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Archive for the ‘gratitude’ Category

“The Impossible Will Take a Little While”

Posted by whforums on December 17, 2008

That’s what Billie Holiday said, anyway.

Heard on WTIC today about two young students at Sedgwick who had the courage to turn to a school counselor about abuse at home. Get the gist of the story here.

I don’t want to talk about the specifics of the case because I think doing so does a disservice to the children and to the family, who have enough to work out without comment from the blogosphere.

I guess what I do want to do is use this particular instance to discuss the education that happens between people rather than on Scantron sheets. Nadezhda Mandelstam said that out of great hopelessness comes hope, and this case calls to attention not only the complexities of public education, but the necessity of humanizing that education. We’re pushing for achievement, we’re pushing for test scores — and don’t get me wrong — we should. But what happened between Sedgwick’s walls today underscores a less quantifiable– but more necessarily human — education. These students spoke up at least in part because they knew they had someone in their school to whom they could speak. Someone (and likely many someones) approached their classroom and their school not as a set of potential test scores (don’t get me started on “merit based pay”), but as mutual human beings in need — through and in spite of their mutual flaws. Whether we think they should, our schools carry the imperative of both developing and protecting their students, and they do this best by building relationships with those students. In the hopelessness of abuse (which is a day to day reality for many in WHPS, I’m sure), there is the great hope of our schools — not only the equal access to education they provide, but in the very human attention of our teachers, counselors, staff and administrators. It’s those who are working (too often thanklessly or invisibly) for the good of these kids — and for the good of our present West Hartford and the future West Hartford toward which we peer — who allow us to realize that, as our neighbors suffer, there is also a vigilance against that suffering. Too often we want our schools to be fortresses against our social problems — if not ivory towers, at least ivory ground floors — when we should be attentive to a more basic grounding: in spite of our mutual sufferings, in our schools, we’re not cut off from each other.

Oh. And they’re doing a pretty good job with those test scores, too.

Posted in Abstract Babble, Do I Contradict Myself ...?, gratitude, Test Scores, West Hartford, WHPS | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Five Things to Love about West Hartford, November Edition

Posted by whforums on November 27, 2008

1. Our amazing public library. It’s easy to take for granted not only the hours that it’s open (and those who staff it), but the resources it makes available to each of us. Not to mention the activities/programs that are constantly going on, and the way the library takes a leadership role in fostering community beyond consumerism.

2. Just to stick with the library for a second — how about the new library podcast page? You can now catch audio and/or video of many library activities from the comfort of your own computer. How great is that?

3. Another thing to love, that’s perhaps even more invisible than our library, which at least has its hulking, public, downtown presence. How about the work done by our police department, fire department and teachers? We ask a lot of each of the individuals who work for our town, and each works awfully hard for the good of our community. The thanks they get? Criticism of their performance, their salaries and their benefits. Seeing as each of these individuals provide services that keep our society functioning, we should be saying “thanks” more than we say “how much.”

4. I’ve given you this one before, but 59ers coffee (yes, it’s that important to me). They really need to get a website, so I can link to them …

5. The beautiful, clean, tree-lined streets. People in West Hartford take a lot of pride in their property and in their communities, and it shows. It’s easy to look past how beautiful our town is when you fracking live in it, but the next time you’re driving down Ridgewood Road, just take a “step back” and say to yourself “man, this is a pretty beautiful place.” That’s what I did the other day, anyway …

Posted in gratitude, West Hartford | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

5 Things That Make West Hartford Great, July Edition

Posted by whforums on July 23, 2008

So. West Hartford. Maybe it’s the rain and the darkness of the day, but I’m disheartened.

As a community right now, we’re fractured. We’re divided on the budget and we’re divided on test scores. We love Blue Back Square and we think Blue Back Square will be the ultimate undoing of our town. We’re old money who resents new money, new money who’s baffled by old money, we’re paying off the raised ranch and we’re making the rent by a dime (and sometimes we’re not making the rent at all). We could be a symphony of talk if only our ears were attuned.

So, enough with the negativity. Today I “celebrate West Hartford” with a constellation of gratitude — not because I think you care, but because it makes me feel better, and it relieves this blog, at least for a day, from the negativity that threatens to engulf it.

So here, in hope, I say, West Hartford: Whatever divides us is less matter than our fastening gravity.

5 Things to be Grateful For in West Hartford, July Edition

√ I’m grateful that Max’s Oyster Bar (one of my favorite restaurants, alongside a couple in Ithaca, NY — Maxies Supper Club and Just a Taste) serves Unibroe beer. One night I was there with my wife and I even scored some Maudite (one of my favorites, and a hard find around here). Max’s — you rock. And you will continue to rock as long as you keep serving brews from Unibroe.

√ The animals at Westmoor Park. When you pull into Westmoor Park there’s a “No Dog” sign (a circled dog head with a line through it). And usually that would piss me off. But, at the same time, I know that, if I let my dog out of the car, she would eat the chickens. In fact, it’s likely that my dog would try to eat all of the other animals, too (we’re not starving her and she’s a sweet dog — but she’s a dog). That I can look at that sign and not be irritated — knowing that we have a place like Westmoor for our kids (and our adults) — how great is that?

√ We may all be pissed off at each other, but we’re very civic minded about our dogs. When I walk my dog (who is old and no so dog-friendly anymore,) 9 out of 10 people I encounter have their dog leashed. You rock, dog leashing folks of West Hartford.

√ I’m grateful for the house coffee at 59ers in the Center. I could live on this stuff. Dunno what you’re brewing, but you’re brewing the best cup of coffee this side of anywhere. You folks also rock (in a “daily bread” sort of way).

√ We occupy space with the full force of our violence. And yet, presupposing our weight, each of us, in so many moments, gives way, not socially or in material, but of our minds, as though discreetly alerted to a passing occupation. We just won’t admit it.

Such that:

I make way and you fasten yourself to that emptiness.


See what I mean? I’m just a bit … dragged out by it all.

So, make the 60,000 of us whole and tell us what you’re grateful for this July, West Hartford.

(And if you mention the budget in this thread, you’re going in the spam filter with the rest of the porn …)

Posted in Abstract Babble, gratitude, West Hartford | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »