There are seven kids in my mom's family, all pretty much in a row. Pat is the third oldest,
and now the third to turn 50. Sometime last year he cackled about how we'd never
catch him, but inviting him over to his sister Mary's mother-in-law's house for dinner,
a full month before his birthday, was enough to completely fool him. Weeeeee!
I lived with Pat for a summer when I worked at U of M Dearborn writing AI/Image Processing
software for a Ford contract. It was a hard summer because I had just broken up with my
girlfriend of nearly three years and first love (who was off so immediately and happily with
another guy), I didn't know anyone in Dearborn, nor did I have a car. But I hung out with Pat
and had a lot of fun. It was nice to be able to make it out for his birthday.
The siblings prepared Pat faces on a stick, and bought a bunch of Dickies work shirts just like
he wears. We greeted him by opening the garage door and standing around in costume.
He was shocked. It was great.
The party was at Aunt Clara's. She's lived in the house for over 45 years, since they
were new. The concept boggles my mind. Entirely. She has a beautiful magnolia tree out front that
is as old as the house.
So it's now half past midnight and I'm at the middle school hanging out with Gretchen; she's
preparing for the week's activity. I'd probably be at work otherwise, but she didn't feel
comfortable coming to this krufty building late and by herself. So being the good friend that I am
I'm here sitting on a black-top science table typing away, scaring away the boogie man and
the Slauson ghost. Once I'm done catching up I'll probably get up and help her out with
Now what I want to know, is when you think of being a teacher, do you think of coming to the
school on a weekend night to mix humus and clay with sand, gravel, and water? Or charging a
classrooms worth of palm pilots with 5 chargers? Or washing towels? I didn't think so.
Of course you thought of grading, but
you probably didn't think of what it takes to give 60 students useful and intelligent
feedback, all after you're done with your "work day." Unless you are a teacher yourself.
Being a good teacher is harder than most people ever imagine. Gretchen is a good teacher.