“How is your daughter? Is she excited to be out of school for the summer?”
“Arhggg,” my co-worker replied.
Oh no, I thought. “What’s up?”
“She was making A’s and then stopped turning in her work. She is super grounded, is now enrolled in summer school, and…” Her life is ruined.
The conversation went on for a bit longer, but I had checked out. Still nodding my head in empathy for a mother whose daughter had gone wayward, and half listening to know when to nod, but mostly I was tuning out. I could relate to her daughter. I had walked in those same flip-flops. There was a time when my better judgment could not possibly let me complete a “busy work” assignment. As a result, here I am 30 years later and my dream of living in Hawaii or New York City never came to be. It must have been because I didn’t hand in those two assignments. Damn Seagull. If he hadn’t eaten my homework, my life would have been different.
Like many seniors in high school, I couldn’t wait to get done with school and start living. That last year was painful. However, a silver lining to growing up in the Midwest during the 80’s was that Home Economics and Vocational Agriculture were as important as math, science, and reading. Dreaming of living in New York City as a fashion designer or in Hawaii as a hula girl, I decided to take Wardrobe Planning my senior year. The class was a two for one deal: plan and sew a wardrobe. The bump in the road happened when we were assigned to make a sewing-sampler. What is a sewing sampler you ask? Well, I admit my understanding is based solely on what I read in Laura Ingle Wilder’s book, The Little House on the Prairie. So, I chose to pass on the assignment and didn’t really get much information or details about the homework. Not a choice my teacher liked. She threatened me with lowering my grade. I was sorry to make her job rough, because she was one of my most favorite teachers, but I didn’t budge. It was B-U-S-Y W-O-R-K. No one in New York City or Hawaii would give a flip about a Sewing Sampler.
Fortunately I was allowed to graduate from high school, sans the Sewing Sampler. One week later I was enrolled and attending summer school at Southwest Missouri State University. All was well. Finally, I was out of high school and getting a taste of real living. Being on a large campus was exhilarating. I told myself that navigating around a large campus of strangers was preparing me for when I moved to New York City or the Big Island of Hawaii. It was smooth going until English Comp. 101. Giddy and shallow, the instructor explained that 1/3 of our grade would be based on keeping a journal and handing it in weekly. In the third week of class, I realized that the sole purpose of keeping a journal was to entertain our instructor. Her nosiness was creating busy work for me. Nope. Not going to do it. I got a C in the class and a huge amount of satisfaction for not going along with busy-body work. The next semester I fell into one of the best teachers in my whole academic experience. He was genuine, inspiring, and practical. Besides being a terrific American Lit. Professor, he was a master story teller. He told us stories of his tour of duty in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands during World War ll.
Back to my conversation with my co-worker about her daughter whose life is in shambles for not turning in homework assignments; “She can’t even give a reason for why she didn’t turn in her work!”
I know why. A seagull ate it. Probably the same darn bird that ate my homework. Seagulls, they are pesky and they keep up with the times: pencil, paper, and sewing samplers in the 80’s. Excel, Word, and I Pad in today’s classroom.
If you are out there Mr. Seagull, I have one thing to say to you. Thank you for eating that silly sewing sampler and TMI journal. It’s ok that it knocked me out of my dream of living in Hawaii or New York City. But hey, I learned enough to sew tropical linen halter dresses, and I am equipped (more or less) in formulating complete sentences for SeamoreNauticalSpirits.com. The End.
PS. Another co-worker this week shared that she grew up in Hawaii. I could have sat there all day listening to her talk. I suppose she turned all her homework assignments in on time.
From Los Conchas (Puerto Penasco, Mexico):
Sitting on the Patio in Phoenix this morning:
Francis appears just as I pull out dress material:
Last weekend in Puerto Penasco, Mexico: We walked along the beach near the Mirador.
Nice pictures and enjoyed your story, Beth. You are grounded for a week.
Thank you Dad. Grounded to my house for a week sounds rather nice.
Date: Sat, 31 May 2014 14:18:10 +0000 To: firstname.lastname@example.org
I loved reading this one. It was engaging, playful, thought provoking. Nice. Very nice.
Thank you Sandy. You know as well as I do, that when the right idea comes along, the words just can’t come out fast enough. It was fun to write because it made me remember how silly I was back then…and still today