Sunday, May 19, 2013

In this very room.

Columbia, May 15.

My friend Sally came to talk to Dylan's class today, and she blew me away - and all eighteen kids.
Sally went to school at West in the fifties, shortly after it opened, and was in first grade in Dylan's very first grade room. She gave each kid a story-telling cloth and they listened to her telling stories from when she was in first grade, in this very school, in this very room. They wore their story-telling cloth as they then each told a story to the class (Dylan translated a story we had read the night before in French; a boy was a cowboy and used his cloth as a lasso, rehearsing in the back of the room, then theatrically swiping all the art supplies off the nearest table.)
In this very school, in this very room.
Her performance ended with a guess. We walked out to the front of the school to try to guess which tree it was that Sally had help plant when she was in fourth grade, in 1958. It was barely taller then they were now, she told them, before leading them to the biggest, tallest tree in the front yard, a regal oak towering over the school. She read them a poem then, with Dylan in her lap. Again I felt grateful and humbled; for such a friend, for the school, for them to have allowed her to come in and share her art and passion, for being here.
In this very school, in this very room. This very tree.
The kids were enchanted, or maybe it was just the mid-day sun fire in their eyes, and the power of stories.

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