Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sub Notes: Fill in the Blanks

It was summer school, and it was in a rough part of town. I had them filling out pretend job applications.

A girl’s hand went up. “Under ‘Father’s Name,’ what do you put if you don’t know who your father is?”

Even for a tough school, some of the kids acted a little shocked. “You don’t know who your father is?” someone asked.

She lifted her chin several inches and looked him straight in the eyes. “No,” she said, a little too loudly.

I liked this girl. She was tough, yes, but she had a core of goodness in her. I felt a flash of protectiveness. If anyone was going to mess with her, they’d have to go through me first.

“Oh,” I said. “Yes, thank you. I forgot to mention that. If you don’t know who your father is, put N/A.”

N/A? It was a ridiculous thing to say, I know, but I was desperately improvising while trying to sound casual, and I’ve never been a quick thinker.

But at least nobody gave her a hard time after that. Maybe they sensed they would have had to go through me first.

Oh, and she inexplicably mails me a cactus every Valentine’s Day. And I’m like, “Thanks a heap, coyote ugly. This cactus-gram stinks even worse than your abandonment.” ~Juno MacGuff of her biological mother in the movie, Juno


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I'll try again!

    I'll bet she had some experience knowing how others would react to her statement. Hope she realized you were reaching out to her.

    Critter Alley

  3. Poor kid. I hear stuff like that and it breaks my heart. Unfortunately, her situation isn't the only one of its kind.

  4. "Oh yes, thank you," is a wonderful response, Tammy. Thinking on your feet!

  5. Tammy, you are a gem of a teacher. When I read your cactus quote, I envisioned your porch having a cactus like Lynn's.

  6. It's such a shock when you hear something like that. You certainly thought on your feet - well done:-)

  7. Nice reaction to a delicate situation, but your thoughtfulness didn't surprise me.

  8. Great response. You think on your feet and with your heart.


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