new york city kid in arkansas
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(This was adapted from my May 3rd Cougar Chronicle blog post as Arts Director of The New School.)

On the heels of a very full week that included our school’s celebration of the arts, birthdays for the both of us, and another terrible ear infection for me, I received an unexpected text from our Josten’s representative saying he was ready to deliver the yearbooks.

“Deliver the yearbooks? What’s that supposed to mean?” my tired mind asked.

For me, the yearbooks were something junior high students and I designed on laptops from August until March. For months and months we brainstormed, picked a theme, created layouts, chose pictures, wrote captions, rearranged pictures and captions, collected quotes, gave feedback, and proofread over and over again until finally submitting what we hoped would be an entertaining book filled with pictures of people wearing masks and zero typos. I forgot that all this work was for a final product, actual yearbooks that would one day be delivered to us.

And in a way, that was a relief. As an actor and drama teacher, I’ve had to remind myself over the years to enjoy the rehearsal process and all of its memorization, frustration, discoveries, mistakes, repetition and relationships. The culminating event of actors on a set, in costumes with lights, props and sound should never overshadow all the work that went into bringing the play to life before the house ever opens. Enjoy the ride, I’d tell myself. The destination will be here before you know it.

As it happened on that Friday, the Penske moving truck full of Arkansas yearbooks arrived right as I was supervising a study hall of seventh graders. Nancy, our head of school with impeccable timing, was nearby and happily offered to relieve me so that I could assist with the yearbook delivery. I ran across a little field of grass between buildings, feeling a little like a kid at Christmas who forgot it was Christmas. Within a few minutes there were 17 boxes of yearbooks waiting to be moved to some location that had yet to be determined. Because again, I forgot they were coming.

This year we haven’t had performances at The New School, and so everything has been about rehearsal, practice and imagination. Arts Week felt like one joyful performance after another, albeit on screen after screen after screen, and on the last day I got to hold the 50th anniversary yearbook in my hands. Better yet, I got to share it with the yearbook staff and witness them enjoying the result of all their hard work. Their performance, you could say. One of them even broke out into applause.

Now we are down to the final few weeks of the strangest school year yet, where we communicated in muffled sounds, smiled through our eyes, and often asked things like, “I’m sorry, what was that?” As we say goodbye to 2020-2021, I hope I remember to enjoy the ride.

3 comments

Aunt Jeni

May 5th, 2021

Love this…such a good reminder. I enjoyed hearing every detail of the yearbook prep. XOXO

Shaunties

May 5th, 2021

So good!! So true!!

Pappy T

May 5th, 2021

(I’m breaking into applause!!!!!)

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