Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I'm Never Going Back to My Old School...or am i?

It's so strange for me that E's going to my school, the one I attended from first through twelfth grade.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm delighted, I think it's perfect for her and it was always the only place I wanted her to go--it's truly an idiosyncratic place, in a good way I think--although it's complicated and has its issues (as my readers who, erm, went there with me will agree).

I've gotten over the initial poignancy of it all, sort of.  It does make me feel a bit older though in a way nothing else does.  I mean, E actually has her poetry workshop with the man who taught me! That was thirty years ago! More even.

A, who didn't go there and was never indoctrinated into the mystery religion of the school, is more hesitant to embrace it in all it's weirdness.  I thought that maybe, well, it's not the seventies anymore and "progressive" might mean something different now.  It doesn't, really.  It's still progressive in the same way--the semi-controlled chaos, the wild self-expression, the eccentric children all looking a little disheveled.  All these are things to which A must acclimate.  He has more of an English school system ideal (and not in the Summerhill sense), well-ordered and Classics-heavy.

But E keeps coming home with these stories of the magical things they're doing there, winning A over piece by piece.  Recently they studied Walt Whitman, one of A's favorite poets, and he was so psyched that I swear he teared up a little.  The kids were asked to write a poem in the manner of "I hear America singing," and E wrote something that I love, which I'm going to repeat here:

I hear America singing,
Children coming home from school practicing a new song about a country night.
In the dog park the dogs are barking their wonderful barkish rhythmic sound.
A couple chatting together for the first time.
I hear America singing in every cranny and nook.

A commented that one might ask, what's the point of that lesson? I can't even answer that question because although I know, I'm not sure I can articulate it.  I mean, I know it had a point for me, and does for E too.  

But now I think I've lost some of the joie de vivre that I had (not that I was ever so overjoyed in general, I was actually a nervous nellie most of the time, but I took some joy from my schooling certainly and from all the creating that went on there), and it's interesting to go back to that school every day and confront the loss.  Then of course I worry that this is the precursor to a mid-life crisis, which isn't an attractive look for anyone!

I guess I just have to keep reminding myself that I'm grown now, and it's E's turn, but I'll certainly be grappling every day for as long as she goes there...


jolias said...
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jolias said...

Now that you mention it, it must be very odd to be an alumna parent at such a student-focused school. It was always about us and how fabulous WE were, (no matter that we might not have felt fabulous!) So our folks probably loved it because they thought we were fabulous, but for you (and maybe me one of these days!) It will be weird not to be revered in the spotlight anymore. I feel for you! And by the way, have just learned that the University of Connecticut has a serious puppetry program. Tell E.

Leah said...

Oh my gosh. Imagine if I had a professional puppeteer for a daughter. Would I be elated? Chagrined? More's to the point, how would A. deal with the lost dream of fighter pilot?