Thursday, February 29, 2024

Goodbye February

 It’s been a crazy month and I’m not sad to see the calendar page turn. It’s been a weird work month with students. I think the recent snow moon factored into lots of behavior issues. Or that it’s a leap year…The weather has fluctuated rapidly. Bitter cold one day and the next 65 degrees. My daffodils and tulips are popping up and I worry for the little green shoots because we could possibly have more snowfall. 

And now March begins with a Scholastic Book fair where we try to get books into the hands of as many students as we can. Then Spring Break begins and I’m taking a trip to Bacalar, Mexico with Tristan to meet up with Japhy. I’m very excited to be in the sunshine but I’m also just a tad nervous for Mexico. I don’t speak Spanish fluently and I know there’s a lot of unrest in the country. I just hope all goes smoothly. I’m very excited to hug Japhy as she’s been gone since January. Her journey with yoga training and traveling through Guatemala and now Mexico have gone well. She will return home to us in mid-April. She says she’ll be ready for a real long hot shower. 

I’ve read one great book this month - We Were The Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter. It tells the story of one Polish Jewish family through WWII. I’ve leaned quite a bit more about how the war affected this country. Many historical fiction stories about the war focus on Germany and the concentration camps or spies. My fifth grade students are researching WWII because we are reading Rescue by Jennifer A. Nielsen. There are so many layers to understand and my hope is they can see Hitler’s actions of dehumanizing a group of people and see how that can happen today as well. It’s always my plan to tie it into today’s world. Peace and love to you…

(Snow Moon resource)

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Life Stories

My grandparents have been on my mind the last few days and my reflection is a mishmash of  my memories of them. My paternal grandparents Myldred and Edward Matz were an interesting couple. Edward immigrated from Russia when he was a young man. I don't know a lot about his story unfortunately because he never talked about it with us or my dad.  Myldred, on the other hand, loved to talk and she doted on her two sons, Roger and Jerry. I remember her love of jewelry as she always wore big earrings and matching necklaces. The above photo has me right next to my older brother Mike, Uncle Jack, my Great Grandmother Holmes, Myldred and Ed. My Aunt Virginia was most likely the photographer.  She was the cool aunt who moved to California and was back visiting. 

(three generations of Bruch women on my grandmother's back stoop)

I spent a lot more time with my maternal grandparents, LaVera and Ewald Bruch.  My grandfather died when I was in elementary school but I do remember him spending a lot of time outside with me. He would introduce me to the trees and other plants in their peaceful yard. He also let me wash his hair and comb it which I thought was great fun. I thought he was a very kind grandpa who liked to hold my hand and swing me up and around. Later in life I learned he had been an abusive father to my mom and her two brothers. It's very difficult to mix my memories of him with hers. I spent a lot of time with the two of them and then later, after Ewald died I spent my summer vacation with my grandmother and she was my person. 

For years my mom and I struggled to have a positive relationship (my middle years were rough) and my grandmother was my go-to person. I'm happy that I can hear her voice in my head;  I hear her say my name and I see the smile on her face as she looks at me. I learned so much from her like her love of gardening and good food. She knew all about pesticides and if she brought produce home from the grocery store she would rinse everything in a vinegar mixture before eating it or cooking it. She lived through the depression so saved everything. My cousin Linda and I loved to play in her basement for hours. There were many treasures. 

We played countless games of Rack-O and Spite and Malice as I grew up. I felt blessed to have such a warm and tender-hearted grandmother in my life.  She listened to me and I felt like a whole person in her presence. That was golden. If I could bring her back for just one day I'd love to sit and talk, play a game of cards, and lay my head in her lap. Life is full of wonder and hardship. I think my grandparents symbolize that for me and I must be feeling a strong pull toward this right now.

(My grandpa Matz being silly with me)