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17 April 2004

I left here at 10:20 am to pick up Con at her house in Oly. She came streaming out of the house saying she'd just got up a minute before, and said, "You can do two of two things...oops, I mean one of two things." I said I'd do three of one thing, and waited ten minutes while she got ready -- wing in a sling and wig-hat on as her hair is falling out from stress. We were driving along when she told me Nancy was meeting us at the restaurant -- perfect! We expected Marilee to be along momentarily -- Nancy arrived, and finally we rang Mailee, who'd forgotten and was in bed. All in all a whacky outing -- finally the four of us sat at the same table, but it took a long time. We knew Marilee and Nancy would meet and like each other -- although different generations they're very much alike. By the time I ordered I wanted lunch, so I had the beet Napoleon salad again without the candied walnuts. Better. I just got home, and I'm going out to dinner tonight -- too much in one day, really, for me.

I met Marilee in about 1998, when one of my students told me he wanted to learn how to carve. Marilee's husband, Pete, is a wonderful artist who is currently working mostly in yellow cedar and red cedar, and I approached him at a longhouse gathering I took K. and his cousin S. to. K. was apprenticed to Pete, and so I had the job of driving him there and back -- leave here, drive to Nisqually rez, pick up K. and feed him something at BK, then drive to Skokomish rez. I got S. involved as he was near to getting his license -- didn't work out however as he wasn't reliable, so I went back to driving. I'm a big believer in older people mentoring younger people. I got tired of seeing my students reach a certain age then crash and burn -- so I'd spent a lot of time, money, and energy giving them a boost through the hard times. I only really helped a few kids -- but I'd be willing to bet that some of the ones who wouldn't take advantage of help were helped merely by knowing someone cared a lot about them. I miss J. a lot -- the first time I saw him he was about 4 or 5 and came running up to me. "Miss Kendall, can I go in the art trailer?" At that time I was running my program out of a condemned single-wide -- not the whole thing, just a small part of it. I used to tell J. I thought he should be a tribal policeman -- impediments were certainly there, though. I asked him once when we were driving somewhere if he'd thought about what he wanted to do as an adult. He said yes, that he'd like to be a game warden. I tried to hook him up with Howard, who was a research biologist who liked children very much. That didn't work out -- fear factor looms large especially in children with effed-up lives.

As an aside -- my children now are much more verbal than formerly. The children before were equally communicative -- just not talkative. I always knew what they were thinking.

When I was in high school -- a tech school I chose to go to as I wanted to escape from the rah-rah district into which I had moved -- I had a friend named Kenny, who was about 6 feet tall and rather crazy off and on. When he was not crazy he was very thoughtful, though, and I remember being impressed by something he said to me. I was at his house for some reason, which was interesting to me not the least because he lived in a little black enclave where everyone was close. Some small children asked him to drive them to the store or something, which he said he would do later. In explanation to me he said, "I remember when I was a kid. When someone grown-up did something for me it was great -- and I want to help those kids have a good time, and help them grow up just like other people helped me." I absorbed his idea -- his words have always seemed about
ten feet tall to me.

posted by - 3:15 PM


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