Wednesday, April 23, 2008

But Then There Is This

So the Matron has a few high need students on her hands.

She also has this: a current night class with a gaggle of 8 women in their early forties who've become dear friends through their shared quest for the all-important college degree.

They are practically lunching instead of in schooling as they sit around their shared table and try (largely successfully) not to talk about their children, husbands and jobs and instead, to focus on College English.

They are respectful, disciplined, courteous, friendly and hard-working.

The Matron must resist the frequent and intense urge to sit down at that table. She'd like to start conversations: "Oh! You have a 15-year old! How are you handling the whole driving thing?"

Or join in, when she eavesdrops on this: "There's a plastic spoon sitting on the front steps. It's been there for 42 days. I'm not moving it. Think anyone else will?"

She can hardly stand it! She wants to chat.

And they are not helping her situation.

The second week of class, one of these women raised her hand and said this: "You look so cute today! It's the hair, up like that."

Matron: "Oh, thank you! I'm of a certain age. I'll take any compliment I can get."

Student: "Honey, age doesn't matter. We all wanna look good."

Laughter and general female good will.

The following week, the entire group waved her over to the table to point out how smashingly the Matronly earrings and bracelet operated as a fashion unit. The indigo and amber sparkled and popped, just so. They noted their collective approval.

Later, the boots.

Student raises hand: "Mary? Where did you get those boots? Please don't tell me you got those at a thrift store, too? I'll be just sick with envy."

The Matron notices how they then put their heads together and peered in her direction.

Yesterday, the Matron spent quite some time dressing for these women. She fretted and scowled at the brown pants with the Doc Martin boots. Not quite right -- and besides, no clear jewelry match--not to mention the purse! She wiggled into something that was just a bit too hot for the audience. Maybe gypsy, hippy-dippy kinda thing? Not quite right.

She finally settled on a sea green J.Jill dress that was breezy and bookish, in a feminine sort of way. Tights, shoes, and jewelry, carefully considered. Why, she nearly forgot to create the quiz, she was so preoccupied!

Here's the kind of scholarly recognition she's getting these days. Forget Omar. Let's be grateful for any kind of teacher appreciation.

"Mary! Did you notice how the blue in those shoes perfectly draws out the tiny flowers in the dress? You add in the gray tights and it's just stunning!"

Yes! She noticed! And thank you.

19 comments:

Susan said...

Egalitarianism - bring the bottom to the top - equal.

Susan Carlin said...

This post went right to my heart, put its arms around it and gave it a little squeeze. Thank you. Just don't be surprized that some of the love you're putting in the world is answered with love in return. Works that way, I think.
I come by for a sigh or a smile pretty often! Thanks.

Jennifer H said...

Oh, you need that class as a counterweight to Omar and Q and the others.

I loved this post.

Cheri said...

You never wear that dress for me. Does this mean you have something against me? My intuition tells me that you might since you didn't wear that dress to my class.

Signed, Omar

Professor J said...

I teach evening classes for returning students, too. And now I have a few who have finished all of their English requirements and who still wave me over to their table in the break room. It is sweet.

Melissa said...

Isn't it fun how we bloom with the right attention? I love that you have this other class--takes the sting out of the knuckleheads like Q and Omar.
I too have dressed for other women, for the exact same reasons.

Rima said...

You gotta love women.

And I want to see those outfit, too..

Anonymous said...

I don't have that kind of class, but too have a few of these students.

It does make all the other garish moments seem less so.

This reminds me a little of "Reading Lolita in Tehran;" the bond of women. Lovely.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm one of those students. Except I'm all by my lonesome (I do have a gaggle of mature 21 year old friends) I go to office hours for one of my lit professors just 'cause we love talking to each other. I can't wait until I graduate so we can progress to going out and drinking together!

MamaBird said...

I'm with Susan Carlin. I adore this image, and that you and these rockin women treasure each other so.

Madge said...

making friends/bonding with women is to the 40s married woman what dating was to the single 20 year old woman

Madge said...

please don't grade me on my comment...

love those shoes....

Domestically Challenged said...

Oh I'm so pleased you have a sweet group too - I despair of the others!

But - WE WANT TO SEE YOUR OUTFITS....please Matron!

Jocelyn said...

I continue to identify. However, since I teach so much of my load online, great hosts of my Lovely Ladies in Their 40's students can't see me.

So I periodically post photos of my best outfits to the See Jocelyn's Look Today folder in the Discussions area.

Lisa Milton said...

Great post Mary. Very tender.

Mrs. G. said...

I love that,at our age, we start to dress for our friends-they are so much more appreciative of the details. And the effort! Great post.

Bitter Sweet Metaphor Irene said...

Oh Mary, compliments from other women are the best. That's who we really dress for, isn't it. Men don't have a clue. If I ask my husband If I look alright he answers, "I think you do, but you better go check for yourself."

Miss Grace said...

When class is over can they be your friends?

liv said...

okay, I'll admit to sometimes enjoying wearing my high end and enviable yoga clothes to class a little too much. the white split leg pants with the lotus on the ass always draw applause!