It’s a good thing we had a minimum day today. Who could focus and carry on with business as usual? I had the television on during my first period prep and watched the carnage of the World Trade Center. I kept the television on for a bit of the class period and answered my students’ questions the best I could.
They’re curious, and want to know if we ’re going to war. “If we go to war, it won’t be here,” I tell them.
(Looking back, I’m embarrassed by my lack of thought given to their brothers, sisters, uncles, and cousins, who might not fight here, but would soon fight, and die, in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.)
The students wonder why some people are dancing and rejoicing in the streets. But they don’t have enough perspective to become deeply troubled. Once it’s clear that they and their loved ones are in no immediate danger, they depart from the somber mood. One student even wishes that some of the action were happening here. “Nothing ever happens in Watsonville.” This, in spite of the earthquake of ’89 and Mick Jagger parachuting into our county fairgrounds. This, in spite of the Pajaro flood of 1995. I realize my students were too young at the time of the earthquake to remember it even if their families might have lived in the tent refuge.
We eventually went on to our first spelling list. I think some of the students were relieved to do regular class work. I was. A sense of normality when we might be on the brink of World War III.