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June 14 2010 Velma Workman
I will preface this post with the acknowledgement that of my senior stauts in this professional learning community. Yesterday, however, I was cut to the bone by Tracy's off hand remark "I'm just old." I looked up to see if I was actually hearing her voice and tried to process the words without showing my surprise or hurt. I couldn't even look Diana's way much less make eye contact. Some of you might not know this but, Tracy and Diana are cousins. Diana regards Tracy much the same way as I do my cousin Mark, a baby cousin. When baby cousins begin referring to themselves as "old" it's gotta hurt.
When did this getting old stuff start?
I started teaching at East Chapmanville Grade School at the ripe old age of 23. I was constantly reminded of my probable in capability and youth by my colleagues who referred to me as "little girl" or "young'n". Young'n was the name my principal, Mr. Adams gave me. I wasn't offended by it because he was my mom's cousin. I took it as a term of endearment. Time passed and he continued to call me young'n. Although I didn't realize, it must have had the same effect as some kind of vitamin or energy boost. You know kinda like the things you say you didn't appreciate til they are gone?
Mr. Adams retired the spring of 1993. When I went back to school in the fall my principal was a guy I had gone to high school with, and he has certainly never called me young'n. A couple of weeks into the year I began feel differently about myself. The adverse effect of my vitamin deficiency were beginning to wear me down. I looked around and I realized that I was not the young one any more. There were several younger faces and bodies on our staff.
That same year my only child, Chris, was a high school senior that year. I wanted to take advantage of the sitting fee to have a family portrait made. I husband saw no need in such frivolity, but I argued that someday we might have grandchildren who would need some kind of reminder that we were once young enough to enjoy the life we have lived; not of two old people who sit on the porch waiting for the grim reaper to appear.
I'm was still stinging from that "old" cut this morning as I left the house when I noticed the very symbol of old. There on a table by my door sits the only picture of my grandparents. Two white haired old people standing in the front yard of their Henlawson home. It was taken about a year before they moved away. He was already sick and was gone a few years later.
I'm going to stop by the cemetery this evening to check do a little math. I think I'm going to get a new revelation of what I've always considered old.