Saturday, November 16, 2013


There was no school on Monday of this week in celebration of Veterans' Day. With the three-day weekend, my husband and I left straight from work on the preceding Friday and headed up the coast for a mini-reunion with friends. Our group rented a house somewhat midway between those furthest north in Washington and those furthest south in California. We arrived late at night and settled into an oceanfront rental for our third annual reunion with three other couples. 

We’ve known all but one of these friends for over thirty-years but we lost contact for at least 25 of those years. Our friendships started in Southeast Alaska where we all lived: young, single, and in the beginning stages of new professions. 

One of our friends brought this one, taken the day
my husband and I met! Can you guess which one is me?
During our reunions we’ve caught up on all the major life events, poured over old photographs and shared our stories. I especially enjoyed reminiscing about the ones we have in common, like our hike along Salmon Creek, visits to the Mendenhall Glacier and camping at Denali.

Our trip to Denali 

Phyllis reminded me that during one hike she stepped on a rotting bridge and her leg went right through, landing her in the creek. She started back to work as a classroom teacher with a fat lip and a suspicious principal. 

This may seem like an "off-topic" subject for a speech therapy/kidlit bog, but I don't think it is entirely unrelated. In my work, whether I'm teaching students to articulate sounds, formulate a sentence, learn the fundamentals of social language (pragmatics) or increase their vocabulary, one of my ultimate goals is to help them become better communicators so they can have healthy long-term relationships and so that they can tell their own stories, the stories of their lives.

This past week I haven’t had a chance to read books with the kids. Report cards go home next week (along with IEP progress reports) so I’ve been busy testing and writing reports. It seems somewhat tedious but the time is well spent. I can see tremendous growth in some students and it is obvious, by their smiles and the glint in their eyes, they recognize their growth. A couple of the students, who were almost ready to be dismissed from speech at the end of last year, are now fully ready. 

I have mixed feelings about letting them go, but it is time to do so. I feel good knowing their speech and language skills have grown stronger and my hope is that these new skills will help them form friendships like those I cherish. Perhaps, one day, they’ll enjoy reunions with old friends and be able to share life-enriching stories of their own.

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