I got my first "teaching" job in 1999.
It was just for the afternoon.
With Mrs. Stephanie.
At BUMP Bexely United Methodist Preschool.
As it turned out I unknowingly had many connections with the school. Old childhood friends who had attended and even that annoying kid who came to the specialty toy store (my job before working at BUMP) every week showed up in my group of afternoon students.
It's been years since I've walked through the doors, I left in 2002 or so. It is the preschool in which I measure all preschools. I have a million stories and a million memories. I became a real grown up there. We laughed, we cried, it was better than Cats.
This year one of my former co-teachers is retiring. Cheri Crawford. After 24 years! I only wish I could spend that long teaching in such a wonderful place. She and I had some big fun teaching together. See, I was just an extra, a sub, the afternoon teacher. Then Cheri broke her ankle. A broken ankle and three year old children is a recipe for disaster. So, along with Susan, Cheri's regular co-teacher I was added to the mix. We had quite a ride that year. Fifteen kids and three teachers is a great ratio, but we had some live ones, who kept us on our toes. They are all graduating from High School this year. Yikes!
When we were in the thick of it, we always had a retreat we could rely on. You see. Cheri and Susan, had a walk in closet. None of the other
classrooms had them. The closet was full of art supplies, our purses and
coats, and a mini fridge. That closet was the safety spot to take a breather when that
gross kid handed you his poop. Off limits to the kids we could duck
inside one at a time, and take a moment.
Take a moment with the mini fridge.
What we kept inside the fridge, became a long running joke and permanent fixture that year even though it started just because of someones birthday party leftovers. A beautiful creamy oasis to help us through the morning. Just a shot was all we needed, the kids never knew.
That magical elixir was a can of whipped cream. Sometimes chocolate, but usually just regular. We would duck in the closet, hold the can upside down, throw our heads back, and filler up.
BUMP will never be the same without you Cheri. I was happy to hear that you are going to continue doing music with the BUMP kids, but hopefully you will have time to travel, spend time with your grand-kids, and Denver. Happy Trails my friend. I have such happy memories of the time I spent with you in your classroom. I will continue to tell people all about the year I used whipped cream as an excuse to collect construction paper and markers.