Seated at the bed Great-Great Aunt Martha used to own, I look out my front window, and wait for the snow. A rarity in southeast Virginia. The superintendent has taken away snow days. But still I wait. I have fed the birds, waxed the sled, and located my Hunters. Students have lost much during the shutdown, and now the snow day. School will be conducted virtually. Someone did not read the crowd properly. Yet, I sit and I wait. I predict many connectivity issues, a few coughs, and a fever or two. And that’s just the teachers. Nothing that a snowman and some hot chocolate can’t fix it. A 24 hour snow bug.
Here is the blog-strong women. That's it-
Mary Anne Hurtado
and on and on and on
I have ignored my blog and my poetry during the pandemic, just as I have abandoned a thousand other tasks and items. The pandemic came when I, along with my family, were still reeling from the unexpected death of my father. Many people became very productive in March of 2020, but our one burst of busyness resulted in a few "Marie Kondoed" closets and a half-clean garage.
I miss my extended family and work family, teaching face-to-face, and travel. I am a huge fan of a long weekend adventure. I did immerse myself into the election and watched some college football. But, I miss being in "Death Valley" in Clemson, SC on game day.
One way in which the House on Greenbrier has been surviving, has been to ignore tradition. Nothing is the same now, but if you have control over the change, you can gain a sense of power. We observed the Thanksgiving meal with my mother early, and we eschewed the traditional turkey for ham. Then at the Krauss house we had a delicious roast duck for Thanksgiving. For Christmas, we have chosen to not have a live Christmas tree, as we have done forever. Instead, the most beautiful, gawdy, and bold white tree sits in our livingroom.
Being a poet, I will find some symbolism in this dazzling spectacle. She is my family and me. She is standing tall in all her glory proclaiming that we will get through this storm. There will be face-to-face teaching, there will be family gatherings at my mom's house, I will hang out with my work family, and as this short little blog shows-there will be writing. Stories to be told.
At this time in my life, I am a teacher first, and then a poet. Hopefully, with retirement, this will change.
I have joined quite a few social media parent groups to see what parents are saying about school in the fall. First of all, let me commend you on your large participation numbers. I wish I could have gotten this kind of response from all of you at parent conferences, email correspondence, and classroom need requests. As always, I am grateful for those that do support my classroom endeavors.
I do understand that teaching five days a week at school is a beautiful thing. I can make sure my SPED students are assisted, my slow readers get my attention, and perform checks on mastery before I move ahead to new concepts. Five days a week in the classroom is the ideal scenario.
I have read your pleas for a five day a week return, and I have noticed you fail to address me. The teacher. So, I have just a few questions….
1-Will you provide the cleaning supplies I need for my room? I usually buy these with my money, but I will need more than I can afford.
2-If I get sick, will you fight for me to get extra sick days from my school/city? And if not given those days, will you pay my bills, so I don’t lose my home?
3-Do you realize that if I get sick, a substitute will take my place? This substitute may or may not be qualified to teach Susie how to read.
4-Will you blame me if your child gets sick?
5-And lastly, and the most important to me, will you ensure that I don’t get my 92 year old mother sick, that my dear friend does not transmit the virus to her newborn, and that my rookie teacher will be able to play safely with her nephew?
Until you address these concerns, I can’t back your desired plan of five day a week, in the classroom scenarios…..
What a week. I have watched smart people act stupid, people seek to silence others, friends rally to assist each other, chaos, quiet in the chaos, and worry as my daughter goes to work each day because her job is essential to you and your supply of toilet paper and hand sanitizer. I also watched in dismay as Chunky the squirrel brought down the entire bird feeder, as he was robbing it.
There are pivotal points in your life you will always remember such as the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, 9-11, and now Corona. But during those extreme events, life goes on. It changes you, but it goes on. I weeded and strawed the blueberry patch yesterday, I prepared my two weeks of online lessons, I shared cocktails(not once, but twice ) with my daughter this weekend, and I chatted with my 91 year-old mom on the phone. I also watched friends being placed in dangerous work situations, I saw social media threads deleted because truths were told, and I read loving texts from my sweet sister.
To what does all this equate...that I love and care for you--my family and friends. That I urge you to be kind, to use your voice, to find normalcy in bizarre situations, to definitely have cocktails, to call out people who seek to silence you, and to never be a Chunky the squirrel.
The house is quiet, only the furnace is chatting. The temperature has dropped yet again, Virginia is a tired and hungry toddler when it comes to weather. Kelly moved the furniture in the den around a bit, and now there is a desk by the back window. The house now has five different desks in it. We are a house of watchers and wordsmiths.
In July of 2017, I purchased the 1938 Cape Cod home in Virginia. This blog will recount how this home has helped me to deal with loss, to handle stress, to become a better me, and how moving here inspired me to begin writing again.. Shout