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Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Mexico

  • Over the 4th of July, I blitzed back to New Mexico to celebrate my parent's 50th anniversary. Wow. So cool to see what they looked like way back when. Sooo cute!

Of course, we had to eat as much green chile as possible. So Cal's version of chile is, well, lame. We went to a place called The Frontier, which is a gigantic diner type of place that looks like a big, yellow barn. The inside is adorned with huge velvet paintings of John Wayne and Elvis
. The make these western hashbrowns that are too DIE much cheese, so much green chile, so much crispy potato! Sigh. I'm hungry again.

But better than the hashbrowns was the amazing interaction between myself and the girl behind the counter:

Me: 10 western hashbrowns,* 5 frontier rolls**(don't ask....all butter, sugar, cinnamon and FAT), 2 fresh squeezed ora-

Girl: Shelley?

Me: Yes?

Girl: It's me, Aja. I was in your first grade class! (I should mention here that, despite the dorky scarf she was forced to wear onher head, Aja is completely gorgeous).

Me: No Way! (I look hard at her....yes, same big brown eyes.) What are you doing these days?

Aja: Getting ready for college. I'm going to Cornell in the fall. (I always knew she was a smart girl!!)

Me: Wow.....(awkwardly takes tray of tons of food, after exchanging e-mails)

I was amazed for two reasons:

1. Aja remembered me.....first grade was a long time ago. I had made enough of an impact in my teaching that she remembered.

2. Aja recognized me!!! I have not lived in NM for 10 years......she was in my class 12 years ago....and she still recognized me! My hair has turned completely silvery white in the those years.........and she still recognized me.

So, Aja, you go out and kick some butt at Cornell. You were smart enough to tell your former first grade teacher she hadn't changed a bit!


*not all food was for me!

*Not really the hashbrown...I think huevos rancheros, but you get the idea.

**World famous Frontier Roll


Carrie Harris said...

So now, I am both hungry and immensely pleased for you. There are a few teachers that I remember that well, and it's because they changed my life.

Have some celebratory western hash browns! (Really, I say this because I am hungry and want to eat off your plate.)

storyqueen said...

I added the photos....stop drooling, Carrie!

(Really, the sweet roll is better in memory than in real time......I always remember it better than it is.)

Thanks about the nice words. Teaching can be really hard, but the rewards are priceless.

Have a great weekend!


Joe Iriarte said...

It's always scary when I run into a kid I taught long ago. They change so much, and they always think I will remember their names! I've run into several former kids this summer (for less than ideal reasons--one of my former students passed away, and so I've been seeing a lot of alumni at the memorial, the vigil, and so forth) and so far I've bee pleasantly surprising myself with my recall, but it's always a fearful moment.

I once ended up with my third grade teacher as a colleague. I ended up working for six years at the school I had attended as a child, and she still worked there, though she was a librarian now and not a classroom teacher. I had wonderful memories of her as a teacher (and she was tactful enough to claim the same of me, though I was a hellion as a little kid).

Good on you that your kids still remember you fondly!

storyqueen said...

Teaching is the best....also the hardest job I've ever had. The only thing harder is being a writer. The only thing harder than that is trying to do both at the same time. It's like teaching and writing both demand the same part of your's hard.

Thanks for stopping by.


BJW said...

That roll is calling for me to eat it. Glad that you at least got to enjoy it.

storyqueen said...

Well, it does look good, Ben, but my daughter commented, "Mom, after eating that sweet roll, I won't need to use chapstick for a week."

Yes, it's that buttery/greasy/weird.

I can only imagine what it did to my arteries....

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Thanks for beating me to the cinnamon roll, Ben. I feel like getting in the car and driving to New Mexico right now. Lovely post about your student, Shelley. Teachers are my heroes. I usually only teach in short fits and starts and brief school visits. And I need major therapy and recovery afterward. It is such hard work. And those who do it every day have my respect.