Donny’s Desk

During my teaching years, I kept a folder for special cards and notes that were given to me. I also wrote down some of the stories that I felt needed to be saved and tucked them into that folder, too. Since reading the little book, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning, I’ve started going through drawers, files, boxes. This afternoon, for the first time in years, I looked through my special teaching folder. I found this little story, a real treasure, that I wrote from my first year of teaching 6th grade. As I read it, I can still see these two boys in my memory. I am reminded once again that the truth of teaching is not about testing, and only somewhat about curriculum. It’s about LIFE.

I loved my days and years spent with young people! I learned so much from them about love and friendship, strength and resilience, courage and growth…and about how to appreciate each day for the many gifts of love one receives from others, young or old.

DONNY’S DESK

Donny and Nick were inseparable. They’d been friends since kindergarten, and they moved alike, talked alike, and thought alike. Like two young playful puppies, they were constantly jostling and wrestling each other. They couldn’t stand in a line together without a little shoving or shoulder bumping or tousling of the other’s hair.

Once, when Nick went on a family trip for a week, Donny walked around the classroom with a totally lost look on his face. “What are you going to do without your best buddy this week?” I asked him. “I dunno,” he replied with a shrug and a look on his face that showed the loneliness inside.

Yesterday, Donny didn’t come to school. Today I got a message over the intercom from the office saying simply, “Donny moved this weekend. He’ll be in to pick up his things today.”  I looked at Nick in surprise and asked him if he knew anything about this. He didn’t.

Donny came in and cleared out his desk just before lunch. His mother told us quietly where he was moving. “We’ve moved in with friends,” she said with tears in her eyes. Donny said his quiet goodbyes to Nick, and the class. Then he was gone.

The class worked somberly, silently, asking no questions. A little while later Nick quietly came up to my desk and said, “Mrs. Rice, can I move into Donny’s desk?”

4 thoughts on “Donny’s Desk

  1. Kristen M.

    Heartbreaking but something I have actually been thinking about this past week — it’s past time to treat students like individuals and humans again and not as test scores or federal dollars. It’s the only way to improve this country.

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. Les in OR

    I want to reach into the past and hug both of those little boys. I also would love to know where they are today and if by chance they have been able to reconnect, perhaps thanks to social media. {sniff}

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Robin Post author

      Les, I’d give them both a hug, too! I moved to Washington at the end of that school year, so I would hope that there was more to this story that I just didn’t hear about. And I hope that they were able to reconnect perhaps in middle school or high school! It’s amazing to think that they would be around 37 years old now.

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