Its happened again…

Its happened yet again, another senseless school shooting. This time the place was Chardon, OH, and as of this writing two young people have lose their lives and three were physically injured. Of course the impact of this act is far greater than the five who physically were harmed, a community was harmed. For the community of Chardon, Ohio life as they know it ended yesterday when the alleged gunman fired the gun.

It’s easy to throw blame around when these incidents happen, many will say it’s the guns, some will say bullying, some will say it’s the breakdown of the family; the truth is none of us really know. The only thing we do know is that once upon a time, in a place really not that far away, the idea of a child going into a school with a gun and shooting their classmates was a pretty bizarre concept. Sadly violence in our schools has become so common that while our breath may stop for a moment when we hear these reports within a few minutes we go on with our day.

I’m just a woman in Maine who thinks too damn much but I can’t help wondering somewhere along the line we stopped communicating, we stopped connecting, we stopped being present for both ourselves and our kids and sadly that’s when shit happened. Bullying despite all the recent media attention is not new, hell I had my own personal bully back in the early 1980’s when I was in school. My family and the teacher put an end to the bullying as soon as they became aware of it. Now though thanks to the speed at which we live bullying can literally be a 24 hour a day event, no longer is home a safe haven in many cases.

I have heard people say things are no different than they were 20-30 years ago and it’s simply every generation looking at the younger one saying things are different or worse. I don’t know…I know that 30 years ago kids didn’t walk into a school and shoot up the joint. Worse case, a physical fight may have resulted not death. Seems like a mighty big change to me! Frankly no one wants to look around and say things are bad, we like progress and while we have made amazing progress from a societal and technological point of view, I sometimes wonder if that progress has come at the expense of our greatest resource…people! When people are not communicating, connected and feeling valued for simply being, it’s easy to lose hope and when we lose hope, we lose everything.

Ultimately as a society I think we need to stop and check in with ourselves, and unlike a foursquare check in, a self-check in requires more than a minute of our time. Yet the end result might be a place where no one feels so hopeless that violence is the only option to solve a problem.



Mourning turns to memories

Since 2004, this week has represented the longest week of my year. Yeah, it sounds strange but bear with me, 8 years ago today my mother celebrated her 50th birthday and then left this world 4 days later. For the first few years after her death I would spend this week holding back the tears and trying to stay sane. Yet in the past year I have noticed a slow change, no longer do the tears flow quite so steadily during this time period, don’t get me wrong they still show up but the pain at the core of my being has loosened. To quote a friend of mine last night who knew my mother, mourning turns to memories.


I realize as cliché as it sounds while time doesn’t necessarily heal wounds, it does indeed lessen them. The world and my world have both moved on in the past 8 years but my Mom’s spirit still resides in me and even more in my kids. I am learning that while death closes many doors, it opens others. My daughter will never know her Grandma (actually she knows no Grandma’s since they all checked out before she arrived) but her ways of being are so reminiscent of my own Mom that as I shared with my brother last night, it’s as if Ma came back as my daughter….who knows.

Anyway I will do what I have done since her 50th birthday when she was not well enough to do it herself, I will open a bottle of red and raise a glass to my Mom….the best mother, friend and confidant a girl could have. Instead of tears, I will look back on all the good times and a few of the not so good ones too.  Death does not stop love nor does it end the parent-child relationship as I have learned, it merely changes it. One of the last lucid things my Mom said to me was in response to a question I asked her, I suspect she knew her time was coming to a close and she told me to think and find the answer. It seemed harsh at the time, but it now makes sense, when I am in a jam, I do just that and generally the answer will find me.

To quote my brother, our clan flag is at half-mast this week but there is no sorrow, death is simply part of the journey. Some of us are blessed with long years, others not, but the number of years is irrelevant because love is more than time or even a physical body.



Prep School Negro Rescheduled

Just a heads up, winter decided to rear it’s ugly head causing the Prep School Negro showing to be rescheduled. Gotta love the weather! Anyway this fabulous event has officially been rescheduled for April 2, 2012 6:00pm. Hope you can make it if you are local.

Several months ago one my twitter followers told me about an independent film by Andre Robert Lee called Prep School Negro. I immediately looked into this film and it definitely caught my eye, no I am not a prep school Negress but as someone who plays outside the racial and class box they were born into, this film definitely spoke to me in the clip I had a chance to view.

Of course being in Maine, I figured my chances of seeing this film in its entirety were pretty much a dream. Granted I decided to email the director and much to my amazement, he told me plans were underway to come to Maine in early 2012 and show this film. Well long story short, it seems that twitter follower and several others had been working behind the scenes to bring Lee to Maine. A few weeks ago, I received a message asking if I could help get the word out about Prep School Negro and here I am.

Friends School of Portland, in collaboration with UNE and area independent schools, is hosting André Robert Lee and showing the film The Prep School Negro, on Monday, April 2, 2012 6:00pm  at UNE’s Ludcke Auditorium. Lee’s film provides an important reflection on the challenges and opportunities that arise when a poor student of color leaves his community to attend an elite private school. Lee prompts us to consider the meanings that home and school, class and race, aspirations and education play in our current lives and the lives of our children. What does it mean to belong in a school community and what can schools do to become more truly inclusive? We hope you’ll come to this unique event and engage in this important conversation! See the film trailer here:

“André Robert Lee and his sister grew up in the ghettos of Philadelphia. Their mother struggled to support them by putting strings in the waistbands of track pants and swimsuits in a local factory. When Andre was 14 years old, he received what his family believed to be a golden ticket – a full scholarship to attend one of the most prestigious prep schools in the country. Elite education was Andre’s way up and out, but at what price? Yes, the exorbitant tuition was covered, but this new world cost him and his family much more than anyone could have anticipated.

In The Prep School Negro, André takes a journey back in time to revisit the events of his adolescence while also spending time with current day prep school students of color and their classmates to see how much has really changed inside the ivory tower. What he discovers along the way is the poignant and unapologetic truth about who really pays the consequences for yesterday’s accelerated desegregation and today’s racial naiveté.”

Cheverus High School
City of Portland
McAuley High School
Merriconeag Waldorf High School
NAACP Portland Branch
North Yarmouth Academy
UNE Multicultural Affairs
Waynflete School

Anyway I hope folks will come out and support this film and director, I sure as hell hope to be there!