Month: May 2014

Little Town, Big News

Things are happening around here that are causing Major News. If you don’t already know about it, ignore this. If you do already know about it and don’t care about my opinion, I’m not offended. Short story, yearbook photos were edited to bring people (yeah, okay, mostly female people) into compliance with stated dress code. Please understand. I don’t speak for anyone. I am not in any sort of official capacity. I’m their English teacher.

At its core, this is an issue not of modesty but of obedience. There is a policy. It may be archaic. It may be outdated. It may be born of good ideas. I’m personally a fan of a dress code. However you see the policy, you do, in fact, see the policy. The students at our high school see it too.

The posted sign. The sign that says that the policy will be enforced. The girls say they didn’t see the sign. I believe them. I’m their English teacher, remember? I know that posted signs are routinely ignored — every  single day. Their not seeing it doesn’t change the policy. *

The problem comes when, like anyone in any position to enforce consequences born of disobedience to a policy, someone manages those enforcements of consequence inconsistently. I have a whole post in my head about the awesomeness that is our school culture, and the remarkable things our faculty empowers our students to do. The important part is that it’s our students who get to do it. And yes, this event shows that some kind of changes need to take place. I have nothing but respect for our yearbook advisor. And the student editor is one of my favorite brilliant/gifted/remarkable people in the world. Even the most awesome of us makes mistakes and manages to be inconsistent. So whatever the plan becomes for next year, there will certainly be better checks in place.

But I’m all for obeying the rules.

And for consistency in dealing with consequences.

And please, please understand, when I look at pictures in my own kid’s yearbook, I don’t look at shoulders. I don’t look for cleavage. I look at their beautiful smiling faces. And I like what I see.

___

* And right. Maybe it’s time to change the policy. That’s not my job. Nor is it the intent of this post.

I Was Never Abandoned

My parents never left me anywhere. Once upon the late seventies, a two-car, two-family caravan mixup resulted in leaving my cousin Rebecca (not to be confused with my sister Becky or, you know, me) at Peking on Fresh Pond (a restaurant where they left the head on the fish, ack) in the environs of Boston, but I’ve never been left behind. Not that I’ve never been forgotten. But that’s a blog post/therapy session for another day.

Nevertheless, having never actually been left behind didn’t prevent me from  fearing abandonment.

Constantly.

When I was in middle school, our family went to Florida for spring break. It rained every day. We spent some bonding hours in front of MTV, my brothers and I. (That was this TV station that played music videos, kids, and our parents didn’t approve, so we didn’t have access to it at home, but it wasn’t specifically forbidden during the wet week in Florida, so… guilty joy.) One day, my mom took the rental car and hit the grocery store  – most probably to avoid ONE MORE PLAYING of the ridiculously chipper jingle, “Please stop calling MTV, cause the phones are closed, da-da!” Certainly she was off to breathe quietly in the car and avoid any more togetherness for a few minutes, but I was positive that she’d never come back. With only angsty middle grade novels to blame for this thought pattern, I was certain she got behind the wheel and headed out on the freeway to never, ever return.

(Spoiler: she came back. With groceries. From the grocery store.)

I’m not sure why that thought has been in my head today (except that I kind of want to go to the grocery store ALL BY MYSELF and not tell anyone; but fear not: I have no intention of never returning home), but I want to put it out there that my parents never tried to run away from me. You know, in case something like the desire to sit alone in a car and just breathe ever appears in a book and someone tries to tie it to a childhood trauma. There are no childhood traumas here, okay? Just early teen drama and imagination, and the occasional grown-up sympathetic understanding of what a temptation that escape might have been for the mother of thirteen-year-old me.