Last night I had one of those nights where I awoke at 4 a.m. and read until 6 a.m, trying to sleep. Random worries, thoughts ran through my mind and I tried to banish them by engrossing myself in a good book. It worked! Here is the continuation of the story that I wrote this summer.

. As a young college student, I made my first voyage outside of the country to Europe. Great Britain was a wonderful civilized world and miles apart from my country upbringing in the mountains. That summer, I also traveled to Greece and worked in Israel on a kibbutz. I also went to France the following year. That was the year that my parents retired, sold our small business and left the mountains. The doll collection was sold. My mother let me know on the telephone. We had landlines then and I agreed, “Go ahead and sell it.” I didn’t want the doll collection anymore. I wanted to be rid of possessions free to travel the world and rearrange my dolls as I wanted them to be. Today, I keep a small doll collection with a gypsy doll, an Arabic doll, and an Asian doll. I am not a collector and I usually position them in the same place of display. They don’t hold the same importance as they offered a venue for me to explore another world. As an adult, I have explored many worlds and traveled overseas in jobs and on short trips. I still love to go to a thrift shop, pick up the National Geographic and see what kinds of places exist in the world. But at the end of the day, I realize that I am more like the Jo of Laura Ingalls’s imagination and am glad for the books we read growing up and having the freedom to explore the possibilities.

What happened to that China doll enclosed in the box? Is it on someone’s shelf right now or is it packed away in the attic? What made Stephen King write about the dolls that come to life? I have another doll which I sometimes stare it. My husband gave it as a present to me about 10 years ago when I was having a challenging year. It is a blow up of Munch’s The Scream…there was a scream inside of me constantly as both my husband and I had health problems, and my temporary loss of a teaching job in the school district. Yes, those 4th graders were different from me but I love working with children. I think as the world changed; the administrators forgot to keep some of the values. Those old fashioned values of keeping morals, traditions, also work with the children of today. Even in some challenging districts, they can or so I believed just as I believed in the rearrangement of the doll collection. It was that constant observation and the significance that kept me on track during a sometimes lonely childhood. My parent’s firm hand kept me plodding along. I believe that the 4th graders need that firm resolve instead of having a cupcake and a drink with the principal; they needed to be told your behavior is not alright. It is when people in authority don’t take action that the good people along the way are lost. My intentions for teaching elementary at a title 1 school were decent and honorable but somewhere along the way, they were packed away like the Chinese doll in the attic.

My route changed that year as I was forced out of the district by the non renewal and forced to teach adults at private college, community colleges. It also made me return for my professional certificate which I didn’t have. Unfortunately, I never felt the same. My intentions were honorable and my love of children and of sharing the joys which I felt were not returned. I sought some solace in nearby school district teaching children with emotional and behavioral difficulties. It was over an hour commute into beautiful country. I had an assistant with me in class, and we were forced to move out of the classroom into another midyear. It was a challenging group and I was only with them from March until June when I interviewed for a teaching position in the United Arab Emirates with Teach Away. They hired me and I left for the Middle East. The setting was exotic but the school district was challenging as it was in the process of reform. I was given two classes and two different age groups in two different rooms. I was overwhelmed to say the least but I tried excited by the adventure. Halfway through, I requested another school closer to the city as the challenges of finding rides was very challenging for me. I was assigned to a school in the city of Abu Dhabi. My teaching year was not extended beyond the year. The second school offered to stand up for me with the education council but I decided to return home to my husband still working in the states and to our home. Like the dolls in the case, my position on things had changed. I have completed the travels I dreamed of to the Middle East, and I have changed outfits and hats several times but I have returned to my original home base which is with my husband in our home. The conclusion to come next…stay tuned.

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