|At the beginning...|
Is that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream? Edgar Allen Poe
I have recently signed on at the local Senior Center to work with middle grade students on a history project - my history!
Sponsored by a health initiative and overseen by a youth program coordinator and a teacher from the local middle school, the project pairs a willing senior citizen with an inquisitive student. Together we will talk about the past, sort through hundreds of old photos and artifacts, ask and answer a myriad of questions and finally produce a written and pictorial scrapbook of the senior's life. All this in 9 weeks!
Last week we had an informational meeting and met the students through a lively interview process much like speed-dating. The students spent five or six minutes hopping from table to table, interviewing each participating senior. Finally they met in a huddle and then fanned out, grinning, each one choosing an adult they felt they'd enjoy working with. My young person is a very friendly, very lively 13 year old girl with long dark hair and a smile that flashes like sunshine on water.
We agreed that the best place to start was with the timeline that begins with my birth date and ends with the present day. I've done my part this week by sorting through the dozens of photo albums and endless photo storage boxes for pictures that represent the highlights of my life - babyhood, childhood playmates, first day of school, high school graduation, college days, marriage, children, etc. I will have to repeat the college days three times as I dutifully went off for a year immediately after high school, interrupted my studies to marry and raise a family, build a log cabin and homestead in northern Vermont, travel to Europe, and move house five times. I finally returned to school for a bachelor's degree in creative arts and then a masters degree in writing when in my fifties.
When I told my children about this project one of my daughter's queried, "Are you old enough to do that?"
That made me chuckle. The ad recruiting seniors specified 60+. That's me all right, though some days I feel more + than not. At any rate, I think it will be fun to look over my life in the company of a teenager. She is already aghast that I didn't have a TV in my house until I was older than she is now, that I spent most of my time alone and out of doors in the neighboring woods and fields ("With wild animals and bugs and everything?") and wouldn't care if I never went shopping again ("I've never met anyone who didn't like shopping!").
Tomorrow we will go through my first batch of photos. I will talk, she will take notes, and we'll walk the nostalgia path together, me with my head in the past and she with hers in the future. Where we meet in the present will become a special place for both of us. I'll fill you all in as we progress...
|At 3 years old|