Cleaning out

The problem with cleaning out one’s clutter is that if you’re not just shoveling it all out the door, if you stop and examine the material you’re purging so that you don’t throw anything away that your biographers might wish they had, that you are apt to be besieged by memories.

My task was to take the notebooks and sketchbooks that were crammed into the bottom shelf of the supply shelf unit in my study and to see why they were still with me. Some are archival: designs for sets, costumes; travel journals; that kind of thing.

Others were the notebooks I used when I was the media specialist at Newnan Crossing Elementary or assistant program director for instruction at the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program, and those are the ones that I went through and tore out pages: file, trash, blog. There will be more of these in the near future. I beg your forbearance.

This was my preferred notebook:

The top half of the page is blank; the bottom is ruled. It’s perfect for sketching/note-taking, especially for a visual learner. They still make them, but they also make them in other configurations now.

Here’s a page that struck me.

A closer look:

“Fred & Mary” was a lesson I did for third grade at Newnan Crossing to teach a social study standard. You can read all about it here. It was a stellar lesson. (Students were given the handout and asked to read it as a team at each table. I waited patiently for them to cry foul, and then we plotted a course for finding out the truth. A wall-sized timeline played a role.)

But what struck me here was the date: March 3, 2011. I don’t know why this page is blank; there are several others in the notebook outlining the whole thing. But on April 1, barely four weeks later, I was offered the position of the director of GHP, my dream job, and by May 1 I was gone from Newnan Crossing Elementary.

And on July 25, 2013 — ten years ago today — I arrived back in my office at the Georgia Department of Education after presiding over GHP’s 50th summer to be told that the governor at the time, in a fit of spite against the state school superintendent, had seized the program and moved it to his Office of Student Achievement — and did not take me with it. After 29 summers working at GHP, I was out of my job.

When I saw the date coming up on the calendar, I wondered how I was going to feel about it. Ten years since losing my dream job…

However, my plan was to work for the DOE for ten years and then retire, which means I would have retired in 2021 anyway. Since leaving GHP, I’ve found plenty to enjoy in my life, up to and including my theme camp, 3 Old Men, and the Georgia burn community. I have no complaints.

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