First Staff Day ’13-’14
A hot and humid auditorium. Teachers from every school seated, talking. Some near an open window, some fanning themselves. Most sweating. Like me.
The newest school’s principal, a woman who looked old enough to need a blue working card, instructs many of us to fill seats closer to the front.
Nothing says “we support you” like hosting a meeting in a steam room.
a raven’s beak piercing
a squirrel’s corpse
Not the confusing meeting. Nor the shocked aftermath. Nor the tension of choosing the assessment that determines our fate.
It was hearing Sandra B. tell Lou he will teach Global. And seeing UST on my program—team-teaching US History.
And who my partner would be.
numb even to the butterflies
in my belly
Bear Mountain Oktoberfest 2013
Light rain keeps few away from Bear Mountain’s Oktoberfest ’13. The lines for Wurst and the usual stretch out past the length of the cook houses. Visitors fill every picnic table from the cash registers to under the horseshoe shelter cradling the stage and dance floor. So many steins in so many hands. We luck out: college kids playing drinking games have room at the end of their table.
The band plays a diverse range music, from German Polkas to the Ramones. The dance floor never empties.
savoring the first sip of
dark German beer
The first crisis: the VCR won’t record the Macy’s Day Parade. All repair attempts fail. Mom and I brace for Robert’s outburst of anger and disappointment.
It never comes.
a sunlit lawn
parade balloons overshadow
Robert helps me bring up tables during commercials. Frankie is supposed to act as a “scout” — let us know when the parade comes back on. But he brings up two chairs and lingers with us instead.
Rob hustles down to the parade just in time.
plastic table clothes
Frankie checking names off
our guest list
Everything is set, so Frankie and I finish watching the parade with Rob. Santa comes as Robert talks on about something. Then he and I begin the Detroit Lion game that follows.
Shortly after Reggie Bush fumbles, the Pansarellas arrive. It’s not even one.
Joe settles in our den
to watch the game
The rest of the family arrives soon after. Mira’s brother Joe ascends the deck stairs. Garbage bags go out. Homemade wine lines the deck. Mira’s sisters, Sonia, Mom and Robert congregate in the kitchen. Anna Maria, God bless her, brings a homemade pizza — and asks us to heat it!
the oven door opens
Soon, Sonia asks me to get everyone around the tables. It’s turkey time!
the clatter of passed around
First published in Image Curve, December 8, 2018