new york city kid in arkansas
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It’s another first day of school for Huck and all the other public school students in Arkansas. His day will be spent the usual way, at his desk in his bedroom with his fairy lights, a candle or two, and a cup of tea at his side.We chose the all-virtual option for his sophomore year, what with the pandemic and outrageous size of Fayetteville High School, and we’re pretty prepared to get the news of state-wide school closures in the near future. Since Huck last attended computer school, he’s driven on the highway, learned calculus on Khan Academy, opened a checking account, got hired to create a slide presentation for University of Arkansas business grad students (ok, ok, this was through our friend Shana, but still!), parallel parked, mastered blueberry pancake making, and painted his bedroom a beautiful shade of blue-grey.

Troy and I went back to teaching on August 13, and as we keep hearing ourselves say, “So far, so good.” The New School has a very strong plan in place with small class sizes, masks galore, physical distancing, a very good air ventilation system, UV lights, incredible cleaning supplies, and excellent leadership these days, and so we feel relatively comfortable. Not that there’s anything comfortable about teaching and singing in a mask. We’ve both had moments of light-headedness in the presence of innocent young children patiently waiting for us to catch our breath and drink our water in an attempt to come back to life. Because we teach in different divisions, we don’t see each other at work anymore to avoid cross contamination, but we did meet out by the dumpsters recently for a quick chat and a selfie (see below). Several of our close co-worker friends quit teaching because of the risk, and that has made the hours a little lonelier. At the end of each day that feels more like three days, Troy immediately washes his daily collection of sweaty masks and bandanas in the sink, often hanging them to dry outside. Because he sings outside in the August heat all day long, his water bottle collection is also vast. By the time I get home our kitchen and back yard look like a strange version of a 1970s family with lots of babies.

I think the following choreography best sums up how it all feels …

Happy 2020-2021 school year to our fellow teachers and parents and students out there. May your floor stay still beneath your feet, and if it doesn’t, may you have some excellent dancing partners.



August 24th, 2020

Impressive amount of change for Huck this summer…and thank goodness so far, so good!


August 24th, 2020

WOW. That video. May we all someday look back on our 2020 selves with the same awe and admiration for MAKING IT THROUGH that I feel for those dancers right at this moment.

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