A high school teacher’s long commute to first period of the day

Our school begins the day at 7:30 a.m., when the first class bell sounds and students shuffle in with bed head and (sometimes) pajama pants. Many complaining.

I love my students, but I am not as sympathetic as I should be. They are tired, yes. Teenagers are tired.

I, an ancient fossil (at least in their eyes), hit the road at 5:15 every morning. The sky is dark and there is no light on the street with the exception of that emanating from the soft rays of a…


An intermittent reflection on another 182-day adventure, part one

First official day of class, September 2, 2021

Things my students said today:

  • I want to be part of the newspaper club. But I don’t want to write. I want to join for the conversation.
  • Miss? Miss? Miss? Miss? Uh. I forgot what I wanted to say.
  • I never expected my English teacher to be blonde and short. You’re really small.
  • Student keeping her paper hidden from view as she worked on a memoir assignment: Um. Are these going to be tacked to the board? You know, like for Open House?


Despite our craving for human connections and intimate relationships, we really need our space

Nick Grindell to Tom Barrett: This town ain’t big enough for the both of us. If I see you in Carabinas by this time tomorrow, it’s you or me!

The Western Code, 1932

Elon Musk to Jeff Bezos: That moon ain’t big enough for the both of us. If I see you at NASA by this time tomorrow, it’s you or me! And FYI: It’s gonna be me.

Bezos to Musk: Nuh-uh.

NASA to Bezos: Uh, sorry Jeff. There’s only room for one billionaire on the moon. And we choose Elon. Now git.

— Fantasy showdown based on CNN…


The promise of extreme longevity can make you wish you were dead

Since 2016, I have been sharing a video with my broadcast students featuring a live television interview with a lovely woman named Flossie Dickey. Flossie died about nine months after the news report which aired on her 110th birthday. Her longevity earned her the distinction of Washington state’s oldest resident of record. In the end she became something of a folk hero and one of the internet’s best loved characters.

While my focus in the classroom is the reporter’s execution of this interview (and I DO mean execution), invariably it is Flossie herself, not the reporter, who seems to garner…


Why lose your cool over brassieres, slurping and Kim K? Life is passing you by.

There is this bra commercial that depicts a series of beautiful women celebrating a “wireless” (read: comfortable) contraption designed to be the answer to all your brassiere complaints. It’s still a bra, an unremarkable “foundation”, an undergarment by any traditional definition. It is purported to be better because it doesn’t have the bones of a true secret kept by Victoria, or the luxury price range of La Perla. No big deal, right? It’s a bra.

But in the middle of the incessant television sales pitch…


All the world’s a stage… of a horror film

I had no idea that I had been paralyzed by fear until that syringe needle hit my deltoid muscle and I felt myself exhale.

The pharmacy staff asked me to hang around for 15 minutes, “Just to be sure.” I tried to sit, but no dice. My feet felt too happy. I skipped around the pharmacy like Snow White in the magical forest, humming, plucking items from the garden shelves and swirling about. I’m sure my eyes were twinkling while small blue animated birds braided my hair.

For 11 months and two weeks, I had been smothered by fear. But…


What I learned about lying in Kindergarten

Anthony held the distinction of being the person most likely to be banished to the time out zone which, in Miss Humphrey’s afternoon kindergarten class, was just a corner in the darkest part of her otherwise lively and colorful space.

It seemed that he was perennially in this Kinder-Siberia, looking defiant, with gray Sen-Sen stains on the outside edges of his mouth. I never really knew what his crime was, but I think he usually worked alone. He may have broken a toy over someone’s head, or shot off a BB gun at recess. Or maybe he didn’t put the…


This Is Us

Go ahead, poke fun at my little lipstick compulsion

I was one of 51 seventh-graders getting ready for the Marieville School dance. It was December, and this was to be our first introduction to society, right there in the gymnasium.

It was a big night. With her shiny black Singer, my mother had made me a gold satin, quilted, high-waisted, A-line maxi skirt with a matching bolero vest. I wore it over a black smocked blouse with poet sleeves and a pair of black patent leather shoes from Kinney’s. My hair was piled up with holly and baby’s breath. I was a brand-new person. A woman, nearly. …


Let it go, and other tips for couples working from home

I’m scrambling an egg for the dog. The coffee is percolating, and my husband’s laptop is pinging. Do you want some juice, he asks as he pours his own.

I say, No, thanks, but I am not surprised when he pulls out a second glass, pours a short orange juice and places it near my coffee cup on the breakfast table.

It’s actually nice that he served up a morning OJ for me. But he isn’t listening.

One night a few years ago, one sister-in-law, observing my husband and I bump blindly, though pleasantly, into each other in the kitchen…


My daily walk is a political metaphor

Since Covid reached global pandemic status, I have maintained a daily walking routine that has helped to maintain my emotional equilibrium in the face of panic, fear and frustration.

Everyday, I open my phone’s podcast library and buoyantly walk outside where I head toward my happy place, our town beach. Half of my walk takes place on the “main road,” a rather narrow rural street with no sidewalks where even during the slowest months, the chance of meeting a fellow traveller or two is high.

Good morning.

Hello!

Nice day today!

Thank you…

Doreen Picozzi

Former journalist, former press secretary to a public official, now teacher of high school journalism and English, devoted wife, and mom of a true gentleman.

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