About 100 years ago…well, actually more like 40 years ago, I taught school for two years, just out of college, before children. The first year I taught in South Amherst, Ohio, while John got a MAT at Oberlin. The second year, we moved back east, equidistant between both sets of parents, to East Windsor, N.J. He taught 7th grade math in Princeton; I taught fifth grade in Hightstown. In my class were some wonderful students. One of them, Bernadette, whose entire cadre of siblings, along with herself, were our babysitters over 12 years or so, eventually moved to Germany and married a member of a town band who had an exchange relationship with the high school band in Hightstown. Because of the babysitting link, we stayed in touch, and still are today. Another of the students, after 22 years of not being in touch with her, contacted her recently, and she told him about me. He immediately told another student of mine, with whom he’s maintained contact since high school…and I got emails from both of them a month or so ago.
Yesterday, Jim visited me, along with his son, John, and an old friend who was visiting him from Florida for the holiday. I remember him at age 10: “James” then (I didn’t dare call him Jimmy! He scorned such names!) was bright, interesting, had a sense of humor, a lovely smile, was a good student, thoughtful, fun. And yesterday, “Jim” (finally!) got out of the car and turned to face me, standing on the porch. I could still see his father in him, whom he resembled rather a lot in grade school, but now, his mother was also there in his facial structure. Joyce died several years ago of cancer, so it was good to see her still there in her son. Jim still is interesting, has a sense of humor, a lovely smile, is thoughtful, and intelligent, and fun. It was great to re-connect after all those years. And his son is absolutely delightful. John is a junior at Plymouth State in NH and studying to be a meteorologist. He says when he tells others, he sometimes gets the response: “Oh, wow! Meteors are so cool! Great that you’re studying them.”
It was a short visit. Friend, Jane, had flown in in the wee hours the night before, and Jim was hosting Thanksgiving dinner today. They spent hours on the road yesterday, picking up John, coming here, and returning to Jim’s home to get ready for today. It was a lovely visit. It is so good to see a former student turn out so well. I hope we see him more often, and can get to know him, adult to adult.
The other student, Steve, lives in Pa. Perhaps we’ll get to see him, too. I still have somewhat of a score to settle with him over some skunk cabbage antics on our post “My Side of the Mountain” all day survival walk in the woods. I think James might have been part of that as well, though I can’t quite remember…hmm…
Today, we went to Cedar Hill Continuing Care Facility where John’s mother lives, and had Thanksgiving dinner with her. They offer families dinner there, and turn the activities room into a lovely, homey dining room, where several families came to have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with their loved ones who require nursing care. The staff spent the last couple of days baking pies like crazy, and cooking up a storm. It was a lovely meal, much appreciated. What a great thing for such a place to do. It’s typical of this facility. They try very hard to be more than a nursing home…and they succeed.
Came home to dismal fog, rain, possibly later freezing rain, dark misty afternoon, and not much to do…very conducive to napping, which we both ended up doing. Now, I have to think about some sort of simple dinner, and then, perhaps Netflix, our entertainment for the evening. I looked at the movie schedules, but there appears to be nothing out there I’d want to see: a lot of violent movies and a couple of kid movies. Thank God for Netflix.
Happy Thanksgiving, one and all.