Friday, January 13, 2006

back to the future

I believe fear is at the bottom of sadness, and I and pretty much everyone around here feels it. But Wednesday morning I woke up with a pointed, specific fear, for the first time since the storm. I woke up realizing that the likelihood of me getting a teaching job before August is practically nil, and I have no insurance. My teeth were hurting, and my throat, and I’m almost out of blood pressure medicine, and I was conscious of how I’ve been living as though in a state of emergency and that five months of it has affected my face and my clothes and my diet and my eyes and my smile. I woke up thinking I had to do something and that working part time at Central Grocery and receiving unemployment would only keep me where I am. An hour later the telephone rang and it was Mandeville High School calling, offering me a job.
It’s not the first time they’ve offered, but it’s the first time I’ve said yes.
My gut told me immediately that it’s the right thing to do. On the surface it seems so strange, so incongruous with the path I’ve been on. Here came Katrina, the cleanser, the changer, the instrument of awakening, and now I’m going back to the physical place of my life pre-Katrina and pre-Douglass, as if nothing ever happened.
So I’ve been thinking about what, besides the fact that it’s a chance for me to rise again, this could really mean. I was thinking how it’s an incredible opportunity for me to go back and study a school I knew, but this time with new eyes. It will also be an opportunity to study my new eyes. One of the biggest issues I’ve attempted to grapple with after the experience at Douglass is what have I learned? I ask myself that a lot. Now I’ll be able to address the question. I have also developed a new appreciation for the fact that, rich or poor, white or black, privileged or poverty-stricken, every human being has a mind full of potential ideas – native genius, I’m more inclined to say – and that my job is to help them find themselves out.
I committed myself to stay through this semester, even if another school here at home calls. But in August I expect to again be in a Room 219 somewhere in this city, ready to welcome New Orleans back.
And so here I go. And so the blog lives again.


Anonymous Shirley said...

Melanie, I am so excited to welcome you back, I can't and won't say "home" but back to MHS. Katrina has leveled the playing feild. All have been touched in some way and most, humbled. Perhaps your return will stimulate others, young and old, to want to be a part of the re-creating of the "new" New Orleans. Call me soon. Shirley

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Cassandra said...

MHS? They crave for you to return there... but New Orleans needs you more.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Nancy McKeand said...

Melanie, I am so glad that this has happened! Mandeville may not be what you wanted, but it is a job. And I think students everywhere need what you offer. Take it a day at a time and see what happens. Being too attached to anything isn't good.

10:00 PM  
Blogger katherine said...

why did you leave mandeville?

12:46 AM  

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