The Photo

Today, January 7th, 2020, I’m participating in Two Writing Teachers’ Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge.

I pulled the dusty white box from the shelf and lifted the lid.  “That lesson plan has got to be in here,” I thought to myself.  Expecting to find just file folders filled with old poetry lessons, I also discovered a small, faded manila envelope with my name written on the outside.  Curious now, I carefully pulled out the contents of the envelope. As I did so, I felt myself launched down a path of my teaching past.

In my hands, I held old name badges from previous schools, cards from colleagues thanking me for things I no longer remembered doing.  And then suddenly I felt the corners of my mouth turning upward in a smile as I came to a new item: a photo.  There it was.  I remembered it- me, nearly twenty years ago. In my white shirt and tie.  Smiling. Next to me was my old teaching partner, Amanda. In her black dress. Smiling.  Like me, Amanda was a teacher and a professional musician, as well.  As I held the photo, I remembered the first time my wife and I had visited her house; since Amanda didn’t own a piano, I had tried to play an accordion while she passionately bowed the strings of her viola.  I also remembered the teaching stations we had designed together at school to help middle school kids learn about the Holocaust.  I remembered the many laughs, the many tears.  And I remembered the fact that it has now probably been more than ten years since we have spoken.

Sitting alone in my classroom, I wondered how time can speed by so quickly? I wondered how it is possible to lose touch with someone we once found so dear to us?  How can that happen? How is that possible?

Removing my phone from my pocket, I snapped a quick shot of the photo and tucked it back inside the envelope.  I texted the photo to the number I had for Amanda.  Perhaps she’ll remember it, too? I wondered.

She did.

Author: Lanny Ball

For more than 25 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy specialist, working and living in the great state of Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops, twowritingteachers.org.

3 thoughts on “The Photo”

  1. Discovering
    the past, packed
    away in boxes,
    this flood of
    who we were
    mixed with who
    we are now are —
    violin strings set
    to your piano keys —
    the melody slips
    on my lips, a travel
    through time

    — a poem of appreciation for your post (I had something similar happen the other day with old four-track recording cassette tapes)
    Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The search for a treasured lesson brought you to a treasured photo, memory and a re-connection. Nice slice and vivid memories of your teaching partner Amanda! (accordion and viola – interesting pairing) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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