Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Saturday, March 8, 2014

To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub ...

I had one of those damn dreams again last night. I've had them for nearly a half-century, and they continue to appear in the movie theater of my head a couple of times a month--and always with a heart-pounding reality about them.

They are school dreams. I'm in charge. Only I'm not.

Here's last night's version--at least the parts I remember (and, of course, the parts I'm willing to share):

The room is my very first classroom in Aurora Middle School--Room #116 in what now is Craddock School but was once Aurora High School, then Aurora Middle School (until Harmon opened in the mid-1970s.)

But things are wrong. Instead of the little two-student desks that once filled that room (and filled is apt: I had 40 students per class that first year--and I had five classes; do the math) are some tiny round tables with three chairs each. As I enter the room and notice that arrangement, I see Disaster in the making. (I am not wrong.)

Populating the room are students who are too big--easily high-school age, or older. Some of them I recognize (no names), and I realize they have no business being here: They are from different generations. Some are old enough to be parents of some of the others. But here they all are ... looking the same age as one another.

By the time this thought has worked its way through my thick skull, the seating in the room has somehow morphed into ... normal. Everyone's seated, looking at me. Waiting.

I don't know what I'm doing there. I seem to have a teaching job again, but I'm not prepared. Not at all. I remember thinking (in the dream) that I would have to work on my start-of-school handouts later that night ... Why haven't I done them already?

For some reason I decide to say this: This is going to be my last year of teaching.

Snickers and laughter and snotty, sarcastic  faces. I'm getting angry. Where's the respect?

I try to continue. But many are now just not paying any attention to me whatsoever. I walk over to one talkative pair, stand between them, and say: Will I have to stand here all period?

I don't recall their answer(s). All I know is that I'm getting more and more angry. A time bomb. Tick, tick, tick, tick ...  Explosion due soon.

All the while I am positive all of this is actual. I am not sitting somewhere, watching. I am in this classroom, and it is real.

Until it isn't. I'm aware that my foot hurts. And I'm in my own bed in 2014, and I'm realizing I've somehow got that right foot of mine into some kind of impossible position. Gingerly, I move it. Ouch.

And I'm sighing with deep gratitude that none of this has been true.

This dream--in many versions and permutations--has unreeled in my mind for decades. I've been retired now for nearly three years--but I still have The Dream. I still wake up, heart pounding (BP soaring?), supremely grateful it was all just a dream. And dreading its next appearance.

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