Sunday, May 1, 2016

Old Movies, Reagan, and Library Love!

I love old movies. TCM, Turner Classic Movies, is my go-to channel most evenings and weekends. And if they aren't showing something good, then it's TCM On Demand. Our kids pooled their resources and got us a "smart" tv last year when everything we watched looked like the lovely green fairways of Augusta National Golf Course, only we weren't watching golf! But they teased that all my shows were  black and white anyway, so what does a crisp colorful screen matter? Well, my husband likes it! And the glorious old Technicolor is quite spectacular!

So a classic I watched recently had some powerful scenes that screamed "if that doesn't start you writing again, Sandy, I don't know what will!". It was "King's Row" with Ronald Reagan, Robert Cummings, Ann Sheridan, and some fantastic supporting players. In the movie, Ronald Reagan (yes, our former president) played a character (Drake McHugh) who had his legs amputated unnecessarily by a wicked surgeon. He portrays a gamut of emotions, as you might expect, but is unaware that the procedure wasn't necessary. His best friend wants to withhold the truth, fearing it will destroy his fragile recovery. But then he decides to tell him what really happened. Reagan's character responds with a strength and defiance and renewed will to live instead of remaining in the depths he had sunk into. "That's a hot one, isn't it? Where did Gordon (the doctor) think I lived... in my legs? Did he think those things were Drake McHugh?" Bravely liberated and renewed, he hugs his wife declaring his intentions for their new life.

This has been one of those years for me. Increased demands for testing, faculty turnovers, 2 principals, retirements of longtime friends, personal and home name a few! At times I felt like old Ronnie, like I lost my legs. My confidence was misplaced in my circumstances, which resulted in my being shaken by the changes going on. But something about that scene in the movie jolted me back to reality. Is my joy and passion for my job based on the circumstances (my legs), or is it somewhere else? Am I doing what I do because things are pleasant and comfortable, or because I just love what I do, no matter what's shaking around me? In fact, I've come to Ronnie's realization that the challenges and difficulty that seem to define our school and the year only served to strengthen my faith and resolve to continue to advocate for kids and promote reading. Parts of what I used to do may be missing, but the heart of me and what I do is still there: kids, reading, and relentlessly pursuing making their lives better for having been in our library to hang out with the right books or just hang out!

I hope your year is wrapping up with some time for reflection on those challenges you've faced. I know you're stronger and better for it, despite some shaking that may have occurred and a longing to check the vacancies on an hourly basis! Shaking will always be's called life! But let your passion for what you do and why you became a librarian and teacher carry you through. Your faith and confidence can't be in something as uncertain as your day to day activities, or in people who can and will disappoint you, but in something more substantial and enduring.

It's how I stay grounded, and I hope you find your grounding, too! See you after the next movie!