A Parody

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I spent thirty-four years in the classroom teaching and learning about children. But I never learned the biggest lesson about being a teacher.
Work your contract.

Teaching is a job, a career, a way to make money. The minute you make it a calling, a mission, your life’s work, well, it’s hard to go back.

There are kids involved. The younger they are, the harder it will be. The ones that show up every day are easy because you know they are ok. If you can get another kid to take roll, do it. …

To my grandmother

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Photo by Clément Falize on Unsplash

As far as grandmothers go, I don’t remember a time she wasn’t in my life this Grandmother of mine. Her house was where the four of us walked after school. We would find our mother drinking tea and in earnest conversation; my mother sitting, often in tears and my Grandmother involved in a task; cooking, ironing, knitting. Her hands always seemed to be busy. I never saw her in pants. Women wore house dresses in the ’60s. Her hair was pulled back in a bun, and I think she braided it and cut the ends off herself.

We stayed with…

What dogs can teach us.

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Photo by Deanna Fletcher on Unsplash

He smiled, like dogs do, and his warm brown eyes met mine. With a wagging tail he trotted between the Uhaul truck and the front door sniffing randomly at boxes and furniture as if to look for clues about me. I must have passed because I found him curled up on the front porch later that night. The neighbor girls were willing to share, having somewhat outgrown the idea of a dog and seemed more interested in makeup and talking about boys.

The first time I took off on a run, I heard something behind me, and there was Skippy…

Natural Coincidences

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It wasn’t the sun that woke me that November morning. The fog had rolled in, and the sky was drizzling rain. Not a day I would choose to descend the steps to the beach that early in the morning, but something called to me.

Upon arrival, my eyes spotted the quick darting of two shapes that flashed on the shore, feasting on a salmon. I hesitated, froze, not wishing to interrupt these seals and wondering how they managed to drag themselves on land. It was then, when they both scurried back to the water that I saw the small feet…

The Magic of Christmas

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Photo by Karine Germain on Unsplash

She heard the clanging before she saw the girl ringing the bell beside the fake black cauldron next to the donation sign. The red Santa hat on her head bounced along with her singing of jingle bells.

That particular sound awakened something sad in Betsy. She always quickly walked by, never making eye contact, and never making any contributions. It was silly, but a little shiver ran down her spine this cold December day.

Betsy knew this melancholy would pass, but the beginning of December always started this way for her.

What she remembered was how empty the room had…

Teaching in December can be challenging, but the smallest reward can make your day.

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

That Space Between Thanksgiving and Winter Break

I know you are doing everything you can to hold it together. After all, it’s December, and nothing of importance has been happening since Thanksgiving break. Every morning the kids have been flying into the classroom already full of sugar and seasonal cheer. Discarded pieces of candy canes are on the floor as well as foil wrappers from chocolate, along with their backpacks and coats.

All of the procedures taught in September are now out the window. The kids have forgotten how to line up, walk in the hall, and clean up after themselves. You are baffled at their ability…

Growing up Alcoholic

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Photo by Wonderlane on Unsplash

Children of Alcoholics

It has taken me most of my adult life to sort out the jigsaw puzzle of my alcoholic life. Born into the turbulent crazy that defines an alcoholic home, normal was not a word we used. Our father was the drinker of alcohol. But my mother was a supplier. She made sure there were always enough cigarettes and beer and gave my father an allowance for his weekly visits to the local tavern. Children of alcoholics grow up in an environment where nothing is consistent. Promises broken, emotions, and feelings are not validated. Each day has its feel to it.

A Family Disease

The Fallout of growing up with alcohol.

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Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

The Story

‘Did you know that Laura is learning to drive now in Scotland?’

The comment takes me by surprise but hits home, although it is not intended to do so. My sister immigrated to the land of our father’s birth a few years ago in a surprise move. She keeps in contact with Joe, a cousin who is the caregiver of our aunt, who passed the 100 milestones.

“Oh, she and I don’t correspond,” I respond weakly.

“The manual is pretty thick,” he replies, unfazed. “ Driving on the oppositive side of the road sounds difficult.”

“I’m sure she will manage.”…

Sally Gallagher

Teacher, writer, animal lover; curious about the world, passionate about the people I love.

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