the staff; how thin NYers are; and going to Toys-R-Us in Times Square where little C did not want to ride the Ferris wheel - so naturally after a long wait in line, they got they Barbie-themed car, just to rub salt in his wounds.

Like, how riveting I found this week's This American Life, "Two Steps Back." It's about teaching and what happens, and how it feels, when a supportive administration leaves.

Like, what I have been reading: junk. But it's time to go to work. . . .

1 comment:

Georgi said...

As November nears and Kristin and I spend more time doing research on electoral candidates (for our area and the presidency), we continously feel that "sinking" feeling in the pit of our stomachs. Kristin spent almost 5 years teaching at Franklin Middle School in Champaign before resigning her position to return to graduate school. While we are no longer in the big city (Chicago), the children at Kristin's school are children who were moved from the projects of Chicago to the projects of Champaign in order to create more affordable housing. While they have been moved out of ghettos in Chicago, their housing here is as worse as it was in Chicago (faving in ceilings, drug/violence infested neighborhoods) and their parents are working 2 or 3 jobs to keep up with Welfare to Work requirements. Her students were often tired, hungry and so preoccupied with "grown-up" issues (rent being paid, affording food, mom or dad going to jail) that they fall miserably behind at school. And, Bush's answer to that? Create more tests, punish teachers whose students don't perform up to par, and sweep under the rug the fact that he has withheld substantial amounts of money from school programming. As as result, Kristin volunteers evenings to help parents understand their children's school work (many of whom did not complete 10th grade) and Saturdays teaching children gymnastics to keep them off the streets and teach them to feel good about themselves and their abilities.

Meanwhile, I am telling their parents that I'm sorry, but the state (or federal) government, doesn't believe that their situation calls for change. They'll have to stay in their rat infested home and they'll continue to have to work zillions of hours for $5.15 to support their children. And, when one of their babies gets shot while riding their bike to school or is starving or suffering because they don't have adequate nutrition, I have to hold them while they cry. And, I go home at night and wonder how candidate's opinions would change if they spent a day in the life of a school teacher or social worker. I also have to wonder how they sleep at night, knowing what they are doing to the human beings of this country.

In November, we'll vote and hold our breath and hope that Kerry follows through with his promises. I'll continue to go to work and hold these women and children and hope that, eventually, all of the activism and fighting that we do pays off and the rich, white men who make the decisions for our entire country will understand what it's like to live a day in the shoes of another human being.

(sorry for the rant, but I have strong feelings on this subject! I love you for giving me the strength and courage that you did when I was growing up. You taught me to fight for what I believe in and never lose faith in myself!)