Tag Archive: life


“True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity, before it is entitled to the appellation.”

― George Washington

Often times I smile a secret smile when I hear the chatter of high schools students. The urgency of their relationships with their friends these kids have. Every student is an archetype for one of the characters on DeGrassi; each of their problems the thing that is stopping today.
Right now I’m attempting to force myself trying to recall was I like that? Did I act like the typical self important teen and if so, have I learned how to use that experience with others, with my students. I know there were some serious trials and tribulations in high school but they seem so long ago. I have a few journals (about like 15 maybe 20) but when I read back through them I feel disconnected from that kid. I feel like telling him “buck up buddy…these things you are going through are just training exercises.”
I set out wanting to write about friendships but I think that there’s nothing good to come down from examining from this angle. Maybe tomorrow’s prompt will be a better starter.
-Chester

Bittersweet Symphony

Bittersweet Symphony

So Degrassi did it. A popular character committed suicide. I finally re-watched the episode. It was tough and I still have tears drying in my face. I’ve invested a lot n these characters, much in the way I have when I’ve had students who are open.

I am very well acquainted with death, suicide and all that. My high school existence/ experience probably wasn’t as bad as I remember it, but I don’t want to open the coffins that I’ve buried those memories in. As I’ve dealt with more and more types of students, I’ve noticed it’s school isn’t as it was for me, and the skills we need to adapt aren’t ever fully comprehensible because who knows what we have to adapt to. Really, what I mean to say is, everything is different for everyone, and the worst we can do is forget that. Some people can travel miles on the road, and for some the body or the mind just “can’t.”

I’m learning what kind of educator I want to be. I realize a different skill or pet peeve everyday. From my frustrations, I see that I hope my legacy will not be that some kid recalls that I taught him or her how to do such and such, but rather that they can do such and such and without having to recall. That such and such isn’t a problem. That it is second nature.
I’d rather be there for my students as someone effective, progressive, challenging and ultimately someone they understood wasn’t doing it for just a paycheck (even if that is what it feels like right now.). I have an interest in improving the world for them and showing them something more than Pelham Parkway, or the blocks of city South of where their school is. I wish to make them anlittle more considerate of their siblings who look up to them or to the casual 2, , A of whatever train they plan on terrorizing on the way home.

A student in California also name Campbell also committed suicide. Sad right. A page right out of Degrassi.
Life and art align or imitate each other and it’s sad. The hardest part of life is living it, and moving on when people don’t. I certainly haven’t gotten most things right. And I’m certain I’m probably going to get a helluva lot more wrong. Different pathways for different people,

But back to Degrassi…..
The Two parts of the episodes were not directly too hard to understand but are hard to forget.That is, the characters all suffered through some part of the grief cycle. Dallas, the hockey captain, felt anger with himself for pushing Cam to hard. Maya, Cam’s girlfriend, spent most of the second part in shock. Her pain was palpable when she pondered “When are people going to stop looking at me as the girlfriend of the kid who killed himself.” The actors did a fantastic job, and I could, as I can always- see this episode as a sounding board for the topic in advisory or home room. Some of these episodes are Public Service Announcements. And while the idea is “corny”. PSA ‘s really do reach some people.

All of this is convoluted and dense I know, but I just spent some time mourning a tv show character and a few of my friends I’ve lost on broken roads. But we go on until we can’t right?

[Chester Kent]

Dear Irene

Dear Irene,

Often times people come and go from our lives; we hear warnings – things such as “Don’t talk to so and so….” or “….is bad news.” Channels 2,4,5,7,9 and Pix 11 said that “that Irene…don’t fuck with her.  She a bad bitch.”  I mean, you know she a bad bitch when that Today Show weatherman stops wishing 106 year old white women happy birthday and tells you to stock up on Diet Coke and Dr. Pepper.

And so I made plans to. Especially after the earthquake Tuesday that didn’t give me a cigarette or its phone number after rocking my world.  So… in the interest of being prepared, I made plans with a friend to ride out the storm with him.  I was hoping to leave my apartment uptown at 10 am, well in time of the eminent subway shutdown that was to begin at 12.  According to the news – broadcast and print – the trains would be done about 5 and all transit (trains, buses, dunebuggies et al.) would be finito by 8 pm. Which was ok, because if by 8 pm I was out on the street, I’d only need an umbrella or a pair of ruby red slippers to get anywhere.  But what could go wrong, plans were confirmed. The hatches were just about shuttered.

BuT upon the day of the storm, my friend, well he couldn’t be found.  My confirmation texts were left unconfirmed.  He was “distracted.”  Or so I found out at via a text timestamped 10:57.  Thus,   I rudely was “distracted” out of spite for an hour or so mysel I went to get g roceries at timestamp 1:07,only to find out at timestamp 1:57- the subway system was already shut down.  Red tape, cops at the turnsiles- shut the fuck down. You would have thought a triple homicide had happened on the platform or that that  Sandra Bullock woman was commanderring a stolen train car. Travelling by subway was over.

Life washard. I had 70 blocks to travel with grocery bags and that was before I met Crackie. I didn’t know that you had sent one of your girlfriends to hold your seat at the bar Irene.  I mean, Crackie – Black, emaciated missing a few teeth, she was an ebony vision of the crack epidemic of the 80’s.  But Irene, your friend kept me company speed walking with me from one subway stop to the next. She was good company, keeping me distracted from the awful single bagging I got at the grocery store.  I almost lost a 3.7 oz single serving of Haagen-Das Ice Cream somewhere like 4 times.  And the guy at 7/11 I asked for a bag was either being stingy or green – He only gave me one flimsy bag that fell apart.

However, Crackie stayed by my side.  And when it became painfully obvious that we weren’t going to get a train or bus she suggested we splurge on a cab.  Perhaps I should have reconsidered splurging with a crackhead.

To be continued