Yesterday we went to the Bar Mitzvah of a colleague's son. Benjamin did an awesome job (and I don't use that word often). I loved watching the pride of his parents, and I know him well enough to have been proud too. When there is so much bad news in the world, it's wonderful to have something to celebrate.
But there was a surprise in store for Peter and me. One of the other guests turned out to be none other than the incomparable JW, the fifth and sixth grade home room and math teacher of both of our kids. It turns out that he was the summer camp counselor of Benjamin's father, and they are still in touch.
All those elementary school back-to-school nights, all those Green Sheets (the elementary school newsletter that, I am sure, is an email now), all those yellow, hand-written reports about the kids' strengths and weaknesses—it seems like only yesterday.
But unlike my own fifth and sixth grade teachers who disappeared from my life when I was in high school, JW keeps up with the kids. He is their Facebook friend. He knows about Jeremy's web business, Jasmere.com, and that Seth is living in Brazil. But he wanted to know more, and we had a wonderful talk.
JW looks pretty much the same, although some thirty years have passed. He's retired now, and I am sure up to some good stuff although we didn't get to his life or ours. It was all about the kids.
And before we parted, he recited, from memory, the entire roll call of both of the kids' home room classes alphabetically.
It was a hoot.