Yes, I have a life outside of the chills and thrills small-time local politics gives me.
I was quite pleased with myself after the KBJR interview. My PCV will get a week or so to play with and learn the many secrets of his new phone before I’m ready to mail out a campaign fund raising letter. In the meantime I’ve got a little trip planned. Claudia and I will join a caravan with my son, his steady his buddy and two drugged cats of two cars and a U-haul truck. We are traveling to St. Louis where my son will begin his PHd studies for perhaps the next five years and his steady will become a medical professional.
We had invited them over for dinner so I wanted to have a light lunch and sit under the sun umbrella on our patio through the afternoon as though politics was the last thing on my mind. We fixed some lunch meat sandwiches and I pulled out Warmth of Other Suns and read for half an hour until the hour and a half’s sleep the previous evening caught up with me.
That evening Claudia cooked lambchops, nice thick ones. “Ummmmmmmmmmmnnnngggggggh!” as my hero Homer Simpson would droolingly say. We sorted through stuff in our attic and he chose to take an old black trunk of my grandfather Robb and a painting of my Mother’s that Claudia used to have up in her offices. Mom titled this one Light in the Forest:
I’ve always felt a little bad because he only has one other of her paintings – one that suited his cat fancy inclinations.
My son is as stubbornly independent minded as me. I’ve always wondered how difficult his public school life was because I served as a School Board member through all of it from fourth grade on. I have one particular memory of an assistant principal who seemed to take a passive aggressive delight in letting me know how uncooperative he was. For my son’s sake I took sides with the District employee’s who most aggravated him. I know that sounds ironic. I didn’t want him to be persecuted subtly because I interceded too much on his behalf.
He was also victim to the worst of the state’s meddling at his most ornery when the state forced our District to organize something it called “Outcome Based Education.” That involved a hideous reworking of our District’s curriculum that was so obtuse that a mother as bright as my wife could barely make hide nor hair of it. Robb, took his sweet time graduating and I didn’t have the delight of handing him his diploma with the rest of his graduating class (one of the few perks of being a School Board member) because he hadn’t finished earning it and couldn’t have cared less about any Pomp and Circumstance.
After his technical graduation a few months later he knocked about a bit playing music and washing dishes for four years before he tip toed back into academia. He did everything from that point on on his own until last week he successfully defended his 119 page thesis on shooting laser beams into viscous liquids to test the rate of diffusion of the contents. He’d cringe at that description of his work but I understand he’s been ardently courted by several chemists in the graduate program at the University of Washington where he is headed on Wednesday. He has mad skills and particular knowledge that they will need to conduct their own research. I couldn’t be prouder and I heartily approve of his doing what he wanted when he was ready to do it.
Today he stands as a testament to me that public schools ought to bend themselves around students as much as students bend themselves around school. All too often it is only the students who are expected to bend.