“We don’t believe in grades around here…”

A nasty cold and a very big work project have kept the Parent Imperfect away for too long. The work project will be on his mind every day for the next month. He’ll be in vacation envy soon!

The Same Old Place has returned to being just that, sort of. The families of those who died there have had to find a way to keep on keepin’ on. The week of the shootings, the PI and Connie went to a community lunch at the SOP sponsored by a neighborhood social network. The place was busier than the PI had even seen it, with more cops that the Halloween party at the station. Connie wasn’t sure she wanted to be there. “This place just feels different now. It’s just not the same.” What is the Same Old Place when it’s not the same?

On a very cold Friday night, the PI joined a small, shivering group at a “vigil” in front of the First Baptist Church of Jamaica Plain. Unlike the community lunch, the PI knew almost everyone at the vigil. After walking, together, past the windows of the pizza place and waving to the guy making pizza, they stood with candles on the lawn of the church and talked about community peace and everything else. The PI could only wonder about all of the people were who had walked in the March for Peace that he and Connie had done a couple of weeks before. It occurred to him that he was probably the only person to be at both events. Maybe there really are two Jamaica Plains…or three…or sixteen!

And now, Christmas approaches. Against all odds, the spirit of the holiday is starting to creep into the house. At this moment, a CD with Christmas music is on the stereo. The next thing you know, someone will bring in a tree from the outdoors to dry out in the living room. While they try to keep it alive for a few days, they’ll put all sorts of trinkets on it and string electric lights through its branches. What would someone think if they did this in August?

For the first time in a long while, Vince had an answer yesterday to the eternal question of whether or not anything of note happened at the nation’s oldest public school.

Oh, yeah…Dad. Someone set a fire in the computer lab this morning. The fire alarm went off and we had to get out of the school. L’s locker is right there, so he had to go to the office to be questioned. They have their suspects.”

“Ah…so it was arson,?” chimed in Liz.

“What grade is he in?,” asked Connie, curious, as always, and they all had a good laugh.

As if on cue, Vince’s Math grades have moved steadily, if not dramatically upward since he dropped off Facebook and turned off the phone while studying. He, of course, insists that these things are all coincidental.

Perhaps it is all coincidence. After all, Liz did spend eight hours working with him on Math over the weekend. “It’s a good  thing we don’t care about grades around here…” mused the PI, happy, for once, to be shut out of the homework helper role.

In the last week, Ms. Connie has auditioned for two plays. that will show in the spring, Cinderella and Aladdin. The PI hopes to spend another April vacation in the theatrical frame of mind.


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