Saturday, May 29, 2010
School's out for summer

Oh dear. Things have been rather busy round here the past three months, and we neglected the blog. Shame on us. We can—and we must—do better! Now then, where were we...

Buried under books, was it? Yes, that's right. From January through to this past week, Kelley busted herself teaching at one of the nearby high schools. The first-time tasks of daily lesson-planning and holding the attention of dozens of teenagers, of digging around for that angle or activity that might just help a kid get it, were all-consuming. (Not to mention the fact one of her classes, a lot of badly-behaving freshmen, was described by a fellow teacher as the hardest challenge on campus.) On more than one occasion, Kelley confessed, "This is the hardest I've ever worked." Still, she was undaunted, began every day anew, and on Friday came home beaming about the kind words and going-away gongs from her senior class:

In comparison to Kelley, I've been on a beach drinking cocktails these past five months. Still, I'm going to go ahead and pat myself on the back, because on Friday word arrived that—only 14 years after Dad dropped me off at the freshman dorm—I am a graduate of the University of Kansas. For anyone who long ago stopped caring, a bit of background: I left school in the summer of 2000 for an internship at the San Jose Mercury News, a decision made in no small part because it made easier the job of telling my folks I was a dozen or so credits short of graduating. The internship became a job, but that incomplete was still hanging out there. Phone calls home routinely included my mother politely asking, "When are you going to finish your degree?" and my bothered response of "Soon, ma" or "I'm on it" or some other fib. Finally, for reasons I can't recall, in July 2004 I wrote to my old journalism school adviser, inquiring about resuming and finishing my studies. I must not have liked the work outlined in her answer because I did not write her again until June 2005. (I still have these emails; gosh, they are pathetic.) I enrolled then in a Spanish course via correspondence, but not long after the materials arrived, including a blank audio cassette onto which I was to record myself speaking for the instructor, I set them—and the project—aside and chose instead to concern myself with more fun things.

The next year, 2006, I met Kelley, and it took her only two years to convince me to get back in the classroom. In June 2008 I wrote again to my KU adviser about completing my studies from a distance. It must be said that this adviser is a saint: for six years she put up with my infrequent and untimely replies and my inane and repetitive questions and guided me to where I needed to go. And so, in the fall of 2008, I started up this final leg of the journey. Now, after three classes of Spanish and, to offset the excess transfer hours, three classes of English, after some 46 essays (including one en español), it's done. Mom is typing-in-all-caps excited, and admittedly, so am I. Again, this was not a Herculean feat: six classes spread over two years. But picking up the backpack again after eight years in a job, trying to pick up a foreign language at age 30, sussing out Shakespeare and the giants of American literature without any lectures or discussion, writing all those essays (you should know, I loathe myself when I write), and then at the end making sure everything was in its right place—for me, at least, it's something.

So, then, what's the future hold? Well, Kelley is right back at it, interviewing and aggressively searching for jobs, and I'm in the middle of a career shift to teaching. (Santo is much the same, although he did receive a ball-on-a-string toy from Aunt Becky that he goes absolutely backflipping bananas over.) But there'll be fun, too. As Kelley wrote in our last post—which I'm sure you remember—we've weddings in San Diego and New York City with all of Kelley's friends, the latter trip also including stops in Washington to visit our pal TBall, and then Chicago to see my family and the Cubs. Before that, my Dad and brother traveling here to share in the start of the World Cup, and Monday sees the start of Kelley and Chris' Summer Book Club (first up: Huck Finn).

Oh, and more blogging. Definitely more blogging.

Posted by Chris at 7:47 AM | 0 comments