August 24-29, 1970
Although the new school year in Danville didn’t start for another week, Cannon School was unlocked for staff to come and prepare their rooms. I couldn’t wait to see where I would be teaching, and wanted to meet the other faculty members.
The evening before I drove to school, my old carpool buddy Linda called. “Can you come over tonight?” she said. “Ron’s traveling, and it would be nice to catch up.”
We spent 3 hours together sharing news of the summer and talking about all the changes ahead for both of us. Linda would be teaching at a new school, too, and our third friend Judy had already moved to New York City. At the end of the evening, we promised to stay current with each other.
The next morning I was back on route 74, heading for my new school on the other side of town from last year’s McKinley. The Fiat was piled high with teaching supplies, and I couldn’t wait to get set up.
First I checked in with the principal, Mr. Atkinson, who walked me to my “garden level” kindergarten room – in the half-basement. It was huge! And I loved it immediately. There was even a piano to accompany our singing times.
Mr. Atkinson told me my enrollment would be about 15 per class, morning and afternoon. Compared to my first teaching job in Chicago with nearly 50 children in one room, this would be a cake walk.
Across the hall another kindergarten teacher was setting up, too, so I introduced myself and learned of her many years of experience. “Come over any time if you have questions or problems. I’ll be happy to help.”
By mid-afternoon everything was ready for “my” children, who I would be meeting the next week. Knowing that kindergarten would be the first school experience for most of them, I set out toys, books, and puzzles, hoping to win them over with a fun start. Despite all that, I knew some would be in tears anyway, so I stashed a little back-up in my desk: candy.
That night I went to bed early, wanting to be fresh for orientation meetings starting the next day. At the district-wide event, I ran into several people I knew from McKinley School, and met most of the Cannon teachers. It was a plus that many of them were young and full of energy.
At the end of the week, Nate and I had arrived at our 9-month anniversary, and he gave me a very creative gift – a willingness to join me for the final get-ready day. He wanted to meet the principal and those I would be working with, and to see the room I’d been raving about.
We celebrated our anniversary by going out to dinner at Mr. Steak. Nate asked for my thoughts about starting a new teaching year and assured me that one day it would be him supporting me instead of the way it was now.
But I didn’t mind and was genuinely happy to be teaching kindergarten again. Even better than that was knowing I’d get to spend another year living with the one I loved more than anyone else in the world.
“Hold fast to what is good.” (Romans 12:9)