Laverne is gone. Her last day was Wednesday. Perhaps I should say her most recent last day was Wednesday. Laverne has left us before.
Last year, when she was in fourth grade, there was a tearful week of goodbyes and a party wishing her bon voyage and best wishes with promises to come back and visit.
We didn't expect that she would be back in a month and that visit would turn into the rest of the year. And into her fifth grade year.
Now we have been assured that she is really and truly moving. She and her mother have taken up residence a few exits further on down the road and the commute would be ridiculous. This time it's for real.
Laverne will be missed by many, including myself. She is a very clever young lady with a lot on her mind. I suspect if I were her regular classroom teacher, I might get a little tired of hearing those thoughts on a regular basis. And not all of those encounters with Laverne's thoughts are uplifting. Partly because she swears like a sailor and she has a temper that might best be described as volcanic. Asking Laverne to put her cell phone away or to take her hot chips to the cafeteria instead of distributing them in fistfuls to her friends and the ground is risking a confrontation that could go on for the entirety of lunch recess.
Still, there's something about Laverne that makes her presence borderline magnetic. If a fifth grade girl who periodically erupts in geysers of profanity and anger could be said to have charisma, then that is what she has.
I told her it would be interesting to see how she liked her new school, and taking a small conversational risk, I wondered aloud if she might have trouble rebuilding the slime distribution ring she had enjoyed here at our school. She looked at me with a wry smile that let us both know that her network of manufacturing and sales minions were probably not going to survive without her. She had the recipe, after all. And the presence to lead the organization.
And for once, there was no lengthy argument about how I was picking on her and why did I always think it was her doing these things? That smile told me that we both knew. When Laverne is gone, she will be missed, and not just because the slime pipeline will dry up.
Goodbye again, Laverne. You will be missed.