Just some links and a story on this sunny Friday:
I had a great conversation with Ryan Honeyman, who hosts a podcast called Next Economy Now (yes, now please!!!!). He has a bunch of episodes with people I really admire. Check out his whole catalog.
I wrote a reflection on people’s reactions to the book for Education Post. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but a useful moment of trying to integrate the good, bad, and ugly of what I’ve been hearing in the way of my book’s publication a month ago now. (You can still write reviews, by the way, at Amazon and Good Reads. I read them all and they mean a lot to me.)
One of my favorite things that has come out of the book is that I’ve gotten a few emails from Emerson alumni who want to reminisce about the school. My favorite is from a reader named Jeff, 70-years-old now. He sent me this kindergarten class picture from 1955 (one year after Brown vs. Board), which Stella, my current kindergartener, has fallen madly in love with staring at. She believes she looks exactly like the one third down on the far right, and she’s not all that wrong.
At a wise neighbor’s suggestion, I asked Jeff if he would like to write a letter to the current class and he sent along the most pitch perfect, warm-hearted greeting. It feels like a poem to me. An excerpt here:
I liked most all of the kids, but some I didn’t like as much as some others. That’s okay anyway because we all played together at recess. We played tag and, I don’t know, just ran around.
I got in a fight the first day of kindergarten with Carl “The Carrot” Smith who the teacher, by mistake, made sit next to me at the work table. He had red hair. It was about something stupid and later we were good friends.
“Show and Tell” was fun; I forget now what I showed and what I told.
Are you learning to read yet? Books are always an adventure, like going somewhere new. I like to read. As soon as you learn it, it might become very easy for you, only in the beginning it’s hard with all the letters and then all the new words.
I hate the smell of oranges in lunch bags. Do you bring a lunch bag every day?
I wet my pants one day…maybe more than just one day. That was totally embarrassing. I hid in the bathroom hoping it would dry out. These things can happen.
I think the trees I remember from 1954 are still in the play yard.
Isn’t that just the best? Schools are such magical, memory-filled places, despite all the hang-wringing we do about them.
Thanks Jeff. Thanks readers. You keep me upright in this Tilt-A-Whirl world.
P.S. Some of you probably don’t know that, in addition to being a writer, I do a lot of facilitating and also consulting with people and issues I care a lot about. One of my main gigs is that I’m the storyteller-in-residence at a design lab called The Holding Co.—completely focused on care. (I took the lead on this amazing list of movers and shakers in care: the Care 100.) I’ll be facilitating a conversation between two amazing Care 100 honorees on 9/22 at 11am PST. If you’d like to join, RSVP here. It’s free, and bound to make you feel more hopeful about the world we’re creating.