Posted by: Dennie | November 9, 2013

Blogging For Knowledge

Chalkboard in Empty Classroom

I work for our town Board of Education and the other day I needed to call one of the elementary schools.

Kim, the secretary picked up the phone.

“Good afternoon, Small Town Elementary. This is Kim and today is the fiftieth day of school!”

For a moment, I said nothing. Then I spewed out an obscenity in the vein of “Who the hell cares what day of school it is?!”  If she and I were not on very friendly terms, I would  never have said such a thing.

I continued, “I don’t give a shit what day of school it is now. Tell me how many days are left until vacation!”

She knows I’m nuts and was laughing hysterically, which encouraged me to go on even further.

“I HATE school. I’m fifty-seven years old, I’m done with school, my kids are done with school, and I still HATE it!”

I told her I was never a good student and the best part of school for me was weekends, holidays and...the summer. The lovely, warm, school-less days of summer.

I remember my parents telling me the importance  and necessity of attending school. I remember them asking if I wanted to grow up to be a dummy. Yes, I’m pretty sure they did say that. And my response, if I remember correctly was,

“I don’t give a shit.”

Well, that’s what I retorted silently, at least.

So how ironic is it that I work in the school system of my childhood days? The building that now houses the administration was once an elementary school where I attended third grade.  Whenever I walk through the doors and breathe in the lingering age-old scent of the place, the hair on the back of my neck stands up.

Because the importance of school was so strongly impressed upon me, when the time came to go to college, I  enrolled at the local state university two towns away. I barely got through the first year, then, after living dorm life the second year, my parents received a green notice declaring I reconsider my choice and take some time off from “studying.” I’d spent too much time researching the local coffee shop, young men and the party scene and not enough time in the classroom. My parents were not happy. But I was secretly relieved.

Those years and my aversion to school outlined the embodiment for my self-image, something with which I still struggle today. They also helped to create, or not, my path of “success” as I never attained a  college degree, and therefore, never achieved employment of  superior significance. Or of any significance at all really. But, contrary to what  seems to be the widespread message in this country, a job does not define a person. It’s a tough hurdle to jump, though, as an idea that’s been ingrained since childhood.

It’s not so much the job thing that I’ve struggled with.  It’s more that I think I’m not “smart enough.” My sister finished college. Then she went on to attain a double major master’s degree. That considerable accomplishment didn’t help the view of myself or, more importantly, how I thought my parents viewed me.

Ah. There’s an interesting little point. It’s funny how stuff comes out when I’m just going along, trying to write something that makes sense, minding my own business. Michelle W. wrote a  revealing post on November 7 which pertained to writing about family and friends. The piece was great, but the line that really stuck with me was “…also one of the benefits of blogging: as you share, you forge connections with others and come to more deeply understand yourself.”  

Come to more deeply understand myself.

That’s how this journey of mine has begun to evolve. As I grapple with my perceived inadequacies  (I almost wrote “my inadequacies,”) I’m beginning to understand that knowing myself is becoming infinitely more important than what I may have learned in school. Teachers, administrators in whose offices I would sit for committing acts of insubordination, college professors; none of them helped me, or could help me, to understand myself. Because they didn’t know me.

I can remember one teacher, one, who spent the time to get to know me, who made me feel important. She was my junior high Spanish teacher. Young, pretty and smart, I loved her and I think she loved me. The time we spent together would most likely never take place between a teacher and student today. She took me out for pizza. We went shopping. She bought little gifts for me; a stuffed pink elephant. My God, I haven’t thought about this in years. But as I reflect, even she could not help me to know myself.

The following year, she married and moved to Alaska with her husband.  And that was the year another teacher took a vital interest in me, but in an entirely different, inappropriate and life changing manner.  Apparently, he knew something about me then that I did not. I was vulnerable.

Funny, how life can be.

Funny, also, how this blog of mine will sometimes take on a life of it’s own, lead me to the arrival  of entirely different destination from which I had originally intended a few paragraphs before. This was not my idea for a topic when I fired up the laptop this morning. I guess I’ll save that for another post.

But that’s where it took me-life learning and self-knowledge. Thank you, little blog for helping provide another pinpoint of clarity to my sometimes befuddled and complex state of mentality. You know me.

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Responses

  1. This is beautiful….. Thank you so much for letting @us” peek in.I’m just a little younger, 44, and did some college not right after high school. I did not finish all that I had planned. Gave it up to be a wife and stay at home mother to now 10 children. I’m not in a stage of life to go back but maybe, who knows. The only reason why I would is to better support my children. I’m now a single homeschool mom and obviously did not for see this 23 years ago.

    • Thanks for the support….my husband says I’m always downing myself and I try to explain that it’s just part of my life.Without those experiences, I wouldn’t have gotten the knowledge to be where I am today.
      Keep in touch!

      • Yes…your post inspired me to put up a Haiku that I wrote in September

        • Haiku…I remember that from high school….haiku…high skoo….hahahahahaha Oh my—I’m sorry …I’m really tired.
          I’ll check out your poem tomorrow….
          thanks!

        • Hi-
          I didn’t get a chance to look for your Haiku yesterday, but I”m reading you today and I love your work. I don’t get most poetry, but yours is very cool.
          Would you mind giving me the link or the date of the piece you told me about? I’d like to see it.
          Great photos, also….your work as well?
          Dennie


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