The house is at the top of the hill. It's pink. It's hard to miss. It serves as one of the landmarks on my trips to and from school. The top of the last hill on my to school. The top of the first on my way home. A very long time ago, I would stop and inquire about one of my fourth grade students' well being when I taught fourth grade.
It's been a while.
This was Granny's house. The children of two sisters sent their children down that hill to school. Our school. Granny's house was a way station for a number of kids who became Horace Mann Jaguars. And this is where I should mention that this was Great Granny. The kids I taught here were her great grandchildren.
And now I should also mention that Granny volunteered in our cafeteria right up until the onset of COVID. She helped serve, sort out the salad bar, open those tiny milk cartons, and kept kids fed and in their seats until it was time to race out to the playground. For more than a decade, she was a fixture, a person who made their presence felt in the kindest of ways. Which is not to say that she tolerated any mischief. She shut it down. She could do it with a look.
I became familiar with that look when I used to stop by her house at the top of the hill on my way home from a particularly challenging day teaching fourth grade. Challenging in part because of the drama and traumas incited by Granny's great-granddaughter. It was around this time that I became friendly with all the inhabitants of the house, visitors and relations. Even when I didn't need to drop by for a home visit, I would still smile and wave. Granny kept it real.
When I switched back to being the computer teacher, I could always count on the mild intimidation of Granny's presence. Not just her great-grandchildren. All those who didn't want to have to get that look of disapproval from her, they didn't want me to invoke Granny as a threat. Best to steer clear of that one.
She lived a full life of ninety-two years. Her granddaughter, the mother of my challenging fourth grader who grew up to become a nurse, gave me the sad news. I will remember her every time I pass that pale pink house. Granny didn't stomp on the Terra as much as she maintained a steady presence on it. She will be missed.