Birthday 2007

Well according to

, Thursday is song game day so here’s mine. “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64.” I’m not 64, I’m 36 today and while I’m eager to find success in publishing my dear sister sent me a lovely email saying that she already finds me a success. The wonderful thing is, I know there are many people in my life who also feel this way about me and that gives me a sense of peace.

I had an especially difficult mothering day yesterday. I had to be at synagogue in the afternoon to teach Judiasm (this still amazes me) and found myself praying during the service for greater powers to “help me temper my desires and high expectations so I can see my children as they are.” I was a very mature and compliant child and it is difficult for me to understand why my children can’t get up, get dressed, and get to the bus in a more fluid way. My kindergartener has had almost 100 days of school now, the second grader has no excuse at all. No excuse except they are who they are: A little slow to motivate, transitions have always been difficult, and they are more interested in the world around them than the appointments they have to keep. Of course, I have to say, they are downstairs now helping my husband prepare my birthday breakfast so the motivation was certainly there this morning.

This has been a happy and wonderful week for my friend Cindy Lord, but it has been a heart wrenching week for the members of the Denning family who lost their daughter Hanley Denning (also 36) to a car crash. You can find out more about this wonderful woman and her mission here. Below, I’ve posted a letter to the Denning family. I hope you will consider her mission, Safe Passage in your giving this year.

January 22, 2007

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Denning,
    I am writing to express my profound sense of grief and loss upon hearing of the death of your daughter. While Hanley and I never met, I followed and supported her work with Safe Passage. I first read about Hanley in the Press Herald.
    I sat in the Miss Portland Diner and looked at a photograph of the sweeping vista of garbage and filth. In the middle of this filth sat a child with a doll cradled in a cardboard box. Further inspection made clear that it was not a doll at all. It was her infant sibling. The article told of the Guatemala City dump and Hanley’s project to educate these children. A educator myself, I was moved and wished to jump on the next plane to be of direct help but my two small children at home made that choice impossible. Instead, I used my position as a 5th and 6th grade teacher to assist Safe Passage.  I worked with my team teachers to organize a school supply drive. After a slide presentation from a Safe Passage employee, our students were also moved by the obvious poverty of the children in Guatemala City. They collected boxes and boxes of school supplies and sent them to Hanley’s school.
    I’ve since left the public school system to pursue children’s publishing. Perhaps I can continue Hanley’s message of peace and education by creating a picture book manuscript about the children of the Guatemala City dump. I don’t know. I do know that Hanley was doing “good work.”  Good work in the tradition of Eleanor Roosevelt.  Good work that this world needs so desperately. I applaud her and the others in the Safe Passage organization.
    Again, my sincerest sympathies to your family and Hanley’s families and friends in Guatemala. Hanley will be missed.


Anna J. Boll

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