My Name was Supposed to be Elizabeth Ann

— Stories from the Roads (Not) Taken

So I love showing up early to my own classroom Google Meets because, well, I like to be prepared for things–the early bird and all that–but also because some of my kids show up early and I chat with them about non-class topics like, Is that a Squirtle poster? (Yes). And, What’s your parakeet’s name? …

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September 8, I returned to my classroom for only the second time since Covid closed my district mid-March. The first time occurred early June, when my colleagues and I returned to help empty student lockers and reunite their contents with the kids who’d been abruptly forced to abandon them. Administration allowed us a few minutes …

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I hate to dream.  I dream in color and minute detail. In patterns of setting, plot, and genre. Their characters are archetypes, not familiars. Their conflicts encoded metaphors for my waking life.  Vivid dreams, in other words.  Subconscious manifestations of external turmoil, they are a nightly phenomena with which I have been intimately acquainted even …

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(*WARNING: the following contains spoilers for Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner) By now you should have read through chapter twelve of The Kite Runner. And please don’t tell me you’ve read when you haven’t. I’ve been doing this a long time and I can tell, especially with this book which contains so many deftly plotted …

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I packed books when I left home mid-March, but I have not been able to read them. They require an emotional energy I cannot muster, so they remain unopened in my bag. However, I can still read poetry. Mornings as I drink my coffee, I read my daily poems from Poets.org and The Paris Review. …

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I have misplaced my ability to discern time. I left it back home on the table next to my spot on the living room couch where every morning I drink my coffee and watch the sun rise while I clear the sleep from my brain and plan my day. Or used to. Here, an hour …

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Spring 1999, my two-year-old daughter awakened from her nap with a painful limp. Hoping perhaps she’d slept awkwardly, I changed her diaper and took her and my son outside to play. Rationality warred with fear. Then, we had no Google. No WebMD or its equivalent with which to quickly search for answers. I thumbed the …

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Embedded in the middle of the Hoover Dam walkway is a survey marker delineating the state line between Arizona and Nevada. Summer 2011, I straddled that imaginary line as my husband snapped photos and our children high-fived passengers meandering the Dam’s rim in slow-moving vehicles. Some tourists venture to that scenic halfway point at the …

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The first in an occasional series… I thought I was ready. March 6, my teaching district conducted a survey of students’ at-home internet and device access. The following week, we had conversations and meetings, a flurry of emails offering resources and support. I began updating my Google drive, copying my in-district files for access at …

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