I went by the supply closet and chose my construction paper. Primary: red, yellow, blue, and secondary: green, orange purple. My school must have bought the better quality this time, I thought, as I admired the rich strong colors. I moved on to the staff lounge, laying my armful of papers on the big table by the paper cutter. Red was on top. My throat caught.
How could I retire and leave this?
For some, smells are evocative; for me, color matters. That beautiful pure red caught my emotions unawares.
Later, walking down the hall past a Kindergarten class, I gasped. Glancing inside the doorway I glimpsed a big, cheery teacher-lettered sign in red and pink that read “KISS.” Keep it Simple, Stupid? NEVER! Not in my school, where a child whispers that the bad word they heard another say is “shut up” or “stupid.” You can’t even call a jammed photocopier ‘stupid.’
I went in to read the small print. “Keep it Silent, Sweetie,” it said. Ahhh. I asked the teacher about it and she referred me to the book the idea came from; “My Words Roar” by Mary DiPalermo. It teaches little ones to try to break their blurting habit.
Leaving work that day I passed an empty bulletin board. But not quite empty. Here is what the teacher had posted:
Brilliant, just brilliant.
So, I have realized that when I retire I will really miss red construction paper.
What else will I miss? The love and intelligence expressed by my colleagues in everything they do.