Site Feed

26 March 2009

Tiff was just here. She was telling me about her son's divorce difficulties (he has done everything reasonable that he could, and taken much financial loss paying for things his wife was court-ordered to pay but didn't, etc., etc., but now his only care is his three year old son) and told me she kept having little heart attacks - which I thought was a mere vivid description of how she felt emotionally until she brought it up again. Apparently she IS having little heart attacks, whatever that means.

She's an interesting and unique mixture of brilliant pragmatism, OCD, and something I can't describe that gives her big picture insight beyond the mere atomic. I met her about a year after the Flood (no, not that one - the huge flood that destroyed Wa He Lut in 1996) when she was lured up from Arizona where she had just retired from being de facto principal of a White Mountain Apache school (or maybe it was district). When she started there as a kindergarten teacher in, I think, the late 1980s, the isolated mountain community sent their young ones to school not understanding a word of English - they spoke only Apache (which would be a dream come true for Native peoples of Washington State, as their languages were long ago diluted and lost and much effort has been expended trying to reinstate a few). At Wa He Lut by dint of tireless efforts, tour de force grant-writing, and absolute 24-hour attention to detail (for ages she actually lived in the nurse's office), combined with ethics and bravery that allowed her to fight for what was right for children with no thought for her own safety or gain (or anyone else's) she raised the school up to a reasonable level (no mean feat), supporting all staff no matter how much she liked them or disliked them, judging everything by simply how good it was for children, their safety, and their education, but viewing things from the standpoint of parents, teachers, BIA, and so on. "Parents have entrusted us with their most precious possessions - their children." After she left and a (nice) new principal took over, ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL I had a dozen panicked phone calls from parents about a six year old child gone missing. He had got on the wrong bus and was all right, it later turned out, but no one was manning the phones or following the progression of each child from school to home, apparently.

It took me ages to get used to her. Although we were pals right off the bat my focus in life is very different (I have zero interest in schools and only wound up creating the gifted art program there by some twist of fate that put me in a position where I could do whatever I wanted*). Tiff's personality is very quirky, and though I would never claim not to be quirky my quirks and her quirks are about a million miles apart. However, here we are umpteen years later and I'm writing something a bit too eulogistic for comfort, so I'll stop.

*I never thought of the my art students as anything other than young artists, and would tell them that, and expected innovation and ideas to flow freely back and forth, which is what happened. I used to tell them not to ever listen to me, to do what they wanted, and would occasionally do something deliberately wrong so they'd rely on their own judgement.

posted by - 4:18 PM


Post a Comment




Site Feed



firemist red

Combat Cards

Blip TV Rocks

So many things to do, so little motivation

Backpacking Burro

Salazar Jack

Lucy Sits Up and Blogs

Tina's Universum

Nova Albion Detective Agency

Playing Statues

Yarn Miracle


Don Carson Creative

Flummer, Flummel, Flummo

Elle Coyote

Painting Soul

Upload Video and Images - Putfile

Artists Union


2002-10 2002-11 2002-12 2003-01 2003-03 2003-04 2003-05 2003-06 2003-07 2003-08 2003-09 2003-10 2003-11 2003-12 2004-01 2004-02 2004-03 2004-04 2004-05 2004-06 2004-07 2004-08 2004-09 2004-10 2004-11 2004-12 2005-01 2005-02 2005-03 2005-04 2005-05 2005-06 2005-07 2005-08 2005-09 2005-10 2005-11 2005-12 2006-01 2006-02 2006-03 2006-04 2006-05 2006-06 2006-07 2006-08 2006-09 2006-10 2006-11 2006-12 2007-01 2007-02 2007-03 2007-04 2007-05 2007-06 2007-07 2007-08 2007-09 2007-10 2007-11 2007-12 2008-01 2008-02 2008-03 2008-04 2008-05 2008-06 2008-07 2008-08 2008-09 2008-10 2008-11 2008-12 2009-01 2009-02 2009-03 2009-04 2009-05 2009-06 2009-07 2009-08 2009-09 2009-10 2009-11 2009-12 2010-01 2010-02 2010-03 2010-04 2010-05 2010-06 2010-07 2010-08 2010-09 2010-10 2010-11 2010-12 2011-01 2011-02 2011-03 2011-04 2011-05 2011-06 2011-07 2011-08 2011-09 2011-10 2011-11 2011-12 2012-01 2012-02 2012-03 2012-04 2012-05 2012-06 2012-07 2012-08 2012-09 2012-10 2012-11 2012-12 2013-01 2013-02 2013-03 2013-04 2013-05 2013-06 2013-07 2013-08 2013-09 2013-10 2013-11

I want to ask for thoughts about improving the world -- what do people need? How can things be organised?