2007.05.23 The last one

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

As I was walking into the elementary school a few nights ago to take photos of the PTO Fun Night, it suddenly hit me that this just wasn’t right.

I haven’t had a child in elementary school since the year 2000. What am I doing here? What kind of eternal punishment is this? Unlike the smiling, excited kids at this event, I wouldn’t really describe this as a fun night. Just another night of work, taking photos of someone else’s kids, as usual.

I thought about calling Chris Wood to let her know it was her turn. We used to take turns covering the event when she worked at the Observer. She’s way, way overdue.

After Morenci’s senior class graduates later today (Sunday), there will be nothing left for me but taking photos of other people’s kids because my last one will be gone from school.

I was reminded of that over and over yesterday as I welcomed guests to Maddie’s open house. “Your last one.” “You’ll have an empty nest.” “So that’s the end of it.” “You made it through your last one.” “Your last one.”

A few people asked what I would do without any kids in the house. The best I could come up with is that I would have more time to work, to keep track of other people’s kids. That’s my role here.

I remember hearing from someone during the past week how we must be pros now with graduation open houses. Our third time, we must have it down.

I suppose we do know the ropes, especially with the help of Colleen’s book club friends who never discuss books together but always go out for dinner on each other’s birthdays and always work together to make their children’s graduation open houses come out right.

We may know some ropes, but it was an extremely hectic day Saturday bringing it all together in the church down the street. Fortunately, Colleen’s sister Linda flew in from Brooklyn to help out and to deliver exotic foods not found in Morenci.

When the first guests arrived shortly before 5 o’clock, I think we were ready. At least as far as I knew. I quit working and started shaking hands and listening about my last one.

I’d sooner take a walk in the woods than enter a crowded room of handshakers, but I recall thinking sometime in the evening how I was really enjoying myself.

It was a great mix of people from the present and past—many people that I see every week, others that I encounter mostly at a special occasion such as this.

The party was for our last one, but the first two were there also—a rarity now for everyone to gather—and there were some distant surprises walking through the door. You send an invitation mostly just to get the news out, not really expecting a visit.

I pushed from my mind thoughts about who should have been invited but was left off the large list. Instead, I walked over to slather a little hummus on pita bread.

People have said they look forward to the Green open houses to check out the food. I wonder what they expected this time.

Maddie is known as a person who doesn’t eat perhaps 90 percent of what everyone else eats. Included among her open house display items was a certificate from her grandfather noting the successful ingestion of one spoonful of lasagna. What would she want for a graduation party?

She’s long past her peanut butter and honey sandwich era. Hasn’t had one for years. Would it be the ants-on-a-log celery thing, the mainstay of her school lunches this year? Would she choose pizza, waffles, toast with brewer’s yeast? Would she keep it simple and go with Twix bars and orange juice?

The hummus and fava bean salad definitely weren’t Maddie’s choice. I think the macaroni and cheese was for her.

It seems like I would know how to spell her name by now, but I have to pause each time. After all, if you looked around the party room, you might have seen Maddy or Maddi or Maddie on various papers. Things have evolved over the years.

Indeed they have. In a few hours, she’ll walk to the podium and give her valedictorian address. Our last one moves on..

    –May 23, 2007 

 

  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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