Friday, December 20, 2013

December 18.....Three Years

Three years gone, hardly a second has passed that I don't miss his laugh, his common logic, his words of hard earned wisdom. I find myself saying, "as Gee would say".... quite often.  I also find myself asking , what would Gee do, all the time. He was such an intelligent man. I often wonder what he would have become if he had the opportunities he made sure his children had.

So life has moved on for his children. Rachel will graduate in May. She is applying to graduate schools and hopes to find the money to go full time. Then she and Steve will set the date for the wedding. Right now all we really know is it will be in October, after they both graduate.

Clayton and Katie are waiting the arrival of the new baby boy. He is due in January. Jack can't wait to be a big brother. Has named the baby ...Calico Jack....I think he's been voted down. Clayton is loving his job in Boston. I don't think he likes the commute, but the excitement of the city appeals to him. Katie is settling in at the high school she works at. This year she will receive professional status.

Has life moved on for me? I guess I have to say yes, to getting used to being on my own. I get up and go to work everyday. Knowing I will have to be one of many people today, mother, teacher, councilor, for my students. This school year hasn't been bad for me. My new teacher is wonderful. Kate really knows what she's doing. Many of her plans take time to show improvement in behavior, however given some time they really do work. The game night ladies keep me busy. Lynda drags me to almost anything she can think off, school dances, school committee meetings, meat raffles and not to forget Christmas shopping.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Another year, another new teacher.

Is this 8 or 9, I've lost count.

This one was worth the wait! Kate is a straight shooter, no bullshit kind of woman. Relatively young, just 30, smart, and funny. What more can you ask for.

Well for her to stick around for more than a year or two, might be good. She has been a sped director in a charter school. I asked her why the return to teaching?   She isn't certified for public school. Well, what's holding you back? She needs to put together a portfolio......really, that's it. What are you waiting for.  Not that this is an easy task, very time consuming, but if you have all the rest in place lets get going here!!

Not that I want to loose her to some other sped department, however she's to young and to good to waste her talents. She has plans for this program, Project Support, that are really innovative. Things no one and I do mean no one has even thought of before.  How about making the kids accountable for their actions!! Oh what a concept, who'd have thought it. Not giving in to them and suspending them, she calls it "shutting them down". Very much like in house suspension except your time in "isolation" doesn't even start until you comply to what ever got you there. It can be as simple as making it through the day without storming out of the room. Took one girl 3 days before she figured it out. Every day she left our room with out permission she was sent home....parents had to come get her and we would start again the next day. Sounds like she got her way, she got to go home, but the next morning we were back to phase one.....isolation..... no interaction with anyone but Kate or I, no social interaction at all, no breaks, no United Arts, no lunch with peers, nothing. She hasn't felt the need to storm out again.  She now has a new behavior program to follow, 3 ten minute passes to use as she likes to leave the go to guidance office, the nurse, or just to us for a cool down.... any banked breaks can be saved and traded for special privileges.  She does need to use them appropriately, ask the teacher to use a pass, tell the teacher where she is going and sign out of the room as all students must do. As of Friday, 2 weeks and going strong!

It is so nice to go to work and have someone who appreciates what you do everyday. Some one who knows these kids can erupt at any moment and still comes to work, not just for the paycheck, but because she loves working with them. We at the Middle School have been waiting a long time for Kate, just hope she sticks around for awhile. She says she's not going anywhere for a while....


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Lynda's Dream, another sign?

My friend Lynda has been having a recurring dream of Gee. In her dream he is singing the Nat King Cole song Autumn Leaves. After he finishes the song he tells Lynda, "tell Robin, honey mustard yellow shirt". She asks him what does that mean, he laughs, that big loud laugh, and says, "she'll figure it out", and she wakes. It is always about 3 am.

Freaky thing is...I have been waking up about 3, jokingly telling her to stop making so much noise she's waking me up now....not knowing about the dreams. After a few days and dreams she tells me about her dream. Neither have woken up at 3am since, an she no longer has the dream.

Listening to the song, I hear Gee's voice, missing him so very much, the tears falling as I play it over and over. Soon it will be three years since he died, still feels like yesterday.

The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sun-burned hands I used to hold

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I'll hear old winter's song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Freddie The Wonder Dog

Fred scared me this week. He has been sick again. Lethargic, retching and just miserable. He was so unsteady on his feet I was sure he was going to collapse. I'm sure the heat didn't help but he looked like this was it....I was going to lose my constant companion this time.

So like every other time we withheld food for 24 hours. The vet usually says food and water but with the heat as bad as it is that wasn't an option. Yesterday he looked better in the morning, not good but better. He ate his bland rice and boiled chicken and kept it down. Then in the afternoon he seemed to get very unstable using the wall as guide when he walked. Even his eyes looked like he was in distress.

So now comes the I call the vet. We have gone through these episodes before. They are connected with his Lyme disease. The fear was what if it isn't his Lyme, what if it is something else.

 Rachel, being more level headed about him than I, convinced me to hold off until morning. So I carried him upstairs to bed, ( he can't do the stairs anymore) closed the gate so he wouldn't fall down, or try to go down stairs and went to bed.

This morning I was greeted by a happy tail wagging old dog !! Yeah he still can't climb the stairs.... He still can't see anything if it isn't right in front of him.... He is still shaky on his feet.....He still forgets he's housebroken sometimes..... but he's still my Freddie. He is still following me where ever I go, even if it takes him a bit longer to get up to do it.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


The end of the school year is finally here! This has been a hard year for me, lots of changes. I started on the 8th grade floor with F and V, moved to the 7th grade floor with those guys L, T and Y and ended up in an unofficial 1:1 role with JM. So what does next year bring for me.... another new teacher! This makes number 8, I believe. My teacher from this year is pregnant and is due in late August. She is planning on staying home until the kids return after Christmas break in January. I have taken over the class in the past but I don;t see that happening for this. First I am not certified to teach as a long term sub and second the program has changed so very much this year I don't want to be the sub. I am very happy working in the classroom supporting the students with their school work instead of the social/psycho issues that have become Project Support.

The end of the year "meeting" went very well. It was held at Josh's house. Most everyone came...It was sad to know Brent wont be with us next year, he is retiring. Off to discover the wilds of the world, he said.....Grandpa hood!

I have bags and boxes of stuff everywhere. I can barely get to the plants in the dinning room, Clayton's old room is full to over flowing with two accordions, two tubas, two keyboards and two groups of college crap that needs to go back to Westfield and UMASS....Steven has moved in to the building!

It has been a rough few months for my future son in law. His folks broke up just before Thanksgiving and now his Mom has moved to NH, Dad is off pursuing other "interests" and Steve is kind of lost in the shuffle. So when Rachel asked could he live here I said of course he could.  He is helpful and willing to do anything I ask him to, besides he's soon to be family....after graduation.

Fred is really showing his age. He sleeps most of the time. We have to help him on the stairs, using a baby gate to insure he doesn't fall down at night. His hind legs are not very stable and he often leans into things to get support. He gets "stuck" in corners, forgets that he was once housebroken, and can't see for crap. His tail still wags, he follows me everywhere in the house and doesn't seem to be in any pain, except the occasional stiffness of old age, so for now I think we're good. I can't even think of the alternative.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Went to Fenway Park Saturday, the first time in 40 plus years. The place still looks like I remember it. Only this time I was there because I wanted to be. My father made me go the last time.

I was with my cousins from Connecticut, my father's youngest brothers kids, who died very young in a plane crash, and the Hecker boys, the wild children, who lived up on the hill where my Grandmothers farm was. I was the only girl and the only one who didn't care for baseball.

My uncle had hired a bus, bought the tickets, and my father said I had to might be the only thing I ever got out of Walt, he was so right!

I remember it was a Yankee game, my Connecticut cousins major fans. I sat with my youngest cousin, Dougie, who was keeping the score card and trying to explain what was going on. I don't remember who won, have to say I didn't really care, I was so board.

Fast forward to this game. The kids gave me two tickets to a Cleveland Indians game. Laureen and I headed to Boston in the rain. We parked at the subway station, managed to find our way to the park on our own.  Our seats were covered so we were protected from the rain. John Lester was pitching, David Ortiz is back from the DL, the Sox won, what more could one ask.... well, the annoying guy from Cleveland that sat behind us could have moved on. First he moved to that seat in the 6th inning, after the occupant's left, he had extraordinary eye sight, being able to call balls and strikes from the stands just to the left of right field. The best part of the whole game was the 2 run double that put the Sox ahead in the 8th that they never relinquished.

All in all it was a great return to Fenway....hope it doesn't take another 40 years to get back.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Would you think just the act of frying chicken would bring a flood of memories.....I didn't either, I was wrong.

Rachel requested fried chicken for dinner. I haven't fried chicken since Gee died. It was one of his favorite meals, chicken, collard greens, potato salad and cornbread. The last time I made that for him he was at the Highlands. I cooked for him everyday, just like he was coming home from work. I would come home from work and start dinner. When it was done I would pack it up and head to Fitchburg and we would have dinner. Teddy, Gee's roommate, was always welcome to join us.

I would get off the elevator and there was a CNA, a tall, black man, who would ask what was for dinner. He would tell Gee how lucky he was, my wife don't cook like that....  Gee would always say, "that's cause you ain't as pretty as me."

People I work with, mostly young and single, don't understand "how" I could do that. weren't you tired after working all day? Strangely no, or at least I don't remember being tired. Part of that was with Gee at the Highlands I was getting better restful sleep, not listening for his every move. Also, you just do the things you need to do. He needed to eat and wasn't going to eat the food that was served. He always said he wasn't, as long as I cooked what he liked! 

I still don't understand what is so amazing to people, my taking care of Gee. Maybe I never will. All I know is I can see that room as if I was standing in it...Gee's face lighting up when I walked in the room. I guess that's "how" I did it.

Monday, April 29, 2013


I haven't written much over the last few weeks. I have not been in the right frame of mind.

I have been moved back into the black hole called Project Support. We have a new student that can not go into classes, so I have been babysitting. He can't go to classes because he is known to be violent, has a filthy mouth, and lets say he likes Irish people......

I am not getting sub pay though, he has a "teacher". who he sees for one hour a day. I am "just support staff". Yup, that is what I was told. So, when the teacher couldn't explain to him how to solve a two step equation, I was just sitting there waiting, being just support staff. I probably should have jumped in and answered his questions however, the last time I did that I found myself with a first block class, while the teacher goes over the daily lessons. Not that I might need to know what the teacher wants....I am after all just support staff.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

It's Official

My baby girl is engaged to be married! My gosh I just came to terms that she was 21, now this! The news came last night. Rachel called saying through her tears, I'm so happy... Steve had given her his grandmother's diamond ring.

What started as an 8th grade infatuation has grown to this. The first time Gee saw Steve he was sliding down our stairs on his butt, laughing. Steve has always been there. When Rachel had heat stroke at the Memorial Parade, he just followed me to the car and got in, following the ambulance to the ER. Each time Gee was in the hospital, he was there holding her hand, giving her what comfort he could. When Gee died, he came in the door engulfing her in his big bear hug and you could see her melt, knowing she would be safe there.

I have a picture of them on the table in the hall, even back then I could see the love they have for each other.  So lets make it offical....


Sunday, February 3, 2013

White Rocks and Green Grass

Where is there an outcrop of white crystal/marble rocks covered in the softest, brightest green grass? I have had reoccurring dreams about this place. How I get there is always different the last time I was with a teacher in an old car. I "feel" like I've been here before...strange.

I have been missing Gee more than ever.  I'm thinking it's the weather......grey and depressing. Rachel went back to school after Christmas break and things at work have been shaken up. All things that trigger my anxiety.

Our anniversary is also coming up, Feb 18th. I had a teacher ask me some questions about having lost Gee. It was funny because I found myself saying that most of the time it just feels like he is at work or calling a game. It's at night when I put Freddie out that last time before going to bed that I really start to miss him. That walk up the stairs seem to drain me of all those feelings and the reality of getting into a cold bed alone hits. I don't really mind the living alone part, being a "loner" helps there. I have always been comfortable with my own company, never been a joiner, so to speak. 

I brought Rachel back to school today, feeling sad driving home. Then what do I see as big as life....a huge hawk. Sitting on the top of a tree next to the Mass Pike. Made me smile. Each time I am feeling particularly sad I see eagle, a moose, Gee's cactus in full bloom, a rhododendron that had never thrived has a bloom and now a hawk. Could it be a coincidence, sure. I am choosing that Gee is watching and knows how I remain Always and Forever.......

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Renewed Spirit

There is a young boy that comes into breakfast every morning. He is a student in the RISE program, formally know as Life Skills. He is such a joyful little boy, always smiling. He told me today, all excited, "Mrs G, my mother said I was so good yesterday I can have chocolate milk for breakfast!'
He was so proud of himself.

This little guy finds joy wherever he goes. Whenever I see him that smile is on his face. He skips down the halls, says hello to any and all he meets.  Still believes the world is a kind and wonderful place. That everyone he meets wants nothing more than to be his friend.

How can your spirit not be renewed when you talk to someone to whom the greatest thing on Earth is that your Mom said you can have chocolate milk for breakfast!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Depression: sadness; gloom; dejection.

That sums up how I have felt for the past month or so. I have said it before, I wouldn't get out of bed if the animals didn't need to be cared for. I often feel like going to bed, pulling the covers over my head and stying there forever....

I once found satisfaction at work, but these days it is such a chore. In the past I worked with kids that were a challenge but who were likable in many ways. These guys this year I can't. How can you like someone who, because they thought it was funny, terrorized a 6th grade girl with two of his buddies while walking home. Charges pending.....

I don't understand how these kids can justify treating each other the way they do. They are nasty, dirty and just down right awful to us and to each other. In the past we have had a few kids who are troublemakers, the ones who are defiant, or just don't care what happens to them. These days on the 7th grade floor we have 15-20 if we have 1.  Many of these kids parents don't see a problem with their child, or look at it as that's your (the schools) problem. How can you not care that by December your child has been suspended more than 7 times, plus had at least 5 days of in house suspension.

Many teachers are leaving as soon as they can, 20 years and out. There are very few teachers that stay past that magic retirement number. No more Miss Smiths, who taught all my brothers and sisters along with my father and his brothers and sister. Mrs. Waterman, Mrs Sheldon, Miss Laskey...all those teachers who taught for 30-35 years...

I'm sure the weather doesn't help how I've been feeling, dark gloomy, cold......looking forward to February vacation already!