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, November 23, 2011

My First Sub Job, Part II

I was subbing for a woman who had obviously had a nervous breakdown after her husband left. But it was the kids who told me she had also started dating one of her students. I told them it wasn’t nice to spread rumors, but I later found out it was true.

A lot of bad stuff had gone on, and I was under a great deal of pressure to restore order.

When my last class of the day finally filed out, I breathed a sigh of relief. There, on my desk, was a folded piece of paper. A welcome note! I thought. Yes, I actually thought this. Have I mentioned I was fresh from college?

I carefully opened my note. I still remember the exact spelling, even. It read:

We goan cut you all to pesc.

Now I know enough to save it. But at the time, I gasped and threw it away as quickly as possible. And found myself looking at my empty hand. I think I was looking for blood.

And they tried. Gracious, how they tried, some of them. On the way to work each morning in those first few weeks, I used to think how much I wanted to turn around and drive home. Every bone and fiber of my being wanted to drive in the other direction. Drive to Mexico, maybe. Every cell, every hair, every molecule wanted to run. All the strands of my DNA. Every atom. On the drive home, sometimes I would cry.

During that time, my father had a stroke on top of it all. It was the first time in my life I felt positively assaulted from all sides. And unfortunately, not the last.

(Next week: Part III)

Those things that hurt, instruct. ~Ben Franklin


  1. My goodness Tammy, I don't know how you did it. Poor baby. You're incredible.

  2. Oh dear, you had your trials, didn't you? My philosophy, never let them see you sweat, shake, squirm, wilt. You have made it and you are a remarkable teacher!

  3. So sorry you had such a rough time. At times like this I always remember the quote "What doesn't kill us makes us stronger." You're a strong lady today as a result of such experiences in the past.

  4. Thanks for leaving us on the edge of the cliff, Tammy.

    I can't wait...

  5. Joey started his teaching career subbing at a high school here where many of the students lived in a trailer camp deep in the desert southwest of Tucson. The father of one of his students was a "coyote" who made his living bringing Mexicans illegally into Arizona for a great deal of money. Once they crossed the border, he left them on their own. Frequently some of them died there.

    You are one brave woman, Tammy. I am anxious to read more of your story.

  6. You're still teaching, so I'm thinking that some sort of epiphany is on the horizon. Looking forward to reading it, Tammy!

    Critter Alley

  7. God I hope this has a happy ending because I'm in that "assaulted from all sides" category right now.
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow


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