|Thirteen Things about SCHOOLS OF MY LIFE|
- I started out my journey at Isaac E. Imes Elementary School in Phoenix, AZ. I remember practically nothing about this school. But I was one of the only students whose parents spoke English. So when it was time for a foreign language class in junior high, I made straight A’s and won 1st place in many Spanish language competitions.
- When I was six, we moved from Phoenix to Memphis. (Yes we did live there when Elvis died.) Needless to say this was quite a culture shock. Added to this was the fact that I went from a very diverse public school in Arizona to an all girls parochial school in the heart of the south. I attended Saint Mary’s Episcopal School for girls for the next two and a half years. I remember that we were supposed to wear dresses most days with only the occasional donning of slacks allowed. On the weekends, I couldn’t wait to throw on my one pair of jeans and run out to the back yard & sit reading for hours under our fig tree that occupied space in the corner. One of the books that I loved most was Where the Sidewalk Ends. I was originally introduced to this by my second grade teacher whose name I have now forgotten. It was in this same class that I had my first biology lesson. We were discussing digestion. I, being the curious sort that I am, asked, “how come if it smells so good going in, it smells so bad coming out?” I wasn’t allowed to forget this until the next year when we moved far, far away.
- While I was being prepped for the life of a high end wife, my sister began her education at a different school. I’ll never know why my parents chose to send us to separate schools. But Heather attended Grace St. Luke’s, which up until TODAY, I have always thought was named Grey St. Luke’s. See…you do learn something new every day.
- When I was in third grade my parents separated for a few years. At this time my mother moved to Little Rock, AR. My father, who missed her terribly, took a job in Little Rock to be near her. We moved out to one of the suburbs where I attended Fulbright Elementary for the latter half of the year. As this was 1979, pod learning was all the rage. So I wandered from learning space to learning space in this big rounded room having groovy educational experiences. I remember being very inspired by this method. It all seemed quite bright and airy.
- The next school was indeed an odd one. I have no link for this place because it hasn’t existed for a number of years. At Stanton Road School, I shared my fourth grade room with the Third grade students in one room of a trailer. My sister was in the other room with her 1st/2nd grade class. We had art, music and ballet every day. The back yard was a few acres, I think, and held rabbits, goats, and other farm animals. There was an enormous tire swing from which I actually fell, leading, in part, to my TMJ issues. I also remember being forced to stand next to some piano playing friend and sing “Clementine”. If you’d ever heard me sing, you would realize just why this was so memorable for me.
- Due to the bizarre nature of Stanton Road, I changed schools again the next year. What a shock it was to suddenly be thrust into the heart of the Little Rock public school system. Stephens Elementary School was pretty much what you would expect from an urban elementary. The only thing missing was a PS numeric designation. Because of the integration laws established post Central High Crisis; we were bussed for the better part of an hour to the heart of the inner city. And while I am all for integration, this was a lot of commuting for a ten year old. And I was not alone. Half of the students from the neighborhood where my school was located were, in turn, bussed to my neighborhood. I honestly hope that they have since found a more efficient way to handle decreasing homogeny within the school district. At Stephens, I had the worst teacher of my school career. Mrs. Wilson was a cruel woman who had little tolerance of students with varied learning styles. It was a truly awful yea for me. Compounding my unpleasant learning experience was the fact that I started my period, had greasy hair and body odor, and was one of the only girls to need a bra. My only saving grace was my best friend Catherine Sheehan. I wish I’d never ost track of her.
- Sometime during my fifth grade year my parents began taking us to church. So when I hated Stephens, I was naturally transferred the next year to Christ Lutheran Elementary School. It was a new start. But it was yet another cultural change. We had chapel every Wednesday morning and all lessons eventually pointed back to the bible. I felt like I was in the twilight zone. My teacher, Mrs. Twedt, was very nice and helped me learn according to my strengths. I also played basketball this year. I was quite uncoordinated, but enjoyed it none the less. My dad came to most of our games. He would always
instruct me in how to play so that I could be as good as Leah and Michelle. Alas, I never achieved basketball proficiency. Perhaps this is for the best. To this day am still trying to reach 5’2”. But it was still fun to have an activity that allowed me to have special one on one time with my dad.
- After much begging, my folks let me go to Pulaski Heights Junior High for eighth grade. This is where I excelled at Spanish, English and socializing. For the first time in my life I had found a niche. I had a group of friends that were just a big ole bunch of dorks. Most of us volunteered at the Little Rock Zoo. We scooped poop, fed our various animals and played an ongoing game of Last Tag – a game wherein you could tag or be tagged by each friend only once per day. I know that it sounds silly, but it was a great excuse to say hi to your crush of the week. I loved my life this year. I will always remember this time bitter sweetly, as we had to leave Little Rock at the end of that year.
- My dad had a real bunch of greedy jack-asses for partners in L.R. So when times got tough, they voted to let the last partner in – out. This way they could each make more money. The problem was that there was no need of a Pathologist anywhere in Arkansas at that time. So we moved to Springfield, MO. There I attended Kickapoo High School. After Little Rock, I didn’t know what to make of this hyper-white town. I remember a sense of visual boredom. At KHS, I continued Spanish until I hadgone as far as their classes would allow. I joined up with the flag core, which probably sounds kinda goofy,
but was in fact, a lot of fun. We were highly disciplined, and ended up traveling all over the country tocompete. We took 4th in the nation at a national competition in Florida that year. I went to Kickapoo for two years. But honestly, none of us was happy there. My mom was verydepressed and aloof. My dad was busy with work, and Heather & I were in the heat of sibling disdain. So, I started hanging outat the mall. There I met a truly manipulative older guy who I dated, and was abused by, until my parents without warning moved us to Iowa and told him to never call us again. I will be eternally grateful for that.
- Myhigh school years were completed at Valley High School in West Des Moines. There’s not a whole lot to report about that. Transferring to a new school your junior year sucks. Fortunately, they had a great drama department into which I threw myself wholeheartedly. I also took two years of Japanese, which I found to be very interesting, culturally. I met Michael when I was a senior and we were just sure that we were going to get married. So when it was time for me to graduate, I chose to go to…
- The University of Iowa where he was seeking a psychology degree. I studied Theology and took several creative writing and botany classes while there. After two years, I realized that I had no real focus and very little purpose there. So I quit. I worked as a direct care provider for a while and then bummed around the country following The Grateful Dead for a couple of years. I settled in Seattle a few years later and had my daughter, Maya, in 1992.
- There aren’t a lot of jobs out there for unskilled single moms. So in 1995 I attended Seattle Massage School which is now Ashmead College. In coordination, I also became a doula,
with training from Seattle Midwifery School. I’ve since worked as a massage therapist, doula and spent a few great years teaching massage, as well. But once Kajsa was born, I had to quit in order to provide nursing care for her. She’s almost three now…and will be transplanted any day. So, I’m looking into my next educational foray.
- Currently, my plan is to start back to school for nursing at Yavapai Community College in Prescott. I plan to specialize in renal care and work at a dialysis facility. I can think of few things that would bring me greater reward. Perhaps this will end my educational forray…but I somehow doubt it.
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