Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Divine Miss Em

Tuesday was a big day around here. Not only was it Maggie's first day back to school  for 2012, but some special visitors arrived. Maggie's former teacher Emily, who left San Francisco to teach in an international school in Warsaw Poland, came to stay with us for a few days with her handsome Polish boyfriend Dominik. Dominik has never been to San Francisco, so he got to see the sights and we got to visit with Emily.

Other than the occasional skype call, we have not seen Emily in nearly four years. I wondered if Maggie would really remember. She did, without question. As soon as she heard Emily's voice, Maggie started pumping her arm in excitement.

Emily taught Maggie for two years, in 4th and 5th grade.That was her first job out of college. She was hired a week before summer school started, packed her bags in San Diego and headed to San Francisco not knowing a soul or having anyplace to live. She acclimated to San Francisco perfectly and stayed at least five years. Emily connected with the families of several of her students, but of course I assume we were the closest. (Probably everyone else thinks that too.) She was over here many times over the years and was like a part of the family.

Perhaps because of her youth and freshness as a teacher, or more likely because of the person she is, Emily was the MOST enthusiastic teacher you can imagine. Together with Sheila, who taught Maggie and her classmates from K-2, she had to most disabled children in her class and made sure every one of them was engaged in whatever was going on. The two of them made sure the kids were included in the larger school activities. Not "included" in a special ed way, but truly a part of every activity. For example, there was a school talent show and Emily played straight man and facilitator to Maggie's "sit down" comedy role. (Maggie repeated that gig in middle school with "Teacher Joe" playing the straight man.)

Maggie was of course the perfect student for Emily because she is also very enthusiastic. In those days, before she had the trach, Maggie used to shout with excitement all the time. There was a lot of shouting during her time with Emily. Maggie was a Diva from the beginning, and Emily encouraged that at a time in Maggie's life that really made it stick. Maggie went off to middle school confident and sassy and never wavered from that personality.

Given Emily's sense of adventure, it was no real surprise when she decided to take her show on the road. She moved to Warsaw not knowing a soul and without a place to live, just as she did when she moved here. Of course she loves it there, but Emily loves wherever she is.  Even hanging out in the basement waiting for the school bus yesterday or checking out Maggie modeling her Euro Cup shirt that Emily brought her from Poland. (below)

Now we have to say goodbye again because Emily and Dominik return to Warsaw today. It won't be sad, though because we know she will be back


  1. What a beautiful, wonderful person your Emily sounds like -- I wish she'd come to southern California next and bail our school out!

  2. Amanda, somehow I unintentionally deleted your comment, or it's floating around in cyber space somewhere. Sorry about that. Tell your daughter that Maggie's voice was silenced when the trach tube was inserted. basically we talk by pushing air through the larynx. Because of the trach tube Maggie can't do that any more. It was a hard thing to lose - especially hearing her laugh. She still laughs, of course, but we don't really hear it anymore.

  3. Thanks for the kind words, and great memories, Sally! Mags and I are sure some kindred spirits and sassy sisters. We do feel like part of your family and we had a great time with you in SF. We'll back...

  4. Thanks for the kind words and great memories, Sally. Maggs and I are some kindred spirits, and sassy sisters! We do feel like part of the family and we had a great time with you in SF. We'll be back...


Hi Maggie loves your comments. It may take a while for the comment to post, but you will see it eventually.