Thursday, November 19, 2009

God's Waiting Room

" How would you like to teach in St. Petersburg, Florida?" Candy asked me that at the end of the school year and the end of my contract with AIS in Vienna.
" St. Petersburg, Florida?" I asked.
" Yeah. I accepted the position of Lower School Head for The Canterbury School of Florida."
" There are actual children in St. Petersburg?"

Up until that point, I had heard that Florida was God's Waiting Room. Actually, in those days, St. Pete was known as the home of the newly wed and the nearly dead. I figured that once you gave birth, you were banished to Georgia or Alabama or had to go back to where you came from (New York mostly).

But I soon found out there were at least 15 sixth graders who lived there. They were my first honest to goodness class that I could call my own. I had taken Candy's offer and had become a sixth grade teacher in St. Pete ... living on St. Pete Beach and loving life.

Crazy Karl came too. He was the new Kindergarten teacher at Canterbury. He asked me to go on a shopping trip with him for some new Florida clothes. So, of course we went to his favorite store ... the Salvation Army. Yes ... that's right ... he always shopped there and tried on everything right there in the aisles. That day he found a school bag that he liked. It had a name inscribed on it: "E. Fried". The bag had to be 50 years old and to Karl it was love at first sight. In later years he searched for Mr. Fried to tell him how much he loved that bag ... found him too.

Karl and I had apartments close to one another. Candy had a place closer to school but we all managed to hang out together on weekends. Karl made friends easily ... especially with the beach residents. They found nothing unusual about his shopping habits at Salvation Army and weren't even shocked by one of Karl's most unusual habits ... eating left over food from strangers' plates at restaurants.

Karl had a series of girlfriends.

And I dated my boss ... which only got wierder.

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