Thursday, September 29, 2011

Goodwill Running

I got to the trail-head last week for a jog and realized I had worn flip-flops.  Deciding what to do, I spilled the contents of my water bottle onto the floor of the car.  I then happily remembered I left my running shoes in the trunk.  I debated if I should crawl back in bed because of my bad fortune all before 9am.  If you take advirsity as a sign, then you will never exercise.  So, I hit the trail for a long run.

At mile 2.5 I passed two ladies who I knew were retired teachers.  One, the principal of my elementary school.  I passed them saying "Good morning, teachers!  Thanks for teaching me to read!".  I surprised them with my greeting, and sped by them.

When I turned back I knew I would see them again, so I stopped to properly greet them.  What happened next was entirely unexpected, and I was glad I didn't give up on my run.

I told the teachers that it was more precisely Mrs. U who taught me to read with Dick and Jane.  I then told them that I did learn to read, and also what it felt like to have my nose in the corner.  Mrs. U made me put my nose in the corner when I was six.  I am a tender sweet person, and I always have been.  I wanted Mrs. U to like me, so I was good.  That is about all I remember of her, and the drawings of Dick,Jane, and Spot.

I have lived a charmed life, and have mostly been treated with kindness.  Mrs. U was the exception.  I didn't realize how tender I was about it, until the retired principal, Carol Judd, was apologizing.  She apologized for not being able to protect me from my teacher's cruelty.

I told her it was fine, and I made it through.  She told me again, that she was sorry and that it was not my fault.  I did nothing to deserve shaming as a six year old.  I then told her that it worked out just fine.  She then told me that it wasn't fine, and that she had a bad feeling about my teacher.  She was never able to do anything, and she was sorry.  She did not apologize for my teacher, but for herself.  It was personal.

Really, in comparison, to the atrocities that so many people survive, being shamed in the corner is negligible.  Though, with her persuasion, I had to give in.  The sky above me opened up, and some white light shined in a dark place.  It wasn't my fault!  She was there the whole time hoping to look after me, just like my mom and dad, just like the teacher next door in room 7.

I felt as if the issue was taken care of before my run.  Both my children have been in room 6 for a total of four school years.  The teacher in that room now, has recaptured the space for me.  Mrs. Judd asked me if I had 'saged' the room, and I thought I had.  I think the real sage was Mrs. Judd, 30 years later.

I had two and a half miles back to my car to think about what she said, which for me is a long time.  When I was in my early 20's, I saw Good Will Hunting.  I think every generation has a coming-of-age story that is meaningful for their time (The Graduate, Garden State, etc.).  For me, it was Good Will Hunting.  It touched me, and I knew people like Will Hunting.  It was like saying I know people who are like the Prodigal Son.

Running back, I realized the story of Good Will, though less so, is about me too (which is why it is so good).  I am bit liberated from the trials of growing up.  Everyone, no matter the magnitude, needs redemption.

Thank you Mrs. Judd!  How do you like them apples?!?!?

 This clip has that 4 letter word that is used so often now, it nearly isn't a bad word, except I can't say it very well.  
Be warned.  
Also, it wasn't so dramatic for me, which is why I didn't win an Academy Award.

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