Stepping into the world of Social Work

It was twenty years ago today….

Well, maybe a little more than 20 years ago, but two things have me reminiscing this week.

First, an often neglected anniversary for any married couple, today is the 27th anniversary of the day my husband and I met. I imagine not every couple is exactly sure exactly what day they met, perhaps they were acquainted informally in school or something like that, so the date doesn’t get noted.

In my case, it did. During my junior year, a friend, believing in his psychic ability, predicted that I’d meet someone around that day. Sure enough, while chatting with my English (Science Fiction) professor before class, a shy man joined in the discussion. I learned later that this was very contrary to his normal extremely introverted behavior. We ended up having coffee together shortly thereafter, and never looked back. We moved in together after graduation, married in ’89, and I believe we have truly embodied the “for better, for worse…” We’ve had our share of practical ups and downs, but we’ve always come through together.

On another front, I’m thinking back even further, 1973-75, to be exact. I noticed a former classmate from elementary school had posted a suggestion about Teacher Appreciation Week on Facebook. I knew she had kept in touch with a few of our teachers, so I asked her if she was still in touch with our 5th grade teacher, who had been very special to me. She hadn’t heard from her in some time, but offered to give me the address of our mutual 6th grade teacher. My asking also apparently motivated her to phone this teacher as well. During that call, she learned that the 5th grade teacher had passed on (not all that surprising). She quite happily informed me that our 6th grade teacher clearly remembered me, including an incident that had stuck in my own mind.

It was a little harder to convince myself to write this teacher; while she was a very nice lady and a good teacher, she didn’t “get” me, and as a result made a few errors in relating to me. The one truly upsetting incident I recall (and she might even agree that it was a mistake) is her turning my desk over outside the classroom to force me to neaten it up. But she did try, and she deserved my appreciation for that, so I did write her a nice letter about my current life, and making a positive comment or two about her influence on my love of reading. It will be interesting to read her reply, if any.

Interestingly, my classmate reported that the teacher remembered a time where she brought all the girls together for a meeting. The teacher seemed to remember that I was being bullied and there was something about a boy. I do remember having a crush on a boy who another girl also liked, but I don’t remember it becoming a bullying issue. My own memory of the situation has more to do with handball at recess, and another girl (with a name close to mine) being the victim. Amazing what we remember, isn’t it?

This, plus the chat with the former classmate, got me thinking about what I must have been like as an 11 year old.  I remember that was a pretty tough year for me and my family. My sister’s epilepsy developed that summer, and I:began being treated for a genetic medical condition I was born with. While I had known of the condition at an age appropriate level all along,  going to Children’s Hospital of LA and being examined under a microscope every 3 months isn’t easy on a kid.

I was also a quirky kid. I have my dad’s intelligence and my mom’s stubborn nature, so certain approaches fail with me, no matter whether I am 8 or 48. I respond very badly to black and white scenarios, and being forced to “lose face,” for example. While I don’t know exactly how bad my hearing at the time was, I have always had some level of hearing impairment, which can affect my response to social situations and instructions, causing people to get wrong impressions of me. I can imagine I was frustrating to teach!

I’ll post updates later if the teacher writes me back.

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