On Friday night, I had my first signing for Amigas and School Scandals, the young adult sequel to Amor and Summer Secrets. I was hoping for a good turnout—the local paper ran an article on me that I received plenty of emails about, friends and family spread the word, and some educators passed out flyers on my behalf. I expected to have a few former teachers there—my high school English and Spanish teachers have been very supportive. But I never in my wildest dreams expected my kindergarten teacher, who’s long been retired, to show up because she saw my picture in the paper…and recognized me.
First, kudos to all the teachers out there. The fact that any educators would take the time to come to a book signing for a student they taught more than a decade ago is downright commendable. Just to be remembered is humbling.
But high school wasn’t that long ago. Sure Kurt Cobain was still alive and I was crowd surfing at Green Day’s Dookie concert, but it doesn’t feel like ancient history. Kindergarten, however, does.
I was five years old, living in my parent’s old house and sporting a Dorothy Hamill cut. Trust me, it was not a good look for me. (Unfortunately those photos are buried in my in-laws basement collecting dust. Maybe one day I’ll find the courage to dredge them up.)
Mrs. Sewell is a veteran of my former elementary school. She not only taught me, but also my brother who’s ten years older than I am. I learned the alphabet from her (I didn’t go to pre-school), and for some reason I have a distinct memory of being able to recite the alphabet backwards. I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of young minds she shaped over her decades as a teacher, and it amazes me that she saw my photo (hey, I look slightly different now then I did back then) and remembered me.
I may not have gone to the richest school district. Of course, I didn’t know this at the time. But as I’ve grown older, I’ve learned that “Ridley chick” has a connotation that tends to incur laughs from locals who grew up in the wealthier Main Line suburbs. Sometimes, I smile along with them. I know the reputation.
But what they don’t know is that somehow a district with seven elementary schools, that educates nearly 6,000 students per year, manages to create an environment so close knit that decades after a student graduates, she’s still remembered. That says a lot more about the district and its teachers than it does me.
I know there are a lot of parents out there stressing about getting their kids into the “right” private school, dropping thousands of dollars on elementary school tuition, and fretting that if their child dare goes to public school, the world might end. Well, I for one would like to say to all the public school teachers who taught me—from Mrs. Sewell to the high school staff—I’m better off for having known you. And thank you for coming out to support me.
And in other news, I’m featured in this month’s issue of Chica Girl Magazine. You can read the article on my website, or view the entire magazine online FOR FREE over at Chica Girl. I’m in Issue Five, page 28 (you need to set up a quick log in before you can view it, but the magazine is very cool and FREE). Enjoy!
POP CULTURE RANT: Saving Private Ryan
This is was just on TV and since it’s Veteran’s Day, I thought I would acknowledge that no matter how many times I see this movie, I cry. Every single time. I even have to mute the scene at the end when the Jewish American soldier is in that beat up house fighting the German soldier they had released the day before—with the weak translator cowering on the steps too scared to help. I still can’t watch it. And people lived it. Hats off to our Veterans and those still fighting for us.