Friday, June 4, 2010

Content, for a Moment

This morning, the Matron will undertake her directorial debut.

She has the complex role of "book club" leader in Merrick's classroom.

Matron: "Merrick! Do you want to be in the book club? We're going to read SUPER fun books. There are even stories about knives!"

Merrick: "I hate weading."

Okay then. Nonetheless, the Matron perservered in her role as parent volunteer for the Junior Great Book Series. Unfortunately, one of the children suggested turning a story from the book into a play: The Magic Listening Cap. The rest of the book club children were beside themselves -- a play! a play! a play!

So the Matron, in her first attempt at script writing, adapted the story into a play. Printed scripts. Found costumes. Baked snacks for the exhausted actors. Bought props. Rehearsed. Sent notes to parents about today's 10 am performance. Solicited other classrooms as audience.

All by herself.

Last night, she sawed branches from pine and oak trees for the two boys playing trees. She packed up duct tape, string and scissors to secure said branches. There are tangerines, rice cakes, a kimino and four black feathers in a bag, ready for transport to the school. Add that to the four boxes of other props all ready to go.

The pay-off? Multitudes.

Two days ago, Merrick announced that he wanted to join the book club.

Merrick: "I would like to be in the play, Mama."

Merrick's Teacher: "Mary, I haven't yet told you. First-graders recently took a reading aptitude test. Merrick is now reading at second grade level. He's made leaps and bounds."

Merrick: "I can read the scwipt! I can be the shop-keeper and cawpentew!"

Yesterday, on the way home from school, this transpired.

Merrick: "Mom? Why does that building say 'Holiday Inn?' Did you see that big sign that says 'Casino?' What's a casino? And we just passed another sign that with the words 'federal bank.' What does 'federal' mean?"

She nearly stopped the car to sob with relief and joy.

So now Merrick is in the 'book club' and has two non-speaking parts in today's play. Parents will show up with video cameras. It will be a minimalist and rocky event. The Matron is wearing a cute dress and her favorite earrings, for confidence.

But the other pay-off?

Every day this week, when the Matron has come for rehearsals, the 9 children in the play rush to greet her. These are seven and eight year olds. They hug her. A few kiss her hands. One brought her flowers yesterday and another, an old pastry his younger brother rejected. She has three drawings from the group and one clay ring.

"We love the book club!"

Today, she will oversee the most rackle-tackle, ragamuffin play in the history of the world, complete with wigs and bad costumes. Then Scarlett has her sixth grade graduation. Grandma Mary will be there, but that's a whole different blog post.

And Merrick can read.

All is well in the world.



FlourGirl said...

Yay!! Way to go Merrick!!

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Amateur theatre!
Hip, hip, Hooray!!!

Anonymous said...

And the universe said: Let Merrick read! And he did! At a second grade level!

Anonymous said...

Hi Mary!

I'm Jocelyn Stitt - we sent a few emails back and forth. I teach at MSU Mankato in the GWS department. I've tried to find you on facebook but to no avail. Could you, if you wish, friend me? With my unusual name, I'm easy to find on FB.

*m* said...

This gives me such happy goosebumps!


Deb said...

Truly brought tears to my eyes! Reading is my joy.

MidLifeMama said...

Those moments are the ones that make it all worthwhile aren't they.

Daisy said...

Wonderful - on all counts!

unmitigated me said...

Cartwheels! Doing cartwheels, here! Other parents are all about the first steps, the first tooth. Teachers remember when their kids learned to read.

ccr in MA said...

That's so wonderful! The first steps on a marvelous, life-long journey.

Mama Ava said...

LOVE the breakthrough! But all that work for book club...I gently guide my little ones to that magical thing known as "reader's theatre." They loved wearing black and perching on a stool and just using their voices. I do let them make a background, but the rest...ack!

jean said...

This is huge. Congratulations to everyone.

Anonymous said...

Wild cheering in Wisconsin! YAY!