The Memoirs of Me

28 01 2016

BethHeadI’m thinking of writing my memoir. No, not seriously. Just fantasizing. But just in case, I’ve come up with some possible titles. How’s this for starters: The Life of Beth, an Insomniac’s Cure. My life has been relatively straight-forward and uneventful. Grew up in a 50s subdivision, in a town brought to life by the Cold War. Two brothers, two sisters. Parents steady and stalwart and loving. Church on Sundays. School, college, teacher, married, two children. Not much there. Enough to put anyone to sleep

Or I could entitle my memoir, The Life of Beth in the Tails of Four Dogs. My first dog was Seiko, a Pekingese mix with a tail like a flag, until she was run over and her tail forever after dragged the ground. Tikki was my first dog as an adult. A black lab mix, her tail flew strong for 14 years. Then came Tembo, whose yellow lab mixed with something even bigger that gave her a tail that could and would clear off coffee tables in a matter of seconds. And lastly (for now anyway), Shae, the feral pit bull mix with a rope tail that whips back and forth with enough energy to power four houses. Yet the tales (tails?) told by these dogs were all be very similar: she left the house, came back “in a minute” that lasted all day, scratched me, fed me, went on a walk with me, turned out the lights and the next day repeated itself.shae on roof

How about Fifty Five Times Around the Sun? Or is it Fifty Six now? When I was a kid, I could tell you my age (or show you on my fingers) in a flash, and always add that “and a half” even if my birthday was just last week. Now, I have to do some quick mental math to figure out how old I am. Lessee, 1959 is one less than 1960, which is 40 years to 2000, plus 16 to get to 2016, plus one more year to get back to 1959, but my birthday’s not until September, so subtract a year: so 56. And a half.

Most of my adult life has been spent working half-time, a life style choice that has been made possible through the hard work of my better half, Brian. So I could call my life story: A Half of Beth. I spent my first ten years as a teacher working full-time. Just as I felt my fires burning out, it was time to start a family. For eight years I stayed home with our two girls: some of the best years of my life, so far. Then out of the blue I was invited to job-share with Danielle, a dynamic third grade teacher who wanted to be able to spend more time with her baby boy. Danielle’s up-beat personality made her a fun partner, but after working with her for a number of years, she up and moved to France. Along came Kathy, who also had two young boys and was looking for an opportunity to teach and still have a normal home-life. A talented teacher and good friend, Kathy and I enjoyed job-sharing together for quite a few years until she decided to change career directions and become a preschool director. By this time, my own girls were in college, so I didn’t have a good excuse for working half-time, but still I did one more year of job-sharing with Lisa before jumping back in full time. And after a wonderful year with the best fifth grade students ever, I jumped ship to take a job at the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center. And now, a year (and a half) later, I’m back job-sharing with a delightful partner, Susanne, who as a retired fifth grade teacher shares my love of environmental education as well as my teaching philosophy. So I’m back to working half-time, this time at a job that I describe as having all the advantages of being a grandmother: I get to do fun stuff with kids, and then sent them back home again! Working half-time has allowed me the space to spread my wings and explore my world, both physically and mentally. Not to mention, it has allowed me to maintain a modicum of sanity; anyone who knows me knows how I tend to over-do. Not everyone has the option to work half-time. I was only able to do this because my husband has a good job and isn’t motivated by big houses, fancy cars, or expensive play toys. So maybe my story shouldn’t be A Half of Beth, but Brian’s Other Half. Or maybe just Half Wit.

trampoline

My sister Marie spent many years working in foster care, trying to find parents to adopt children who needed a family and a stable home. She would often write “life books” for these children to give them a sense of who they were. I’m still writing my own life book. Not sure of the title. Still developing the plot. Still adding new characters. But I do know that it is an adventure book. And the sequel is still to come.

kayak flower

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2 responses

28 01 2016
kbfenner

Your life stories would be so interesting. You get out there. You notice details. You have a wry sense of humor. Our hometown, your town, is both ordinary, small-town South Carolina and extraordinary multicultural (original residents black and white, Winter Colony, duPonters, Westinghouse people, retirees not from Savannah River Lab/Plant/Site). Your family was ordinary–two parents, church, etc., and extraordinary–large, with a large age gap in the middle. You get the picture. I know I’d read your memoir. I read your blog, don’t I?

28 01 2016
eberteach

Thanks. You are so good for my ego!

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