Way back in what was another lifetime, I was a teacher. Actually you could consider it two lifetimes. When I was fresh out of college I spent eleven years teaching in the Bronx, then after taking a nine year sabbatical I returned to the profession – this time in San Jose. While my Bronx “lifetime” was a pleasurable, rewarding one, my California career took an opposite turn. I attribute it to the fact that in the Bronx I never ventured above third grade. After my first two years I descended to first grade, and eventually snuggled into Kindergarten.
As for California, all was going well until the year I volunteered to leave my comfort zone of, kindergarten and “move up” to fourth grade. Little did I know I’d be teaching the Fourth Grade from Hell. Looking back I wonder if it would h ave been half as bad had not the class roster included Russell, Ruben, Alex, and Mark, known to me as The Gang of Four. I’ll say no more about them, as they are now about 35 years old, and they may find me on Facebook!
I guess it could have been worse. I could have been teaching The Class that Drove Mr Mays Crazy. True story – one day that same year I was enduring the ten-year-old old gang wannabes, the second grade teacher went home, and never returned – not until the next year, by which time he had recovered from his nervous breakdown. The now third grade class prided themselves as being the class that drove Mr Mays crazy.
I survived the fourth grade without a breakdown, and was grateful to be able to return to a first grade class for the next two years. They would be my last two years in the profession. My students were darlings, but the fourth grade experience had done irreparable damage.
Resigning at year’s end was in the pipe dream stage when I came across a sentence in a New Age-y magazine.
If a woman follows her heart, the universe will provide.
My heart didn’t have a destination in mind, but it did have an escape. At the end of the school year, I followed my heart the hell out of teaching!
Speaking of provisions, wouldn’t you think the universe would be only too glad to provide in the garden? Not at The House of Mars! Not yet, anyway. She’s toying with me. My soil is home to the most amazingly large, beautiful lush squash plants – one yellow squash
I was so thrilled when they started putting out vibrant yellow flowers. I was crushed when they fell off a few days later.
I looked it up (gotta love the internet!) and found this is normal. They were all male flowers and that’s what male flowers do – mature, scatter pollen, and fall off. The article promised the female flowers would come. It sounded suspiciously like an exhortation to trust the universe to provide. I’m still trusting.
Then one day I was adding scraps to my compost pile which is nearly as far away as you can get from the squash, and still be at The House of Mars, when I saw this growing out of the pile of stones retaining it.
Later on I thought about it. The leaves and flowers looked similar but I’d discarded lots of pumpkin and melon seeds there last year. Oh well, whatever it was, Mother Universe was giving me a bonus plant, and I was grateful.
A couple of days later, I went back to check on it. The universe had provided, but she provided it to the woodchuck squatter on my property, not me.
I decided to give it a chance, and dug up the remains to transplant to the garden.
And that’s when the answer to its origins was revealed .