The very, very, very last day of school made me feel like OUTTA HERE!
On that three-mile ride from Wiggins College Preparatory Laboratory Family School to my home in Cramer Hill in June of 2014, I dreamed of my freedom in retirement and the fantasy kind of day that I’m having today.
Now I’m feeling like Hey! I’m so OUTTA THERE!
Here’s my day so far–lunching with my daughter at a Japanese restaurant, strolling around a bookstore and sipping iced tea at Starbucks. Not bad, huh? Writing my blog. Listening to Starbucks music. Watching happy people drink coffee, talk, play on cell phones and computers in air-conditioning. Bliss.
Another retired teacher told me that the retirement “honeymoon” would last about six months. Oh no. Even after two years of OUTTA THERE!, I love this kind of day. It’s not old hat. It’s more like pay day every day. (Except for the money.)
It’s August and I have no new school year apprehension nor any regret that summer might be ending. As a matter of fact, bring on the cool weather!
However, let me be truthful. During my bookstore stroll, a weird sadness overcame me as I looked through the children’s section. I kept seeing books that I’d love to buy and to share with students.
The Who Was? biography series–I’m crazy about them. I loved to read them purely for myself and, of course, to use them to supplement the regular ESL curriculum.
What? New titles came out since I retired?
I regretted I didn’t have students who might enjoy them. I remembered how kids begged to borrow them, even many beginning English speakers. How they enjoyed the lives of Dr. Martin Luther King, The Beatles, Helen Keller, Dr. Seuss, Harriet Tubman, Annie Oakley! What a joy to share the love of reading with children… That might sound trite, but it’s a true and beautiful feeling. I really miss it.
I almost purchased the Who Is Hillary Clinton? Then, I thought twice. I glanced around nervously. I was scared to see if there was one for Donald Trump so I walked away from the Who Was? books. I’ve had enough of reading about who is Donald Trump and I wouldn’t want my little granddaughter to pick up a book like that by accident.
I gravitated to the puzzles because I wanted to send one to my Aunt Rita who had hosted me for three days in her home in Connecticut. I cheered up because I found one that she’d like, three cheerful chefs. I forgot about my “missing sharing books with kids” pain for a few minutes.
Then, I spied a six-hundred-piece puzzle of the world–each piece is a country! Wow–look at the continents! Look at the oceans! Geography buffs–you know how I felt. My heart soared to the bookstore ceiling–wouldn’t that puzzle be terrific for the kids? How much fun it would be to do that puzzle with the students!
There would always be students who loved finding countries on the globe and on maps and I’d be right there with them. This puzzle would be fascinating for them and….for me.
Oh no, I’m retired.
Now that kind of fun is no longer going to happen for me, I thought gloomily. My granddaughter, Nora, is only sixteen months and a six hundred-piece puzzle might be daunting, especially when I’d have to pick up all six hundred from the floor and watch that she didn’t put any in her mouth.
I dragged myself, heavy-hearted, to the line to pay for Aunt Rita’s puzzle and I waited near the display of corny inspirational magnets. One grabbed me, though. DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY TODAY!
It was a sign. I got out of line. This was going to be divine.
Back to the puzzles and I picked up the world map puzzle for one of my favorite people. Myself.
I’m OUTTA THERE! and I have retirement freedom to do this puzzle all by myself. Hmm. By the time I finish it, perhaps Nora will be old enough to take it apart and put it together herself.
Love to my readers, especially Virginia Dillon who wrote me and said she missed my blog… Thanks.
Marguerite (Wunsch) Ferra, reader, writer and about-to-be puzzler…
Proud resident of Camden, New Jersey.