August 4   Summer time

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If you have been reading this blog you know I am a teacher and a writer. From September to June I teach, and sometimes I write blogs about the lessons I learn in the classroom from my students and from the literature I teach. From June to September I think, reflect and sometimes I write.

This summer has been an emotional one. My mother died in May and for the past weeks I have had time to process her passing. I feel sadness, but also relief that she is not in discomfort any longer. In the natural cycle of life at 89 it was time for her passage. She would have been 90 today, August 4. I would have been with her and our family celebrating such a milestone. Instead I’ve been remembering my childhood in Johannesburg, our house in Parkview built in the Cape Dutch style surrounded on three sides by a wide verandah painted dark green, my first best friend, Melanie, my next door neighbor. We used to crawl through a hole in the diamond wire mesh fence supporting sturdy  grenadilla vines to visit one another. Jacaranda trees lined the streets. A line of black ants crawled through the chicken left out to thaw on the top step of the kitchen stoep, dinner for that night. The call of the hadidas, one of the voices of Africa, morning and evening forever in my consciousness. My brother, two years younger than me, and the lessons I taught on  the front lawn to my friends and his friends using a black board I had cajoled my parents into giving me as a fifth birthday present. But most of all I remember my parents, my beautiful dark-haired mother and energetic blond father. My father chased us around our swing set playing catch in the long summer twilit evenings. My mother watched from the verandah usually with knitting needles poised in her hands.

Johannesburg, South Africa, my parents, my brother, our friends, our life with servants, my maternal grandfather are all my teachers, all forever intertwined in a matrix of memories, thoughts, dreams, reflections in the self that is me. Maybe it is time to start to write again: teachers and teaching, lessons and learning, a teaching life. Ah summer time, time to think, reflect and sometimes to write.

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