Sunday, January 13, 2019

That's so "Jackson Elementary"...

I woke up, stumbled down the hall towards the kitchen, rote, made my Sunday morning coffee. As I sleepily filled the carafe while looking out the kitchen window, my jaw dropped. It was so very quiet; there was a thick fog in the valley...and the trees were laced with what I call "snow frost". "Magical" is the only word I could think to describe it.

As if the "frost fairies" came in the night and dusted everything with powdered sugar.

There are so many things that make me happy on most every morning. Snow frosted views from my warm, cozy home. Fresh ground/brewed coffee. Thick woolen socks to keep my feet warm. Great-smelling laundry that just came out of the dryer. An egg scramble with fresh mushrooms and onions. A bowl of oatmeal with fresh blueberries. Clear roads on West Main (thank you, City of Riverton!). Texts and messages from family and friends asking how I'm doing. Taking a drive down Sunset Drive on a Sunday morning...

That's Sunset on a Sunday...

Today I drove past Ashgrove Elementary School. It triggered many memories. True stories ahead...

I originally attended Jefferson Elementary School, in Kindergarten. I loved Mrs. Frost! I think we all did. To me, she was a "Mary Poppins"-type who would take us on an adventure of some sort, every day. School was magical; it was the highlight of my day, every day! Mind you, before I even started Kindergarten, I was steeped in piano lessons at the age of four, so I was immersed in music. My Mom created a "school closet" loaded with books, instruments, crafts, math and science projects. But to sit with my classmates and dream about what was possible in the world, well...back in the day, our teachers could very well nearly been the staff of Hogwart. That's what "school" meant to me.

But I was also a weird one. A nerd. My mom took me to a specialist for an IQ test when I was very young, and although I was considered a "genius", I never 1) knew what that ever meant, and 2) ever questioned adult authority. My parents raised me to respect my elders, respect present institutions in place for my good.

However...there was this ever-so slight complication. An issue:

My laugh.

I transferred from Jefferson Elementary to Jackson the classroom of Mrs. Legler, who had absolutely no sense of humor at all. In fact, the first Parent-Teacher conference report indicated that (in so many words): "Carol disrupts the class with her laughter, causing others to laugh..."

Etc. etc. You get the drift.

Upon hearing such, my Mom immediately pulled me out of Jackson Elementary and put me right back into Jefferson Elementary, where Mrs. Sackman and the entire classroom threw me a party, with a banner that read: "Welcome back, Carol. We love your laugh!"

I have carried that story with me throughout my life. My Mom and I would laugh about it, right up until the day she died. Laughter is and always will be the best medicine! Because, c'mon...if you can't laugh at what is truly funny...what is truly "true"...truly tragic...then what is life really about?

Those who know me well, know that I've been through pretty dark times. What held me through? Laughter. Laughing in the face of death. Laughing in the face of anxiety and stress. This, too, shall gas in the night.  

This Government shut down is another fart in the wind. So laugh! Laugh in the face of disparity. Laugh, because we know better! Laugh, because those who voted for these idiots will hopefully know better! Because...

This is Soooo "Jackson Elementary"...

Carol Harper

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