Day 3 post-snow-cation:
“So what did you learn about today?” I queried the trio of students who were walking to the bus with me.
They shared their answers but the 7th grade boy whose name I don’t know made me do a double-take.
“I learned about Ebola!” he said excitedly.
“Oh yeah? That’s cool!”
“But it was boring, Ms!”
“Really? You sounded excited…” There was my double-take.
“Well people are dying Ms, and that’s not cool.” Touché; you’re not wrong, kid — dying is not cool.
“But finding a way to keep people from dying would be…” I tried, aiming to keep the conversation afloat.
“Yeah that’s true. If we find a cure. We also talked about what we want to be when we grow up and I want to be in the Marine Corps!”
“Really?! Why?” I said with a mixture of excitement and hesitation. The conversation was continuing! But the Marine Corps? I wasn’t expecting that from this pipsqueak.
“Well I love my country,” he stated matter-of-factly. “And my dad is a lieutenant in the Army.” Ahhh now I get it. Following in dad’s footsteps. I asked a bit more about dad and then came this pronouncement.
“So I’m going to go to UCLA.”
“Really?! That’s far away,” I found myself responding, pathetically. Who cares if it is far away? Who wouldn’t want to head west after this winter and why not dream of UCLA? From there we talked about the things you can study there, that there are special colleges just for the military like West Point and that ROTC is not a major but more like a team — the idea of practicing every day seemed to make an impression.
“Ah there’s our bus!” he called to the other two as I finished explaining Jr ROTC. As he scurried off to board the bus I wondered to myself what high school would be a good fit for him next year and when he’ll get to see his dad again. And more than anything, I wondered what his name is.