Time Marches On…..part deux

There is this big plastic crate under my computer desk. It gets in the way of my feet as a rule but sometimes lends itself to becoming a foot rest. It’s contents are both aggravating and precious. It’s full of school papers….from my children. Kindergarten writings…fourth grade reports….second grade Math papers…report cards….awards….you name it. Things that collect dust and take up space but that you know you just can’t pitch. I am not really the sentimental type and tend to be pretty stingy about what I keep. But it just keeps piling up. I was just rifling through it but didn’t find what I was looking for. I know it’s there and I wanted to scan it to post here. It’s a ‘report’ that the Prince wrote in second grade.

His second grade teacher was absolutely brilliant. If they finished their classwork they were ‘allowed’ to go through her book collection to write reports. They could read them aloud to the class. For extra credit. My son took to that notion like a bee to honey. We went through nature magazines for pictures he HAD to have to illustrate a piece of work. He became obsessed with bobsledding during the winter Olympics that year and wrote a report. He wrote about tigers and rain forest animals. He wrote about people. And on September 12, 2001 he wrote about the World Trade Center.

I had learned about the 9-11 tragedy while in school the morning it happened. I had actually accidently flipped on the radio button of my CD player before morning circle and heard desperation in the reporters voice. Parents who were helping for the morning took their children and left school. Televisions and radios were on in obscure places all over the building. Teachers gathered in the speech room…the office…the Teachers’ lounge….to watch it as it unfolded. We said nothing to our students during the day. When I came home, I was glued to the television set. My children were outside playing. I tried to talk to them about it – to make sure they weren’t afraid – but neither seemed too interested. They were 6 and 7 and a half. More interested in playing street hockey. And riding bikes. I didn’t push it. I knew the issue would come up at some point in some way. I just didn’t expect it to happen at 6:30 am the very next day.

Sleep didn’t come well the night before and I was up early. I was looking through the newspaper. There were pictures and reports coming from New York. My little Prince came stumbling out of his room and climbed onto the chair next to me, mildly interested in what I was reading. We went through the newspaper pages and I explained what had happened. As I got up to fix him a bowl of breakfast cereal, he was looking through the pictures again and the found a pair of scissors. And went in search of paper and glue sticks. Froot Loops forgotten, he began writing a ‘report’ with a vengeance. Obsessed. He was suddenly a man on a mission. How to make sense of this horrifying piece of his world?

It was only 4 pages long. Four 9 by 11 sheets of computer paper stapled together with a construction paper cover. One page had two pictures of the twin towers in flames and a sentence explaining that planes crashed into the buildings. There was just one photo on the second page of the fallen buildings. Another page was covered with pictures of people fleeing the streets and a sentence explaining that people were running away. The last page was my idea. We found pictures of people helping and praying. I remember that he wrote – ‘The helpers are here’ – as a caption. Simple. Concise.

He took the report to school to share. I was serving as a helper in an Art class that afternoon when his teacher came to find me. She hadn’t looked at the report when he’d brought it in. Not until her lunch break. She had been stewing all day and wondering how to address the 9-11 event with her second grade class. Then she came across his report on her desk. An answer to a very literal prayer. Perfect. Simple. Concise. To the point. And in a child’s eye view.

Sometimes we forget. And we mustn’t.

Instead, we get caught up in the mundane of every day life….. gas prices….. unemployment…. foreclosures…..elections…….

I think I wanna write a report.

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