This morning I’m thinking about some of my former students.  Teachers aren’t supposed to play favorites, but there are some children who will always stick with me, always reside in my heart.  And in the quiet morning of the first day of Christmas vacation, one darling little girl has tiptoed to the front of my mind.

I taught her for most of her first grade year, but she left before the year ended, and like so many students who have come and gone too quickly, I’m left wondering about her.

Wondering if she still writes.  Wondering if she’s going to have any presents to open this Christmas.  Wondering if her bootstraps are still holding strong.

I penned this poem about her over here last July:


Her hair is unbrushed, a tangle of dark curls crowning her head.

She smooths her dirty dress, eyes locked on the floor.

As she edges to the front of the room, I can’t help but smile at her shoes on the wrong feet.

It has taken work, hard work, for this waif to get herself to school today.

Sitting like royalty in the big wooden chair, she reads.

Time stops, holds its hands still.

Only her voice continues, small lips giving life to big words.

Her story is a magic wand, casting a spell on the other children.

Their mouths hang agape and we dare not breathe.

This misfit little girl has yanked at her own bootstraps.

She utters the last words.

There is silence and then the accolades fall at her feet.

Her pen is mighty, mighty indeed.

And so is she.

2 thoughts on “Bootstraps

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