I thought each call would be easier than the previous, but it’s just the opposite. Perhaps my numbness is fading, and my grief is sinking in. Or perhaps I’m just tiring of sharing with others the reality that my mother has died — tiring of sharing the circumstances and the details of how we’re all reacting, what we’re planning, how we feel.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy,” insists Ralph Waldo Emerson. “It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
When I tell people I want to live in a school bus after I retire, reactions run the gamut. But it’s OK. I’ve already driven a bus – The bus I was riding home from school one Spring day in 1972, in 9th Grade, supervised. Actually, I wasn’t supervised at all, but only watched by the licensed bus driver who gave me her seat so that I could drive my bus down my street. Continue reading “Stop for Flashing Lights”
“The best thing for being sad,” replied Merlyn, beginning to puff and blow, “is to learn something. That’s the only thing that never fails.”
Thus wrote Terence Hanbury White in The Once and Future King, first published in its entirety in 1958 – the year I turned 2. It will be just as true at the end of 2017, when I turn 61. Continue reading “Regina quondam, regina futura – Family Vol. 3”
What I really wanted to be when I was growing up was a famous novelist – at least as famous as Jules Verne, and maybe even as good. Now I’m resigned to having once visited an event, probably as a seven- or eight-year-old, that was also visited (possibly on the same day, perhaps at the same time) by Kurt Vonnegut, who was then within a few years of becoming what I really wanted to become. Continue reading “My World’s Fair”
It would be nice if life brought to us challenges in neat packages: “Deal with this, and when you’re done I’ll bring you something new to test out.” Our school days are organized along these lines.
But the events and issues on our timelines overlap and circle around and sometimes travel against time and double up and triple up and overwhelm us and trip us up when they can. We do what we can, as we are able, using our skills for parsing catastrophe, and calling on the resources we recognize in the midst of all the chaos. Continue reading “Doing Dishes, While Living Life”
An address from, to, for the Class of 2016 in the Harvard Graduate School of Education, by Donovan Livingston, Ed.M. ’16 – which phrasing sells way short what you will experience if you play this brief and inspiring video.
[Some very brief biographical information: Mr. Livingston is a 2009 graduate of UNC Chapel Hill (BA History), earned an MA from Teachers College in 2011, and became a member of Phi Beta Sigma in 2008.]
And here, for posterity, is the transcript of Mr. Livingston’s address, as provided by the Harvard website: