Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Many of you may know that I'm not exactly thrilled to live in Maine. Don't ask me how I got here--a lot of seemingly inconsequential decisions that added up to one major shift off course. Oh, and there's the fact that Maine is a third-world country so the cost of living is cheap and the young people flee as if from burning buildings so there's not a lot of competition for jobs (relatively speaking). And of course the fact that boys born in Maine never seem to leave Maine (which seems to fly in the face of the young people fleeing argument--or maybe it's just a certain type of boy--the homebody boy. In any case, I'm married to one of them).

ANYway, with no wish to offend any born-and-bred Mainers or those who came here from some other, crappier AWAY and found their heart's home here, I will say there are some nice things about Maine. And these things I pile up around me like sandbags around a leaky dam. The trouble is these things are relatively impermanent (sure there's the rocky coastline, blah, blah, blah, but, dude, I'm from Colorado, don't get me started on scenery). So the sandbags tend to puncture and leak. And because I begin to mistake the things that make living here bearable for reasons to live here, when my sandbags leak, I fall apart.

Like the night I came home sobbing after shopping at my favorite farm store one last time before the owners closed it and moved to Maryland (C thought perhaps someone had died). Or when our favorite doctor whom I adored left family practice to work in the hospital (I may have yelled at her, "You promised you wouldn't leave!!" in the exam room). Or when dear friends have moved away.

One thing I do love about here is E and Z and M's school. It's small. It's minimalist. It's poor. But it really has been wonderful for all of them. M, who is just a naturally school-ey kid and loves learning and is good in all subjects from math to PE and would probably do fine at any school anywhere, has truly been allowed to shine at his school. And E and Z, who are a little different than M, a little more challenging in some ways had a super fantastic kindergarten teacher who possesses boundless energy and creativity and knows just how to handle slightly naughty boys. The best part about her was that they were in a K-1 classroom and were going to have her again next year for first grade! That is until she accepted a job at another school.

I got the email in a movie theater Monday night; when I went to turn off my phone before the movie, there it was. Sandbags punctured and draining. After I got through the initial stages (shock, denial, anger), I began to form a plan of action--quit my job, buy a camper van and let the open road be their teacher. Yeah, yeah, all that schlock I've been preaching about public schools being the backbone of our democracy blah, blah, blah, only applies when the teachers do what they're supposed to do and stay in MY kids' classroom. Darnit.

Of course none of that will happen. And I'll start piling up sandbags again to retain the leaky dam. Until the next one bursts.

(E and Z, for their part, are thrilled their teacher is not coming back, but I think that's because they think it means they won't have to go to school at all.)


  1. Andrea,

    Your writing's terrific! I know all about the sandbags...


  2. It's interesting how sending my own little boy to public school has been so MUCH more emotional (and often drama laden) than I ever anticipated.

    I do hope the change at school works out for the better for your kids, even if it seems impossible at the moment.

  3. I love the description of two just-a-bit naughty boys and their thoughts that the loss of a teacher will mean school's cancellation.

  4. Having some naughty kids myself, I know how awesome it is when there's a teacher who can work with that spiritedness. So sorry to hear this news. But happy that you have a small and wonderful public school, Andrea.
    (and where would we all be if not for our sandbags)


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