Thursday, November 7, 2013

Facebook and My Castle Dwellers

when i first got onto facebook, it was for one major reason: i wanted to be in touch with, or at least know what was happening, with as many as possible of the students i'd had at emerson college's semester abroad program, in which i've taught the spring semester for the last quarter century.  although my 'freinds' now include many non-students,  that vast and lovely crew has remained core for my facebook experience.  recently kim. a 1986 student, posted a challenge to all her facebook buddies: explain why you have stayed with one particular facebook friend over time.  instead of choosing one person, i picked all my castle kids.  [that's right: we live together in a 17th century dutch castle].  i got a great response to the post, so i decided  to pretty it up and post it here.

 teaching at the castle has had its ups and downs, so many ups i barely remember the downs. to live among your students, to in some way share their lives--it would be hard to explain what that has meant, and continues to mean, to me. it's actually the decision to get onto facebook was inspired by a very sad event. a few years ago, a castle kid, whom i didn't know well but liked immensely, died of leukemia. the kind of grief i felt was hard to place. i was neither relative nor friend, and i didn't feel the loss of this special young man on that level. but i did grieve, and there was no one to share that with. i wanted to know that from now on, i would have a place to turn if something like that would ever happen again. it has happened again, i'm sorry to say, two years ago--another bright, talented young man died, unexpectedly.  this time his fellow students were there, and i could post my own sadness at  his loss
yet the 'kids' have been so much more. i love knowing what they've been doing. i love when they graduate, and get jobs they like, and marry, and have kids [tough tony from my second term turned beaming daddy, so proud of his kids his smile seems to break out of the confines of his pictures when he posts photos of his family;  patty, who spent so much of her time at the castle pounding the piano, and who is now an international pianist/performer], with their happy and sad news. in some cases, i've gotten to know them on a whole different level than i did at the castle.  i enjoy the teaching that i do at home, and i do keep up with some of those students as well.  but the intimacy of the castle creates a special bond among what the director likes to call her 'castle dwellers,' and that intimacy includes faculty and staff. i have been so very lucky.

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