Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Final Reflection: Poem

I Never Want to Forget Any of You
(In Remembrance and Celebration of “Reading, Writing, and Teaching the Holocaust,”
July 7 – 18, 2008)

By Valerie Diane Bolling

I never want to forget …
Sue’s tears which display her deep sensitivity for all living things and her desire to preserve beauty in the world as she does in her monolithic rock gardens
Tom’s strong sense of Catholicism, slow, easy smile, and poetic words from one who didn’t think he could write poetry
Beth as an inspiration to all young people that you can be born to a teenage mother, cope with family loss and personal illness, and still emerge with a Ph.D.
Thomas’ love for sports and music, and his remembrance of addresses and awareness of the kind of superiority competitive sports can breed
Steve’s ability to find poetry in the streets of New York and how wonderful it was that he could share this with his wife (his “passion and inspiration”) and valedictorian daughter
Jan’s ability to recognize that combating prejudice must start at home -- we must not only look at the atrocities committed on others’ soil but also on our own
Risha’s beauty, strapless dress or not, gorgeous singing and spoken voice, and love of shopping; I’ll also remember to keep Clay in my prayers
Danielle – Risha’s partner in crime -- if shopping for purses and cashminas is a crime, and her vast knowledge of technology and ability to weave words into magic
Billie’s spirit, knowledge and love of literature and plays -- oh to be a student in her classroom
Wendy’s melodic voice, coming from a place of wisdom and questioning and figuring out where she -- and we all -- might fit into this world
Ilka’s never-ending thinking, reflecting, and analyzing, and always her love of Gabryella and the color purple
Gail’s impressive knowledge of technology and of best practices for bringing it into the classroom
Debi’s energy and vitality, effervescence when sharing stories of Lucca, and “self-enrollment” in Jewish society
Leslie’s positive personality, knowledge and scrutiny of politics, and love of walking – thanks for the walking tour of SoHo and SoNo on a rainy evening
Pam’s caring about social justice, the relationships she’s cultivated for herself and her students with the children of Rwanda
Deanne’s cuteness, beautiful brown skin, enjoyment of Larry, and shouts of “Whoo-who!”
Larry’s sense of humor, beer drinking, and role as the creator of our blog -- a way for us to keep in touch and share ideas and writing
Angela’s initial exhilaration at being a part of the group -- a thrill that continued to grow throughout the seminar and ended in tears at the thought of leaving
Alice’s “hostess with the mostest” presence -- making sure we knew exactly how to get to where we were headed -- thank you for that wonderful day in Brooklyn, culminating in a pleasurable time spent at your home
Sondra’s sweet calm, even when she was forced to keep on us a tight schedule, and her openness about her teaching, writing, and personal identities -- thanks for sharing your children with us
Jennifer’s perfect teeth, reflective manner, and willingness to let me borrow her cashmina in the name of comfort and “fashion”
Gatsinzi’s honesty and emotion when apologizing to Gisa for not knowing there had been a genocide “worse” than the one that had claimed his family members in Rwanda
Pat’s decision to be a part of our group, despite family situations at home … and then having to depart suddenly when her family needed her more than we did

I never want to forget ...
How different, similar, and wonderful we all are
We are African, African-American, Native American, Filipino, Finnish, German, Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, Southern, Northern, Midwestern
We are mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, grandparents, grandchildren, friends, readers, writers, thinkers, questioners, researchers
We are teachers
Striving to break the cycle of hate in our classrooms, student by student
And ultimately, the world
Educating not only our students but also family members and friends
So that they know there is no home for prejudice and genocide
In a civilized world
In a world in which we want ALL of our children to live

8 comments:

Ilka said...

I love your wrap up. Than k you so much for the kind comments and perceptive analysis.

<3 Ilka

Danielle said...

Valerie,

Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful piece. I feel like a better person for knowing you! :)

~Danielle

debidurham said...

Ditto from me...you make me smile and remember. oxox Debi

LeslieL said...

Thanks from me as well. I can't stop thinking about our two weeks together. So much to take away!

suehopkins said...

Valerie,
This is so precise and beautiful, just like you. You sum it up so well.
I miss you and everyone and have been talking non-stop about all of the beautiful people I met on my journey.
Love to all,
Sue

Mr. Maerke said...

I think it is now my turn to say "Thanks." If you don't mind, I may "borrow" it (with credit given), especially the end, in describing who we were as a class. I wish I wrote this well.
T

Valerie said...

Thanks to each of you (Ilka, Danielle, Debi, Leslie, Sue, and Thomas) for your kind words; they mean much to me as do each of you. Yes, Thomas, feel free to borrow any of my words that you wish; I would be honored.

Much love to all,

Valerie

Valerie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.