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.


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Feeling the Love

This past week at work was pretty good. I have begun reviewing the previous week's picture book with the children. I am amazed at how much they remember. Reviewing is an excellent vehicle for practice with literary elements, analysis and discussion. I wish I had thought to do this sooner.

This week we read Mother Bruce with the preK-third graders.  The children easily predicted what was going to happen throughout the book and were able to give evidence to support their predictions. For example, the title, "Mother" Bruce is a good indicator that the Bruce the Bear will turn into the goslings caretaker, and the cover picture of the goslings walking all over the bear can be used to support the prediction that the baby geese will not stop following Bruce. My partner Cheryl found some good extension activities, and the students wrote about or drew what they would have done if they were Bruce or drew the things that Bruce liked, versus the things that Bruce did not like.

My birthday was Monday. One of the best birthday gifts I received was getting a group hug by an entire first grade class. It started with one student giving me a birthday hug,  and then grew until I was being hugged by several layers of students.  Such warm and sincere joy and love emanated from these little nuggets. I could feel the love. It was the best hug I have ever received!

I enjoy checking out the bulletin boards as I walk the halls in my school. I spotted this one on Thursday and it made my day.  The hearts covering the bulletin board gave shout outs to recess and teachers, technology and the library!

"This school is awesome because of the helpful librarians." 

As exhausting as working in an elementary school can be, there is lots of love flowing through our school. That is what keeps me coming back. It recharges my teacher batteries.

 "It's enough to make kings and vagabonds believe the very best." 

"Infuse your life with action. Don't wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen... yourself, right now, right down here on Earth." Bradley Whitford