Maybe it’s the hundreds of poetry essays moving in red folders across my table in the AP Literature scoring room, or the company of hundreds of English teachers, all equally obsessed over words, but as soon as I saw this morning’s headline on a discarded newspaper on the conference center cafeteria table, my mind flooded with questions and outrage about gun violence. I don’t want to minimize this latest shooting (prayers to all involved) but… this is what will cause Washington to become stunned over the epidemic that has been spreading like wildfire in our communities?
Growing up in a Catholic household, Christmas was heralded with much anticipation. An evergreen tree was carried into our living room and brightly adorned, Advent candles were ceremoniously lit, festive parties filled the calendar, stockings were hung on Christmas Eve, and there was always a visit to Santa Claus. Others might have donned him Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas or Kris Kringle, but no matter we all slept assured of his Christmas Eve arrival bearing all the gifts we dared wish for. No matter what upheavals life might have in store, Santa was a given; on the backbone of that one universal truth, a childhood imagination solidly rested. Through one’s belief in Santa Claus, anything was possible. You could become an astronaut or a ballerina. Certainly you would find happiness.