We barely reached 70 degrees today. Tomorrow? And Sunday? And Monday? 95 DEGREES. Thanks a lot, Lisa.
I recently finished reading Bridge to Terabithia. I read it multiple times as a child, and when I picked it up last week, those memories of fourth grade flooded my mind. The first time I heard of the book was in Mrs. Flowers’s class. Gerald Adams Elementary School. Key West, Florida. Mrs. Flowers was my homeroom teacher. Dad teased me all the time about being the teacher’s pet. She had blonde hair, brown eyes, and she was from Alabama. Her husband was a patrolman.
Since Mrs. Flowers was from Alabama, she knew how to read Terabithia. It was the first time I heard the expression “Oh, lord” to relate frustration or impatience. It was my first wholehearted investment into fiction. I got to know Jessie and Leslie and their families. I remembered wanting to be a part of their school. I remembered how cool it was how Leslie beat all the boys in the races on the first day of school. I remembered really liking Leslie.
I think my fondness for Jessie and Leslie grew over the years. When I first started the reread, I was in my fourth grade classroom in my mind’s eye. The fluorescent lights dimmed, our heads down while Mrs. Flowers read to us. The one bulb that was on in the corner flickered and hummed. I could smell that classroom, and Leslie pushed my imagination just as she did Jessie’s. They were my friends. I wondered if my classmates felt the same way. I wondered if my art teacher would ever take me to a museum. I knew that those kids were special.
What I didn’t know was death. What I couldn’t entirely imagine was Jessie’s grief. I’d moved before, I’d left friends behind, and I knew how sad that made me, but I didn’t think it was the same. I couldn’t quite relate.
And then I reread the book last week, the memories and feelings from fourth grade and all the experience I’ve gained in the following 24 years came to a head as I reached the end of Terabithia. All that I had experienced of loss: the grief, the healing, the growth and starting anew flashed before me as I read of Jessie’s reaction to Leslie’s death.
I cried and cried and cried. Those tears didn’t come when I was nine years old. Not like that, at least.
How did Mrs. Flowers know this book would affect me forever?
In other news, a friend of mine whose dad is a photographer for BYU came out to shoot for the Carnegie Hall show. She saved me a seat. Her dad related that the conductor of the chamber orchestra paid someone (the hall?) to record their performance. Because it’s Carnegie Hall, where the acoustics are perfect. Except you know what? The recording isn’t worth beans now because of the SCREAMING AND CRYING BABY in the background. It’s a shame, people.