keep your friends close, but your enemies closer

this post has nothing to do with the above quote. i was actually going to name it “public service announcement,” but my fingers just started typing michael’s best godfather II line. my fingers– i trust them. (i am a touch typist, to the never-ending chagrin of the baby panda, who hunts n pecks, but is miles better at anything related to a computer than i will ever be. thank you, mrs. basso and seventh grade keyboarding– the best class that i ever took!)

today i wanted to discuss a highlight of my checkered working past– my time at boston partners in education. it’s a great non-profit located in the thriving fort point neighborhood of boston. i am still kind of mad that i moved to a different job RIGHT BEFORE the neighborhood got really great on the foodie front… flour, drink and sportello— nom!

i began working at boston partners in the fall of 2004. i started as a manager for the power lunch program, which runs in several boston public schools for students in grades 1-3. students are matched with volunteer mentors who come in to the schools during the students’ lunchtimes to read and talk to them. as i became VERY proficient at saying, sometimes this one-on-one contact is the only individualized attention that these kids have all week. this is really true, though. parents, teachers, families– they can all be really busy with life’s craziness. so it was great to see the kids just sit back and relax with an adult who was only there for them.

oh, it was a heartwarming job, and i loved it. but i saw some crazy things. a school that i am guessing that i probably should not specifically name (but i am itching to, only because i think names always add a little something to a story) was a star in this category. basically, this school was run by a family of kids that i liken to the mafia. (much like i am an expert on the swiss alps because i’ve seen the sound of music so many times, i am also an expert on the mafia because i have seen the godfather I and II at least 15 times apiece, AND every epi of the sopranos. i am like a mafia wife at this point.) there were approximately one million kids in this family, but the ones that i remember were (i will give them shortened monikers) B1 and B2. they were in first and third grades, respectively. oh, the pain in my head that comes back just thinking of them! they were bossy and rude, and they never came to school. but when they did, they wielded more power than the lord of the rings. (does this metaphor even work? i fell asleep during all of these movies. as much as i love gnomes, i don’t really care for hobbitts.) almost every day that i saw them, their mother hand-delivered them delicious-smelling grease-speckled bags of micky d’s. the exception to this was the days when SOMEHOW they ordered out for chinese food.

this begs so many questions:

  • how on earth did they call for delivery? back in the stone ages of 2004, i think that it was much more rare for PRIMARY SCHOOLERS to have their own cellies.
  • how did they pay? maybe i am not giving these girls enough credit here. after all, if there is one thing that i learned from my repeated viewings of the godfather I and II, michael and vito always were able to order decadent foodstuffs based on reputation alone. they even saved some food for fredo. the girls were not so generous– they never offered me anything.
  • how did they order? did they carry around a menu in their dora backpacks? i realize that this is totally possible, but doesn’t this strike you as ODD? B1 wasn’t even old enough to read a menu.
  • how was this allowed? if YOU were in charge of a school, and YOU saw a little chinese delivery truck pull up to your front door to be met by a third and first grader, wouldn’t you, just because you’re a principal, and this doesn’t sound like something a school should allow, DO SOMETHING?

well, nothing was done. by the end of the year, the mafia has put on several pounds due to their decadent lunches, and i was sick of asking the why and how questions. many a time (okay, it was once, but it sticks in my head) did the girls bizarrely miss power lunch because, as i was told by the school secretary, they were getting their hair did. oh, it was a crazy time.

but this amusing vignette does not take away from the fact that boston partners in education is a great organization, and the organization that is giving me a number to run the boston marathon! in return, i am on the hunt to raise some sweet moolah for them. please notice that one of my sidebars on this page is actually entitled, “fundraising sweet moolah.” if you would like to sponsor me in my crazy marathon quest, please just click on this link to my firstgiving page! but obvi, the support that i am seeking is not just monetary. as the wonderful erin pointed out to me recently, we will run 576.2 miles when all of this is done. that is a LOT of miles, and it won’t be easy. so any encouragement (in the form of a poem or otherwise) will be treasured.

also, happy thanksgiving! the bp and i are headed back to rochester aka rottenchester aka nettachester aka the netta today! i used my trusty librarian-in-training skills to acquire some books on tape for the ride, so hopefully it won’t be too painful. normally, we run out of things to say by albany.

and i really need to point this out. when i started this post, i named it with one of the greatest godfather quotes of all time. and then i ended up talking about the mafia. and this was NOT ON PURPOSE! i think i might be magical.


11 thoughts on “keep your friends close, but your enemies closer

  1. helen

    ahahaha those kids wielded more power than saruman and gandalf the gray/white COMBINED!!!!! [you would get this if you had kept your eyes open for at least ONE LOTR movie]

  2. theredmenaceeats

    Agreed, re: LOTR being dull. Additionally the above mentioned school now has new leadership, who doesn’t seem apt to taking kindly to little Chinese or any other kind of delivery truckles, as I have never known the madness that you did there.

    1. rootlaura Post author

      i thank my lucky stars that the mafia no longer is on the loose at said skool. also, i thank my lucky stars that you are in lotr agreement!

  3. Jenniforo

    i will ignore the LOTR comments, since you OBVIOUSLY forgot about all of the quality time you logged with your favorite cousins in watching these movies.

    and instead i will say: power lunch program – where little children flock to matt doody! haha, still love that random connection

    1. rootlaura Post author

      hahaha, yuley! i don’t know why this sci-fi gal (i love lost, the golden compass, anything about vamps, etc, etc) is total snoozey mc snoozerson when it comes to lotr, but there we are! i miss yule!

  4. traveleatlove

    Love your blog! I don’t think I would have been brave enough to order out in high school much less in third grade; I can’t even imagine what those kids are up to now. . .

    1. rootlaura Post author

      they are probably doing all sorts of mad food ordering– maybe they’ve graduated to sushi! can’t wait to start running with you!

  5. kristin

    Hey Laura,

    I love your blog! I’m so sorry to hear about your struggles with diabetes, but am impressed with how you seem to be handling it! I had to laugh when you mentioned Mrs. Basso (how on earth do you remember her name?). To this day, I’m still a one handed typist since my fall down those three stairs, and the resulting broken thumb, all on my way to typing class. I’m very fast though. Seriously, it’s an impressive skill. Or so I tell myself.

    And I haven’t read the whole post yet, but I saw your book review for Fun Home. I accidentally ordered that book off amazon, and not being an esteemed librarian in training, believed the description ‘graphic novel’ was in reference to the content. I enjoyed though, and would imagine any avid reader would appreciate the many literary references (mostly over my head).

    1. rootlaura Post author

      now, my question is– did you accidentally order the book off amazon because you thought the content would be graphic? because that’s just funny. at times, though, it WAS kind of graphic! and i can’t believe that you don’t remember mrs. basso’s name. she was a revelation! next time that i am in dc, we will have to get together! and i will have to bring my laptop so that i can see your typing skills in person!

  6. kam

    Okay, it’s a deal – we’ll have a type-off!

    Ha, someone recommended it to me, so I tried to ignore the “graphic” description altogether in favor of a positive review. I opened the book on the metro and was so surprised to find a “picture book”.


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