Tuesday, June 21, 2005

It surely isn't all sack cloth and ashes ... there are new challenges ahead.

While I was sneezin' and snufflin' over the past few days -- trying to throw off a cold -- there were two interesting new developments on the career front.

  • It's now official. I'll enter a new contract with the National Park Service on July 26th in the Rosie the Riveter National Homefront Historical Park in Richmond. They've apparently found the funding to bring me on to staff. It's only a short contract, but then so am I! It will be good to be back at work again. Never did get the hang of this retirement business ... .
  • Also received a telephone call from a very interesting charter school in Oakland called The Lighthouse. Last year when I was working for the NPS, I was a lecturer for a workshop staged for a national group of young teachers who visited the park to study the untold stories of World War II. It was an really fascinating day.
  • They are coming back with another group on Tuesday of next week for an encore performance. We will meet in The Hold of the SS Red Oak Victory where I will do a hour's presentation on the role of African Americans in the Good War ( or at least this one). I'm much better prepared this time, and am looking forward to meeting with these young teachers and their new crop of educators.
They announced that a group of 150 teachers from across the nation will come to the park in March of next year and -- having had wind of my unique presentations have signed on for a session of "Betty and the Big War." Never knew it would come to this (smile) but I'm more than ready and by that time will have had an additional period of exposure to the artifacts and oral histories of others now available in the archives of the Rosie Park to add to my own experiences.

Now to try to envision ways to combine my NPS work with my dissonant black history into something that just might ignite some interest in this important new national park here in this community where so much of it was lived. There is some really proud African American history here -- there just may be some way to bring that to life for some of the troubled kids now wandering these streets ... maybe. Lots of food for thought ... and much to try to recapture for young minds so bereft of meaningful connections with the greater community. It must be dreadful to feel homesick -- when you're at home. There may be something here to draw from across the generations and the wars of their times.

What may be important about this -- or where the connection are -- remain unclear as I write, but time will take care of that. And, ironically, time is what I have the least of right now. But of what there remains must be shared with a new generation struggling with their destiny in a time when our institutions are in a shambles and new outrages must be lived through... .

But then most of the young have known little else.

Maybe we lived out all of the good years.

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