Thursday, July 19, 2018

A Manifesto of Sorts

"I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you."
 from Whitman's "Song of Myself"

I am a big fan of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass and the "Song of Myself".  A while back one of my library superhero friends Heather Moorefield-Lang asked me to write something telling about my day-to-day work as a school librarian. The piece below is what I sent her. Obviously it was inspired by Whitman. I think about adding to it sometimes.  Every once and a while when I need a little boost I read this, and it helps me get back into an empowered, confident, optimistic,  mindset.

 I am a free reading choice warrior one minute and a book cleaner the next. 
 I am the tie-er of shoes and the wiper of snot. 
 I am a change maker. I am a rule bender.
 I am a champion of students - more freedoms, more choices, more voice, more money.
 I am the webmaster.
 I am the school news program sponsor and producer.
 I am the book talker. 
 Field trip planner
 Book donator
 Grant writer 
 Problem solver 
 I am an early adopter.
 Research guru
 Storytime goddess 
 Book repair queen 
 Book trailer junkie
 Mess maker 
 Fine forgiver
 Tech troubleshooter
 Book fair diva
 Bulletin board creator
 Flying by the seat of my pants way too much
 The first lady of Giveaways and prizes 
I am the librarian who lets the kids play computer games because it is good for their brains. 
I check out scissors duct tape and glue. 
I am the YES of course you can (fill in the blank) bring your class in five minutes, check out three books over the limit, use whatever, borrow whatever, 
I am the why not 
I am the come on in 
I see the way some of the students look at me when I read to them, or see them in the halls. In their eyes I see that I am magic and possibility to them. I see that I am a light in their lives. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Dances With Books

I get so much LOVE from the children I work with. I am regularly treated to real hugs and genuine smiles at school. Even the other night at the most unlikely time and place, as I crossed the parking lot from the nail salon, a young voice called out 20 or so yards away,  "Hey! Is that my library teacher? Hey! It is my library teacher! Mrs. Tazerouti! Hey!" I wave and smile and say hello, relieved that this time I am not being spotted coming out of the liquor store.  It is dark and I can't make out who it is. But I see the car, an older car that could use some work, parked in an accessible parking space. The young boy triumphantly shouts now, louder, across the parking lot, "I am reading a book! It is amazing!" He gives me a thumbs up. I yell back, "That is great! Keep reading!" I am joyous. Be still my heart!  I recently re-watched Dances With Wolves, and it reminded me of this scene with this shouting declaration of love across the distance. 😆

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

I moved last year. If there is one thing that will show you that it is time to declutter and get rid of a few things, it is packing them all up and hauling them to another place. In the unpacking part of the move, I was determined to get rid of several boxes of stuff and not have to move them again.

How does one end up with so much stuff? In my case, much of it was inherited. Dishes, glassware, boxes and boxes of pictures, books, clothes. Some of it belonged to my mother who passed away in 2010, and some of it belonged to my aunt who passed away in 2001.

Sorting through these belongings and deciding what to do with them was necessary, but not easy. Discarding, donating and selling my aunt and mother's things sometimes felt like throwing away memories of these people I loved, memories that thin and blur with time.

I made several trips to the Habitat for Humanity store and the Brown Roof Thrift store.  I also posted items on an app called Offer Up.  Dishes and glassware and clothes were easy to get rid of, but other items were not so easy to part with. In some cases, the experience of the items finding new owners was joyful and rewarding. Selling my aunt's gleaming silver coronet was a fantastic experience that I will never forget.

The coronet was one of the items that I held on to for a while before deciding to sell it.  It was beautiful. My aunt played it in the Fitch High School marching band in Groton, CT.  After high school, my aunt became a barber and then went on to become a highly regarded animal control officer. The coronet spent years in the attic of my mother's ancestral home in Mystic. I listed the coronet on Offer Up which allows you to deal locally with people who are nearby and hand deliver your sale item. It was fun to meet people and hear about their plans for whatever it is they are buying from you.

Eventually, I got a notification on the app that someone wanted to buy the coronet. We set up a meeting at a nearby grocery store. The buyer was purchasing the instrument for his son, a school band director who collects instruments and their stories. He wanted to know about the original owner of the coronet. It made me happy to tell him about my aunt, but he also wanted to know if the instrument worked, and I had no idea if it did. After texting him information and sending links regarding my aunt, he sent me a video of his son Kevin playing the coronet. (see below) It worked! The sweet music that flowed out of the instrument, last played by my aunt, sent tears streaming down my face. And it just so happened that my mother adored the song he played, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".  I know that both my aunt and my mother would have been overjoyed to hear the rich music pouring out of the old coronet.

I have enjoyed telling this story to family and friends.  My other auntie -Pam, encouraged me to write about it after I accidentally told her the story twice. That video is such a gift, a greeting from heaven. Even better, Kevin played the coronet for his middle school students and they loved it. How did he know that is one of our favorite songs? I think some angels told him.