Tuesday, September 11, 2007

An Adventure of Independent Brad (Mandy, Your Residual Check Is In The Mail)

So I stepped out of my comfort zone Saturday. Awhile ago, I signed up through my church with the Reading to Kids program. I figured because it was a once a month thing, and was just reading to kids that it was something I could handle. As the day approached though I began realizing what I'd committed to. That is waking up at 7:45 in the morning on a Saturday to spend three hours with a bunch of complete strangers. Flop sweat. So Saturday came, I crawled out of bed, and drove in a daze to the school near downtown. I walked into the auditorium and gave my name. Now I've been considering tinkering with being called Bradford rather than just Brad. Not a full implementation where I would require it, but it'd be fun to see in a couple years the differential between who calls me what. For example, it seems like everyone older than Anne Marie calls her Anne Marie. Those her age or younger call her Anne. Anyway, I went with Brad on the name tag. I'm clearly still unsure on where to go with this name thing.

They assigned me to the second graders which I thought was a perfect fit. Also, the book selection was Fog and Toad are Friends. Frog and Toad are Friends! I could've recited this book. Being a new guy, I was paired up with veteran. My original partner never showed, so I was partnered up with what was basically Neil at the age of 65. I realize I just referenced a person that only Ben I would know, but it fits. Wait! Jennie knows Neil. Actually, the only slight negative I had was my partner. He was a nice enough guy. It's just he was a little scatter brained, a little tightly wound, and he took the best stories. He stuck me with the worst story in the book! For those familiar with Frog and Toad, it is the story where Frog is not feeling well and Toad tries to come up with a story. (SPOILER ALERT!) It basically ends with Frog reciting as a story what Toad did to try to remember a story. So the last half is just you reading again what happened in the first half.

After reading it was time for crafts where they had to make frogs. Yeah, I know. It's not the most creative but my partner wasn't really up for discussing alternatives. Luckily, the kids were creative enough on their own to go outside the box. One girl just decided to screw the whole frog thing. She wanted to make a manta ray. My personal favorite Manuel made his frog with it's own head, a hole for a stomach, and a cape. All the kids were great. Sure their attention span was around 10 minutes tops, but their second graders. They were also very well behaved and respectful. They also clearly loved that this opportunity was made available to them.

The real moving moment though was meeting their parents. I spent two hours reading and helping them cut construction paper, and the kids were adamant about me meeting their parents like I was some their new best friend. And the parents were so thankful. They made such a point to thank us. I admit I got a little emotional having parents pulling me aside, shaking my hand, and thanking me.

That ended the day. It's such a nice contrast outside of the normal LA world I wade through. So my independent adventure was a rousing success, and I've already signed up for next month.

4 comments:

Mandy said...

I'm sooo impressed. Really. No sarcasm.

Ben said...

I'm assuming Neil is Neil J. from High School. If so, Jaime also knows him. She rode the bus with him and his brother Rob.

bobby said...

At what point will you slip in a little James Ellroy?

JIFF Divingboard said...

This is the story of the "Black Dahlia"... do any of you know about these grisly murders and the impact they had on greater Los Angeles era, as well as their significance as America's 1950s innocence was shattered?

Man, I'm with Mandy. Impressed. To Brad(ford)!

Huzzah!