I have friends who wonder how I can work in the same town I live in. It is one of my favorite things about my job! I love being out and about in the community and coming across former and current students. Over the weekend, I was visited by one of my Kindergarteners as I got my nails done. She wrote about it in her “Weekend News” on Monday as the highlight of her weekend. Things like that make me so happy.
Tonight, I saw that same little girl at one of the diners in town. No matter when we go to The Parkwood Diner, we are sure to see people we know. That place is like a staple in our town! The little girl was there with her brother, (another former student of mine,) and the rest of her family. They were grabbing a quick bite to eat before his baseball game and we were there having a quick dinner before Drew’s soccer practice. Thursdays seem to be a busy sports night in The Maplewood/South Orange community. Not only did I get a huge, enthusiastic hug from this little girl, but as she was leaving, she ran over to my table and gave me a lollipop that Pete, the owner had given her. “For my dessert,” she told me!!
I heard someone else call my name and turned around to see two of my coworkers sitting at the table behind me. I get to see Cynthia daily because her room is right by mine, but I had not seen Betty in awhile because she retired two years ago. Getting to see her was a treat! I chatted with them for a bit before having to get back to my table to order and eat before running home in time for Drew to change for practice. After a quick hello with two more families from my school who came through the diner doors as we ate, we headed home.
I guess for people who enjoy keeping work and their personal life separate, I can understand why this would not be enjoyable for them, but for me, it brings me joy. Perhaps I am in a unique situation since not only do I work and live here, but I grew up here too. I know how fortunate I am, and I can’t imagine living any other place!