Thursday, March 13, 2008

If Only Memories Could Be Bottled

"I wish there could have been an invention that bottled up a memory, like perfume, and it never faded, never got stale. Then whenever I wanted to, I could uncork that bottle and live the memory all over again." ~"I" de Winter, Rebecca (by Daphne du Maurier)

Today had two moments, both during the same class, that I wish I could bottle and relive over and over again.

I love my E3-D class. There are only four students: Lucy, Emily, Gene, and Perry, ages eight and nine. They are four of the most eager, lovable kids I have ever been privileged to know. Whenever they enjoy a lesson, for instance, they thank me. Imagine, kids thanking a teacher for teaching them! Most kids just take such things for granted.

Today I created a new review game for the kids, since they have just finished their Smart Phonics book. The first moment I'd like to have bottled took place while they were engaged in this activity. Gene did something (I'm not sure what) that made Emily cry. I jokingly suggested to Emily that she should hit Gene for being such a mean boy and he responded by saying "here" and offering her his head. Emily smacked him on the head before I could do anything. Smacked him hard, in fact. Gene grinned, so I knew he was okay, but I was more than a little bit shocked. I asked Emily if she felt better and she replied thoughtfully, "One more time." Once again, Gene offered his head (rather eagerly actually), Emily smacked him even harder (REALLY hard), and I once again responded with horrified shock. Gene gave me his infectious grin, pointed to himself, and declared "Stone-head!"

My second moment came as I was preparing to leave the room. Emily and Lucy, as always, had erased the board for me. I just happened to glance at it as I was walking out the door and I read the message Emily had left for me: "I love you."

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"