Tuesday, October 15, 2013

31 Days of Mississippi Goodbyes: Subbing at Prep and Saint Andrew's

One thing I'm really going to miss here is subbing at Prep and at Saint Andrew's Lower School. They are both my old stomping grounds and it's been so much fun to, every so often, take a (paid, wow!) visit to each of them. 

I love it because, while a lot has changed in both places, so many things are still the same. The smells of the classrooms and the hall in both schools are nearly EXACTLY the same and that brings untold pleasure to my heart. The breadsticks I ate for lunch nearly every day of my junior and senior year of high school- exactly the same. But best of all is that there are about half a dozen teachers teaching at Prep and Saint Andrew's that I've loved for ten and twenty years, respectively. Seeing them and visiting for a few minutes is always such a joy. 

Going back to these places brings up some many memories. At Saint Andrew's, I remember my favorite things to do on the playground. I remember being on the Safety Patrol (which meant you got to open the car door for younger kids) and wrapping the May pole in the fourth grade. I also remember my fourth grade teacher knowing that we were not, in fact, too grown for the read aloud and daily reading the beautiful words of Tuck Everlasting. I remember learning how to spell the names of all the states and reading Little House on the Prairie in third grade. And I remember how, almost without fail, learning in that place was FUN. Every day wasn't easy, but every day the acquisition of knowledge was something that was incredibly pleasurable. 

Prep was a wonderful space for me to learn about myself, it turned out. It had it's problems for sure. I had a few teachers who really came close to breaking my sensitive spirit and there was, for sure, as there is at any college preparatory school where most of the families are pretty affluent, a very "plastic" mentality. 

I have so many good memories, though. Eating lunch outside on warm days, football games on chilly Friday nights in the Fall. Notes passed that became phone calls that became walks in the woods on weekends.

And I grew so much there. I made so many friends and our class was really close knit. There were definitely defined "groups", but by the time we graduated the groups had become very fluid and there weren't really cliques at all. And I fell in love there....a couple of times. I experienced rough places and I meet teachers who loved me through those difficult spots. I met my best friend there. I experienced loss and grief for the first time there. By the end of it, I was a lot closer to finding myself. 

Of course for everyone, their coming of age experience is formative. But for me, it feels especially so. I love the memories from that part of my life, even though I felt broken and scarred throughout most of it. It was an age of exploration and it was beautiful. There's a reason I love The Wonder Years and Dawson's Creek so much. There's just something special about those years. 

Saying goodbye to the buildings that house these schools seems a little bit like losing the connection with those memories even more than I would otherwise, something that inevitably happens with the passage of time. 

Fortunately, I have a crap ton of journals detailing those memories and a best friend with an epic memory who reminds me of things I had long forgotten.

And I'm going to try, really, really hard to make our ten year reunion :)

1 comment:

Emily Penn said...

Love this post, and yes, you have to come to the reunion! How can I go without my locker buddy there?!