Memorabilia

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February 23, 2021- To start, the group of us sat in the Jury Convocation Room for 1 1/2 hours. At that point, the judge himself came in and told us that the case had been resolved without trial, and we were free to leave. He noted that the very presence of 38 juror candidates had created the energy for a pre-trial resolution. I can believe it.

The other notable event that happened in my life today was that the Title I literacy project, in which I had agreed to participate from late March to the third of May, was abruptly canceled. When changes like this happen, it usually means that my time needs to be open-ended. There is much to be done, on several fronts, so I can see that there are several options.

On the way back to Prescott from Camp Verde, I listened to an account by a young Australian woman, who has a high level of Autobiographical Memory, of her life from birth. She has vivid recollections of coming out of the womb, of learning her first words and of deciding to walk, at the relatively late age of eighteen months. I had heard of this woman, and of her ability to state with specificity what happened on any given day in her life. Hearing her speak of such events, in detail, was a marvel.

I pondered afterward, as to what her detailed descriptions could mean for language-learning, for systematic self-education and for counteracting memory loss-especially in senior citizens affected by dementia. She apparently has had the same hopes, and is working with advocates for dementia patients, with a view towards regenerating the type of neural transmissions that have made her extraordinary abilities continue into young adulthood.

Brain Research, particularly with regard to long-term memory, and its role in learning, is still in its relative infancy. I have so many questions about my own memory of things that occurred as early as my second year. Others in my family, and people I knew in childhood, have stated their own vivid memories of early years-as well as much that has happened since.

We are still using only a small part of our intelliegence.

The True Rewards

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February 19, 2021-

So many times, on a job that pans out over several days, there are twists and turns, taking me to as many as five task-sites in the span of a day. That sort of regimen makes the work interesting and impacts several children, in a meaningful way.

Today, I completed four days in a medium-sized elementary school, mostly working with younger special needs students, one-on-one. For the most part, the work involved helping one or two students with routine academic tasks and increasing their sense of well-being. These children appreciated the efforts and were uniformly pleasant people, with whom to work.

Two others, who had been out the first three days, came back today-making for a full classroom. These two students, both mute and somewhat unsettled, somehow were comforted by my presence- and were far more amenable to following my cues and gestures than those of the regular staff.

Silent communication often allows for more bonding -especially when a troubled person senses that another inherently understands his or her essential difficulties. The two students essentially latched onto me, with little spoken communication on my part. Just seeing them focus on following rules, and want to gravitate towards my direction, was a reward equally as meaningful as the achievements of their classmates.

This may well be the last work I do with elementary level behaviorally-challenged students-as the project with which I have agreed to help, for 1 1/2 months, this spring, is primarily a literacy enhancement effort. I appreciate that my presence is valued, by educators and students, and will take their support with me, for the rest of my days. This is the true reward of being in the arena of service to children.