While I worked with the Miami Public Schools as an Indian Counselor twenty-five years, the young people who came through my office door at the high school or at Will Rogers sometimes now come back through my current office door at the LEAD Agency.
Some have grown in ways to become unrecognizable, some never changed, their whole essence is just as I remember them. It is ageless and the moments with them totally rejuvenates me. We all walked through the school doors and into our then future lives experiencing the joys and hard times life can bring.
While employed with the school district, my work was never dull, ever changing always trying to meet student needs. One of the opportunities I took on rare occasions after the regular school day ended was to be a Home Bound Teacher when someone was ill or put out of school for discipline before there was an alternative school and a few times when a doctor recommended it for our pregnant girls. This week I got to meet the son of one of my students, I met him by reading an essay he wrote for a scholarship for college. It is an absolute blink of an eye to imagine he could be old enough now to head out to college, but he spoke with pride as being his mother's son. His mother who never let up on her studies and dreams of an education even though he joined her life before she graduated high school.
It kept happening this week when joined in our community garden by a Will Rogers' kid who has kids of her own now, so able and willing to help us help our Boys and Girls Club kids learn that work is good and teamwork even better, while June Taylor, a former Will Rogers teacher had another team of kids finding out what on earth Cockscomb is or are.
Tim talked while we pulled out the Egyptian Walking Onions. Our original sets walked to us when our down the alley neighbor Flossie brought them a number of years ago. The onion sets are produced on leaf tips, they get heavy enough to weight themselves down to the ground. As sets root the cycle is repeated and the onion continues to walk. Burpee, the seed company describes them as "A true conversation piece." We harvested the sets and will replant what we didn't give away during our monthly garden party.
He spoke about his grandchildren's dad, another former student who claimed to have had me as an ally back in his school days and who just hours later was putting the legs back on the tables Harold Post had given us. How fitting to have us all meet somehow in the garden where everything grows if it is nurtured and treated with the respect our living beings deserve. I took a quick break to put on my town clothes to attend a meet and greet for an Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner running for Lt. Governor and while there got to hear an update on the J-M Farms Black Water Incident. Then quickly returned, put my sweaty cloths back on and listened to Chris talk about the perch he and his kids didn't catch down on Tar Creek the day they discovered it black.
Martin Lively and I got back to another round of the garden. It was all happening in the garden, but as evening was about to set in, a former teacher who lives near Will Rogers, Elaine Irvin drove up got her weed eater out and went to work, grabbed the loppers and got rid of some poison ivy.
The book club selection was Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier, a book I always remember seeing on the long book shelves in the hallway in the house where I grew up. When my parents moved back to Oklahoma my dad had to build identical shelves in the house they moved into and the books came with them and found their familiar places next to each other on the new home shelves. If you have ever read the book or seen the movie you would know there were no similarities between me and that namesake. And certainly not after or during a work day in the garden with clothes almost wet from sweat with the knees definitely showing our earth's color.
It takes a heap of living to make a home, but it takes a heap of work to make a garden grow. Our Community Garden is growing good neighbors and better friends. Our motto: Ga Du Gi in Cherokee, means what else? "working together." Our garden brings us together and our work at LEAD Agency advocating for a clean safe environment is easier with the citizens in our communities making a difference by reporting what they see and speaking out.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim