Today, while conferencing with one student during writing workshop another (a girl named Jasmine) said "Dr. Shoop, I think you know my grandmother."
"Really?" How would I know this sixth grade girl’s grandmother, I don’t live anywhere near them, etc.
"What’s your first name?" Jasmine asked me.
"Kathie," I said.
‘Yep, she knows you."
"What’s her name?" I said.
"Deb Franklin, Cierra’s grandmother? Oh my gosh, you’re Jasmine." And suddenly Jasmine’s face, framed with pretty bangs, the same face I’ve looked at for four months, the girl who writes poetry like someone well beyond her years, looked completely familiar to me–her face as a three year-old that is. She is the cousin of the girl (Cierra) who was the subject of my ethnographic dissertation. That means that for 2 years I slipped into the life of an African American, female, teenager’s life–her textual life that is–to see how, what, when, and where she made use of text.
"Cierra’s a teacher now, you know," Jasmine said.
That took my breath away.
"A teacher. She’d be a great teacher. She’d be great."
I really just couldn’t stop looking at Jasmine. I told her stories, remembered people from her life from their minister to the boy next door, making her eyes go wide.
"You really did know my family."
"Yes, yes, I did."
It was a really neat moment. It made me sad that I lost touch with Cierra, but just so happy to know that a young lady who was so incredibly smart and goal-oriented realized her goals and did what I know she set out to do ten years before.
Now for the disparate event.
I left the school and walked into a pack of kevlar (sp?) clad policemen…not that great of a feeling. But no one rushed me to my car or gave any hint of a soon-to-be event that might require such garb. So I just sauntered by, thinking of Cierra, feeling happy.