The Journal Gazette
Saturday, May 16, 2020 1:00 am

The joys of May - may they soon return

Forced isolation reinforces appreciation of life's rhythms

Julie Hoch

How very lonely is working at school in the month of May.

As I pull up to our empty elementary school, a sadness becomes a heart-to-heart reality. No school buses, no parents waving as their children enter school, just plain void. It should be an exciting time -- getting ready for the end of the year. For the excitement of the kids going on field trips and having a field day. Also, for the awards program at the end of the year.

As I walk into school to work a few days a week, I feel such a loneliness when I walk down the halls. A quietness that feels wrong. I still see on the walls the fun artwork the kids have made throughout the year. The fascination of stories behind writings and pictures decorating the school I see while walking down the hall.

Walking past the classrooms of empty chairs and desks. No teacher giving directions and reading exciting books to the kids, watching their faces light up at what the next page  is going to bring to their imagination. Walking past the art room, exploding with pictures of designs of children's creativity. The music room now silent; the singing of children was a delight every day. Looking at the gymnasium so empty while wishing to see little red faces again from all the energy being given off.

I hear no laughter, no one telling the kids to get in a straight line. No children excited to go to recess to go on the playground to play with their friends. How we take this all for granted.

There were days, to be honest, I would be feeling like I could not wait for summer to be here, and now all I want is to see the kids in our school again, seeing their smiles showing me their artwork and telling me their stories. Books they checked out in the library that they could not wait to take home to share with their family. To just be with kids again.

How this old school seems like a building with no heart. Days when you wish you could just have a few more hours of sleep and not deal with endless phone calls in the morning as the phone now very seldom rings.

I know soon this old building's is going to come alive again with kids coming in the morning excited to be back with their friends. There will be some of the same problems we see day to day, but it's going to be a different feeling. A feeling of not just it's another day in a life of school. It will be, I get to experience another day at life in school and I love my job! To see the faces we have all missed so much. How we all have taken one another for granted. How we get a do-over and that life has taught us the importance of being together again as it was meant to be. A new appreciation of a job, of co-workers and of life. This will be here very soon, and I look forward to that day of gratitude.

A writing in my grandma's diary in 1960 I would like to leave with you: “It's what we share and what we give that makes this life worthwhile to live.”

Soon, very soon, we will be together again.

Julie Hoch is a writer and works in education.

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