It's hard for me to put into words how much my trip to Steffen Middle School meant to me and my family. My dad Jerry worked at Steffen Middle School in Theinsville, Wisconsin and taught 7th grade for 35 years. He was also the coach of every team at one point. He loved teaching and coaching. He even took kids to Camp Minikani every year and showed them how to make sumac tea and buttered crawdads. He put his heart and soul into the kids and the school.
On January 5, I had the chance to go to Steffen Middle School to meet with 6th grade staff and students to talk about my poetry. Ms. Katie Hoover was my main contact and she helped facilitate the day. I met with three groups of 6th graders - around 150 kids. Each group spent about an hour with me. I talked about my journey, what inspires me, and shared some of my poetry. The best part was listening to them talk about what they’ve learned about poetry this year and share their poetry with the group. It's always exciting for me to see kids stand up and read their poems. It's such a vulnerable thing and I'm so incredibly proud of each student. I hope they will always remember how brave they were and that sharing art is always important. Thank you to the wonderful teachers, Trinity the librarian/ICC leader, and principal Dr. Anderson. Dr. Anderson and Ms. Hoover made my dad feel welcome in the halls he’d lived in throughout his career. It’s hard to go back because you wonder if anyone will remember you, appreciate the time, effort and impact you made. I’m happy to report it was a full circle moment for my dad.
After that full day, I headed to Barrington, Illinois to visit my lifelong friend Adie. I’m sure I’ve mentioned her before, but we’ve known each other since we were about 4 years old. She lived in the neighborhood my parents still live in today and moved away after a couple of years. We kept in touch through letters and visits. She really is a forever friend and I’m so lucky to have her in my life. I was able to spend time with her husband Michael, her parents Lauren and Dennis, and our lovely friend Larissa. We also spent quality time with her lab Violet, with whom I’ve formed mutual admiration.
I had a memorable weekend and I’m so grateful for old and new friends.
In my house, I have a framed quote that Adie gave me many moons ago:
Life is not measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away. - Maya Angelou
Let’s talk soon.