Valentine’s day bravery
14 February, 2007
Here is a story about the bravest thing anyone ever did for me on a February 14th.
When your mom works at your school, the school day doesn’t end whenever it ends for everyone else: you have an extra period of “sit around and amuse yourself waiting for mom” that ends at 5 or 6. This has a lot of potential side effects, including:
You get to know your teachers in a different way, more as people than figureheads. And if your mom’s social life comes to involve teachers, you get to know them eeeeeeeven better.*
There are other kids whose parents work at school, and you spend a lot of time together.
You are known to the Powers That Be. If, say, the head of the Lower School stepped out of her door with a message for a teacher at the other end of the building and saw three students who could deliver it, she picks the one whose name she can remember the fastest, which is probably going to be the one who’s the child of her coworker and whom she sees hanging around every afternoon.
When I was in junior high and my sister in the early numbered grades, one of those other kids was a little boy I’ll call J. He was in my sister’s class, and she had the disdain for him that 8 year olds have for members of the opposite sex, but he was in the age range of kids I babysat, so I didn’t mind him. (There was also the disdain one develops after having to spend too much time with someone, which I think was also a factor, but I’ll let her correct me there.) We’d hang out in the computer lab, playing Arkanoid and Tetris and killing people with Life and Death on the ever so futuristic Macintosh SE 30s.**
J. would often ask me to turn his computer on for him. I still get teased about this as I was seemingly the last person to know that this meant he had a crush on me. To this day, if I tell my mom of a la younger than me who seems to like me, she’ll ask me “How do you know? Do you…TURN ON HIS COMPUTER??” In the background I’ll hear my stepdad snickering. Ha ha ha.
So the scene: seventh grade, Valentine’s day; second period, Ms. Cosentino’s Social Studies classroom. As the bell rang and we settled in, she noticed that J — second grade at the time, I believe — was at the door trying to get her attention. (Remember the Lower School head, looking for a student to send a message? That’s what we all thought was going on. ) “Yes, J.?” Ms. C. said. He hung in the doorway for a moment…
…and then he ran in the classroom, rushed to my desk, slapped down a Valentine, and ran out the door as fast as his legs could carry him.
Can you imagine how much guts that took? Seventh graders are the Big Kids! Everyone in that room (except me) was laughing, and not WITH him, either. I still remember the sight of Ms. Cosentino doubled over gasping for breath, saying “I love this holiday!”
I don’t really. But maybe it’s cause I’ve never had one quite like that since. 🙂
* Before he married my mother, my stepfather had taught me 6th grade Literature, 6th grade Science, 6th grade Homeroom, 9th grade Literature, and 10th grade Literature, not to mention being faculty advisor to the yearbook I edited in 7th and 8th grades. In the 8th grades on, we would go out to dinner on Friday nights with a rotating cast of my previous and current teachers, and I would watch them get drunk on margaritas.
** I am always struck by how old Apple things look when a new Apple thing comes out. It’s even more hilarious to do this comparison across the years. Was there really once a time when this:
looked as sexxy to us as this: