I keep having bouts of deja vu as I work at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. The building is different from when I went to school there and yet it is not. The neighborhood is filled with people that I have never met and still it is so familiar. It is a strange feeling to return to the place where I once received the foundations of my education now that I am a teacher.
As I walk through the hallways the speckled brown, white, orange, and black terrazzo floor gleams as though it had been laid down only yesterday. It still has the same smell of wax and paper and books that it had when I was a teenager navigating my way from class to class. The old lockers are gone, the windows are solid and sealed to accommodate the air conditioning and carpet softens the feel of the classrooms but otherwise little has changed. I can name almost every place where I once sat learning mathematics, science, English and languages. In my mind all of my classmates are still young and yet when I see their images on Facebook they appear to be more like their parents than the people that I knew in my teens. Continue reading “Deja Vu”
I’ve written much about my mother. By now everyone who has read my stories should realize that while she led a very difficult life, she somehow managed to rise like the Phoenix again and again. She was a generally optimistic person who found good in all people and who needed very little to make her happy. It was only when her bipolar disorder raged through her system that she became a sad, frightened, and mean spirited person. I was generally able to separate the real mom from the one who periodically emerged as a result of the disease. I think that most of the people who knew and loved her were able to do so as well. All in all her generosity and thoughtfulness greatly outweighed any ugliness that came to the surface during her dark times. Continue reading “Love is the Word”
Tick tock! Tick tock! We live in a world that is a hostage to time. We have clocks on our stoves, our microwave ovens, our phones, our wrists, our radios, the dashboards of our cars, our computers, our televisions, our mantles, our bedside tables. Reminders of time are everywhere and we seem to always be rushing from one place to another, one task to a different one. We time ourselves when we exercise, when we take tests, when we cook. Tick tock! Tick tock! We rush around all day long, in bondage to schedules that seem to dominate every waking minute of our lives. We tell ourselves that we must be here, be there, do this, do that within a certain time frame or we will fall behind. The moments when we are not near a time piece of any kind are rare. Our lives seem almost to be a competition to see how much we are able to cram into a day, an hour, a few minutes. We measure the success or failure of a twenty four hour period on how much we are able to accomplish. Tick tock! Tick tock! Continue reading “Tick Tock”
I’ve been working the summer school session at Cristo Rey for a couple of weeks now. It’s a kind of dreary affair. The students arrive each day with a demonstrable lack of enthusiasm. They would rather be anywhere but in school attempting to recover credit for courses that they failed during the school year. They are generally well behaved but mostly just resigned to their fate. They are motivated by a desire to finish their modules as quickly as possible so that they might actually begin to enjoy summer. Some of them dug such deep ditches for themselves that they will be working until the end of July. They will be lucky to get a couple of weeks of holiday before the daily routine of the new school year begins again. Continue reading “Begin With a Single Step”