Every morning, I eat a banana for breakfast. My banana is not a gluten free-range banana. Nor is it a banana with a sticker that proclaims, “No tarantulas were harmed in the picking of this fruit.” It is a plain old banana.
When did eating become so complicated?
My paternal grandparents, Santa and Sebastiano, cooked simple dishes based on recipes straight from the Old Country. Some of my earliest and most traumatic food-related memories are based on meals served in their apartment.
Thirteen years ago I was a teacher in a classroom of sixth graders in Culpeper, Virginia, an hour from Washington, D.C. When the first plane flew into the towers, I was notified by the principal, in subdued tones at the classroom doorway, of the unfolding tragedy, our voices lost in the din of migrating desks and exploding backpacks. I was instructed not to inform students of that morning's events. I knew that at least one child had a father working at the Pentagon.
Years ago, right before an end-of-the-term field trip, my son brought home a notice from his middle school. The body of the letter included the usual information: dates, cost, arrival and departure times. But, the last line contained an ominous warning.
Some kids are happy that school is back in session. Others head for the classroom with some trepidation, but their reluctance is nothing compared to what Charlottesville author Erika Raskin feels each time she thinks about her days as a substitute teacher.
Years ago, before I decided to bite the bullet and embrace the soul crushing rejection that often goes with Being a Writer, I decided to try my hand at substitute teaching. I realized my mistake almost immediately.