They had sat in the basement for six years, untouched, except for the time I hunted out a ruler a couple years ago. When I first decided to leave my teaching position and become a SAHM, I had carefully packed up my classroom in the boxes left over from the copy machine paper. My husband placed them against the wall in the basement, until they were one day needed again.
Once they were in the basement, I didn’t even open them to remove the few picture frames or other personal items that had once sat upon my desk.
They would have probably gone a few more years, but this weekend I opened the box with all the coloring supplies and what not, trying to find some stencils to let the kids explore. I decided to move the box to the middle of the floor, where I’d have more room to rifle through its contents. In minutes the preschooler was bent over the box, finding treasures of his own.
A dingy yellow stress ball caught his attention, and he entertained himself by throwing it as far as he could, racing to find it, and then throwing it once again.
On top of the files full of short story lesson plans sat a framed picture of the colleagues I spent 8 years teaching with at the middle school.
If seeing that photo wasn’t enough to take me back through time, the magic wand that lay next to it was. When the new state standards and subsequent testing entered the curriculum, a friend, and fellow language arts teacher, bought the wands for each of us. The day before testing she presented us with our wands and blew a bit of “magic dust” (glitter) on us to help us get all our students to magically pass the big test.
Two dear friends of mine in the picture are no longer with us here on earth, including the one who gave me that wand.
I spent several hours going through the boxes, sifting through small gifts from former students, pictures, boxes of paper back books, and more memories than I knew it was possible for the boxes to contain.
Not knowing when, or if, I will ever return to a classroom setting, I decided to let go of 2 boxes of the paper back books, some of the posters and other teaching materials I have accumulated. They will be donated to one of the nearby schools this week.
But the memories? They are all still there, safely packed away, along with the pictures and that magic wand.